UK MP says “much work to be done” to grow UK remanufacturing

September 1, 2014

Caroline Spelman stated that “there remains much work to be done” to improve UK remanufacturing, but that growth will improve economic and environmental “resilience”.

Caroline Spelman MP

Caroline Spelman MP

Spelman spoke to Materials Recycling World about the future growth of the UK remanufacturing industry, having previously been announced as heading a government enquiry into remanufacturing in August.

Spelman stated that at this time there are “too many barriers” to remanufacturing in the UK, and that this needs to change in line with the “rebirth” of manufacturing across the country, with the move towards a circular economy providing “valuable opportunities” alongside manufacturing growth to develop the UK remanufacturing industry.

Remanufacturing, she notes, enables opportunities that are “far-reaching”, but the government “continues to provide insufficient support in developing its full economic and environmental potential”, with “much work to be done to put UK remanufacturing on a growth footing”. Additionally, the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI) is already working to create a Centre of Excellence to “provide precisely the innovation and best practice leadership the UK remanufacturing industry needs”.

Spelman states that this is a “powerful step forward, and serves to show clearly that it is UK industry, not government, that is at the forefront of remanufacturing development in this country”, and adds that remanufacturing growth will “go hand-in-hand with improving national resilience, both economically and environmentally”, as the sector is already valued at £2.4 billion ($3.9 billion/€3 billion), with the “potential to increase” to £5.6 billion ($9.3 billion/€7 billion) and provide “thousands of skilled jobs”.

She mentions that despite the positives, “significant obstacles” mean that the industry is 20 years behind the USA’s remanufacturing market, and that if it is to improve, the government “must take a more active role and act to remