December 6, 2013
Largest manufacturer of aftermarket imaging and components “strongly favoured” by court on first day of false advertising lawsuit hearing.
Static Control has reported that court proceedings have so far been leaning in its favour in the false advertising lawsuit against Lexmark, which was restarted on 3 December after Lexmark filed an appeal in January against an earlier ruling that had favoured Static Control, with the OEM granted certiorari by the Supreme Court in June.
A previously ruling had stated that Static Control had standing to make false advertising claims against Lexmark based on the Lanham Act, after the OEM had falsely told customers that Static Control had infringed its patents and falsely told remanufacturers that remanufacturing “Prebate” cartridges was illegal. The false advertising claims were originally raised during a patent infringement case between the two companies regarding the sale of microchips for laser printers and toner cartridges in 2002.
The trial court had initially rejected Static Control’s Lanham Act claim, but it had then been reinstated by the Sixth Circuit, and it is this decision that Lexmark is urging the Supreme Court to overrule.
Static Control told how during the latest hearing on 3 December 2013, the leaning of the court had “strongly favoured another win for Static Control”, with Justice Sotomayor interrupting Lexmark’s lawyer, stating: “You’re disparaging the goods of a person. You’re saying that it’s illegal to use that person’s products. It seems to me that’s the essence of the Lanham Act as it’s now written.”
Furthermore, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had commented: “Here is an entrepreneur that says, ‘We make a product and Lexmark is disparaging our product. It is essentially trying to get us out of this line of business’. Certainly if you just read the words of the Lanham Act, this is allegedly false advertising.”
Commenting on that day’s court proceedings, Bill Swartz, Co-President of Static Control, said: “We are extremely pleased with how things went today. We look forward to the court’s decision in June.”
Categories : Rank 1
December 4, 2013
The OEM has obtained injunctions against seven resellers in Germany over the distribution of illegal new-build toner cartridges.
The proceedings were taken up by Munich’s District Court on 22 and 26 November against the resellers, with the “preliminary” injunctions concerning distribution of illegal new-build toner cartridges, which infringe Samsung patents. Samsung noted in particular that not only are the resellers “provisionally” prohibited from selling the illegal products, but that the lawsuits are intended to protect “consumers and companies that produce and sell eco-friendly remanufactured toner cartridges”.
Samsung’s statement reads: “On 22 and 26 November 2013, the Munich District Court issued preliminary injunctions against seven resellers upon Samsung’s request. The legal proceedings against the relevant resellers relate to the distribution of illegal new moulding toner cartridges i.e. arbitrarily manufactured unlicensed non-OEM toner cartridges.
“Samsung discovered that different types of new moulding toner cartridges are available on the market, and has applied for the preliminary injunctions on 15 and 22 November 2013 in Germany. The new moulding toner cartridges infringe upon the company’s key patents.
“The affected resellers are provisionally enjoined from selling the accused products. Samsung also filed several patent infringement suits against various resellers regarding new moulding toner cartridges on 25 and 26 November 2013 in Germany. These lawsuits are intended to protect the rights and interests of consumers and companies that produce and sell eco-friendly remanufactured toner cartridges.”
Categories : Rank 1
December 3, 2013
Forbes has previewed the case in the Supreme Court ahead of its restart in the USA, coming after the announcement in June that Lexmark had won the right to appeal against the false advertising ruling in Static Control’s favour.
Forbes notes that the case “addresses who can sue for violations of the federal false advertising statute, a question that has baffled courts around the country”, and adds that the case has “potentially […] important implications for the quantity of future false advertising litigation and the robustness of market place competition, making it a case worth watching”.
The site notes that “this case easily could go sideways” due to the court potentially offering a “fractured set of opinions without a clear consensus” as well as going in a number of different directions with any particular ruling. In terms of implications, the Forbes writer stated that he is “troubled by Lexmark’s efforts to restrict competition”, and notes that whilst Prebate “seemingly benefits consumers” with a price cut, it “also prevents the development of a used cartridge market”.
The article also asks “if Static Control lacks the legal tools to keep Lexmark honest, will anyone else challenge Lexmark’s marketing statements?”, as Static has been able to “invest a decade’s worth of litigations costs” in the case, a “heavier investment than many remanufacturers would be willing to make”. Adding to this, Forbes states that the ruling “could have substantial implications for competition” in the cartridge market, as well as “affect how new entrants can use false advertising litigation”.
Lexmark had sought a review in January this year, and was granted certiorari by the Supreme Court in June to appeal against the ruling deeming that Static Control had standing to make false advertising claims against the OEM, which the components manufacturer claimed had falsely told its customers that Static Control infringed its patents.
The false advertising claims were raised during the patent infringement case between the two companies regarding the sale of microchips for laser printers and toner cartridges, which began in 2002 when Lexmark sued Static Control for selling replicate microchips to competitors of Lexmark after the OEM developed a microchip that prevented printers from using non-Lexmark toner cartridges.
Courthouse News had reported that “by 2004, a federal judge in Lexington, Ky., consolidated Lexmark’s suit with a declaratory judgment action that Static Control had filed” and that a federal judge had “barred Static Control from asserting counterclaims under federal and state antitrust and false advertising laws”.
However, Static Control were found to have not infringed Lexmark patents, with the court advising that Lexmark had “misused its patents”. It was later concluded on appeal by both parties that “Static Control should have been allowed to pursue its claims for violation of the Lanham Act and various state laws”, and in August 2012 it was ruled that Static Control’s antitrust claims were dismissed.
Categories : Rank 1
November 29, 2013
The seminar hosted by Biuromax saw the association warn against clones and “educate on public tenders”.
ETIRA’s presence at the full-day seminar last week, hosted by Polish ETIRA member Biuromax in Warsaw, saw Secretary General Vincent van Dijk discuss the industry and the issues it faces in Poland. The seminar was “organised jointly” with the Polish Chamber of Commerce for ICT Products, and attendees learnt about clones and public tenders, with discussions held on “the creation of a national association of remanufacturers” in Poland.
The association noted that the meeting “was another step in our permanent outreach to European remanufacturers, distributors [and] end-users […] to refrain from trading patent-infringing new-buil[ds]”, and saw van Dijk discuss the dangers of selling such products, mentioning prominently the legal action taken earlier this year by OEMs in both Poland and other nations as “example[s] of [the] OEMs not just ba[r]king but also biting”.
The legal action has, according to ETIRA, “paid off” in Poland, as the market is “already experiencing a reduction in the presence of clones”, with van Dijk also sharing Polish-language versions of the association’s Guide to Clones document. On public tenders, the seminar “extensively assessed” the fact that in Poland, such tenders “often still exclude the possibility [of] offer[ing] remanufactured product[s]”, with van Dijk telling attendees why these exclusions are “in principle illegal”.
He also noted how ETIRA helps its members fight tender exclusion, whilst other speakers from the industry and from public authorities told delegates about “the elements they need to look at when tendering”, as “often, the exclusion is not intentional but simply the result of unawareness among criteria writers” in terms of the “various kinds of products available”.
Another discussion was given by Ecopartner’s Pzremyslaw Ligezowski, who presented a talk on waste management and waste transport rules in Poland, particularly noting the “possible inclusion of empties” under the WEEE legislation, which could potentially “be a major threat to the industry”.
The association added: “The seminar was also a great opportunity to network, and the group extensively discussed the possible creation of a national trade association to jointly address the many challenges facing the industry in the coming years. ETIRA thanks Biuromax for this useful initiative!”
Categories : Rank 1
November 25, 2013
OPI reported that Office Depot’s business in Israel could be saved by a last-minute deal with local business group Retail Group 3000 after the company was placed in temporary liquidation following a court ruling to close all of its 31 stores in the country.
It was initially reported by OPI that the court ruling would result in the loss of 780 jobs, with Judge Irit Weinberg-Nutovitz deeming the decision “the end of the road” for Office Depot in Israel. Furthermore, a lawyer representing Retail Group 3000 had been quoted saying that Office Depot’s parent company in the US had “sabotaged” takeover negotiations and wanted his client to “compensate for all the crimes of the past”, which led to a breakdown in talks between Retail Group 3000 and trustees of Office Depot Israel.
However, an agreement has now reportedly been reached between the trustees and Retail Group 3000 to keep the stores open and save two-thirds of the jobs that were previously authorised to be laid-off; with Retail Group 3000 expected to keep 20 of the 31 Office Depot stores in Israel, although the agreement is still subject to court approval.
According to Globes, Retail Group 3000 has offered NIS 1.4 million ($393,000/€291,000) for Office Depot’s Israel activity, fixed assets and inventory; along with the promise of employing 65 percent of Office Depot’s staff in the country in the first year, as well as paying 10 percent of the net profit during 2014 – 2016 to the liquidators’ account.
Ronen Levy, Principal of Retail Group 3000, told financial newspaper The Marker: “In the first stage, we’ll want to operate all the stores, but within a month we’ll have assessed which stores will remain open for the long run and which will be closed and replaced with smaller stores in less expensive locations.”
Levy also added that Retail Group 3000 plans to rename the stores after failing to reach an agreement with Office Depot to pay reduced franchise fees.
Commenting before the agreement was reached, Office Depot spokesperson Brian Levine had said that the company had worked with Retail Group 3000 “until the last minute” to find a “fair and equitable” solution, but that its offers had been “rebuffed”; adding: “We have had success in Israel before and would be open to future opportunities in the country.”
Categories : Rank 1
November 20, 2013
The Cartridge World UK stores have begun selling No-Match-branded e-cigarettes, with The Recycler finding that No-Match products are currently being sold in at least six Cartridge World stores, including those located in Kidderminster, Rochdale, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Sale and Leeds Cross Gates; as well as several Cartridge Warehouse stores across the country.
E-cigarettes have been introduced over recent years as an arguably healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes due to the products vaporising liquid nicotine rather than using tobacco, which is what causes smoke and often leads to health problems.
While they are welcomed by many smokers wishing to quit their habit, there has been controversy over the use of e-cigarettes, with the British Medical Association (BMA) calling for the products to be banned in public places until there is “a much greater evidence base about how safe they are”. Dr Ram Moorthy of the BMA told BBC News: “Our concern with the use of e-cigarettes is that it normalises behaviour that has become socially unacceptable […] Our biggest concern is that something that looks like smoking becomes glamorous again and may be attractive to children.”
However, a poll of 1,000 people conducted by BBC Breakfast found that 62 percent of respondents would not support a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public places.
Damien Gallacher, Managing Director of No-Match, told The Recycler: “We are not linked to the Cartridge World Franchisor in any way. No-Match simply want to work with like minded business people who want to add value to their current retail business or open a dedicated No-Match store.
“We are a growing brand with many more outlets coming soon. We are not a franchise and as such do not charge fees of any kind, once accepted as a reseller the store owner works within our reseller agreement and only pays us for stock.
“It is a simple system and one that many people have responded well to.”
Cartridge World UK had not commented at the time of publication.
Categories : Rank 1
November 15, 2013
Christian Wernhart met Japanese cartridge remanufacturers’ association, ACJR, in Okayama earlier this month.
President of ETIRA and CEO of Embatex, Christian Wernhart, travelled to Japan in early November to meet with ACJR board members in order to discuss many issues facing the global cartridge industry and learn about the association.
The topic of clones was high on the meeting’s agenda, despite Chinese patent-infringing new-builds being far less extensive in Japan than in Europe, due to the fact that legal action is taken by the OEMs whenever such products come to the market. Many of the major OEMs are based in Japan and so are very keen to keep clones out of the country, with the single national customs authority actively engaged in seizing infringing products.
While clones are often found to be labelled as ‘remanufactured’, ACJR has had limited cooperation with Japan’s domestic OEMs in fighting clones.
ACJR has 33 remanufacturer members, with industry suppliers being associate members, selling remanufactured cartridges almost exclusively on the domestic market. It, like ETIRA and sister associations UKCRA, FCR, ArtItalia, I-ITC etc., has a code of conduct with which its members must comply; including the prohibition of trading clones.
The association also has several ‘Working Groups’, such as environment, technical and legal, in which all members participate; and since 2011 it has had a collective brand – “E&Q” – which is recognised by the government and sets minimum environmental and quality criteria for firms, with two-thirds of members complying with brand criteria to date.
Categories : Rank 1
November 12, 2013
UK remanufacturer recognised with the Environmental Award at event held at Rochdale Town Hall, England on 8 November.
Kleen Strike has announced that it has won a Rochdale Business Award in the “Environment” category, with the company accepting the award at an event attended by over 300 guests and nominees.
Established in 2011, the Rochdale Business Awards aim to celebrate the achievements of businesses and business people in the Rochdale area, with nine different awards distributed to winning companies; including the Environmental Award, which recognises a business that is able to demonstrate “measurable environmental improvements, such as reducing waste and/or energy usage” as well as promoting sustainability to its employees and suppliers.
After receiving the award, Alistair Barker, Director of Kleen Strike, said: “We were grateful to be recognised in this category especially with climate change now such an important concern worldwide.” He added that he was hopeful that “more companies will see that even small companies such as ours are vital in making a difference.”
The Recycler reported in January on the relocation of Kleen Strike after operating at the same premises for 27 years, with Barker and Laura Heywood discussing the company’s highlights over the years and its plans for the future at its new premises.
November 7, 2013
The company’s statement reads: “Ed Swartz was a true entrepreneur, starting a recycling business in Sanford when he was in his 20s. In the 1970s, he sold his business and retired, but retirement didn’t suit him in the least. In 1986, Ed came out of retirement and founded Static Control Components, Inc. Static Control first began manufacturing static shielding products in Ed’s basement, assembling products on his ping pong table. His sons Michael and Bill joined the business in 1987 and 1989, respectively.
“In 1989, Static Control branched out into providing other products, including those used by the toner cartridge remanufacturing industry. The toner cartridge remanufacturing business at the time was in its infancy. Ed recognised that this new industry needed quality manufactured products if it were to continue to thrive and grow. Over time, Static Control grew into the largest manufacturer of aftermarket imaging systems.
“Today Static Control manufactures virtually all the components needed to remanufacture a high quality toner or ink cartridge, from the toner to complex electronic circuits. Ed’s vertical integration approach meant that products were designed, engineered and manufactured in-house to ensure the highest quality products for customers around the world.
“Ed knew the importance of a talented team and early on assembled great talent in many disciplines, from engineering to sales and beyond, in order to continue to advance the cartridge remanufacturing industry.
“Ed was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. He had earlier turned over day-to-day management of the business to others but remained vitally interested in Static Control and the industry as a whole until his passing. Ed died on November 4, 2013.”
Industry reaction to Ed Swartz’ passing can be found here. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Ed’s family, friends and colleagues.
Categories : Rank 1
Tags : Static Control Components
November 4, 2013
It is with deep regret and sadness that we announce the passing of Ed Swartz, Owner and Founder of Static Control Components Inc.
The remanufacturing industry mourns the loss of Ed Swartz. Ed passed away peacefully yesterday, 4 November 2013, at the age of 77. Ed was a loving husband and father, and was a pioneer in making the remanufacturing industry what it is today.
He was born in Winston-Salem on 13 December 1935, and grew up in Salisbury before moving to Sanford. Swartz founded Static Control Components in 1986, with the Sanford Herald calling him one of Lee County’s “most prominent businessmen.”
Swartz is survived by his wife Barbara, his daughter Karen, his son Michael and wife Audra, his son William and wife Mary, and nine grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society, Cystic Fibrous Foundation or Hospice of Lee County. Online condolences can be made at www.rogerspickard.com.
Vincent van Dijk, Secretary General of ETIRA, said: “It was with great sadness that the Board and Members of ETIRA learned of the passing of Ed Swartz, our industry’s pioneer: a man who was truly instrumental in the creation and development of the global cartridge remanufacturing industry.
“As Founder of Static Control Components, the number-one supplier to remanufacturers worldwide, he was a visionary man, who saw the potential of cartridge reuse long before many others did.
“The products and services offered by his firm have since received worldwide recognition. And quite rightly so: Ed’s dedication and commitment to engineering and product development was key in making remanufacturing the innovative high-tech industry it is today.
“And Ed always stood by the industry all the way: whenever the OEMs tried to frustrate remanufacturing, Static Control successfully fought back. ETIRA and its Members are truly grateful to Ed Swartz, and thank him for all he has done for the industry throughout his long career.
“Ed will be greatly missed by all of us, and we will always remember what he has meant for the industry. Our sympathy is with all Ed’s loved ones.”
Laura Heywood, UKCRA’s Correspondence Secretary, added: “Like the great Henry Ford of 100 years ago, Ed Swartz was a visionary that saw an opportunity for the smaller company on a budget to have the same opportunity for quality print output as an original product, but at an affordable price.
“In selling quality components to cartridge remanufacturers, he gained their loyalty and their confidence by ensuring that every component ordered was backed up by a technical, research, and quality control department that would be the envy of any scientific institution.
“As well as founding a Queens Award-winning company, under his leadership he defended his products through the courts, underlining the survival of the remanufacturing industry. And committing financially, as well as two of his best men as stakeholders to the EPEAT process, he went far in making a difference in the outcome of the IEEE 1680.2 standard now being adopted in over 40 countries worldwide.
“We will miss his monthly comments and advice in The Recycler, but are confident tha,t being a man of foresight and imagination, he would have made certain that the company he loved and was so determined to protect will be secure in facing the future in confidence to the next challenge – whatever it may be.”
Lalit Kumar, of Softline in Chennai, told The Recycler: “The remanufacturing industry has lost its most illustrious son. What we are today is because [of] his support [of] remanufacturing industry, by providing good quality products, technical know-how and creating awareness by helping many exhibitions to take place.
“He led from the front when he took on Lexmark; he insulated the industry from the OEMs’ unnecessary onslaught. His love for [the] industry was unmatched. We salute the man who inspired many to think big and helped many to achieve big. We pray to God to give peace to his departing soul. We always remember him for his contribution to our lives.”
Shashank Ruiwale of Indigo Prints Smart Pvt Ltd. added: “I mourn about the news with deep sorrow! Ed was the great pioneer for the remanufacturing industry and had many ‘FIRSTS’ to his credit. He was an inspiration to many in this industry. “I personally had tried to follow his principles and guidelines during the course of my business, and will miss him a lot. “Let the Almighty bless the soul and let it lay in peace.”
Asterisk Electronics’ Balkishan Sharma stated: “We are sorry to [hear] about the sad demise of Ed Swartz. He was a great man with great thinking and [a] clear vision. “He founded such a big company, and moreover contributed a lot [to the] development of [the] remanufacturing industry, not only in [the] USA but worldwide also. “We pray from God, his soul rests in peace and provide mental strength to family members, friends and others so that they [can] overcome such a big loss.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Ed’s family, friends and colleagues.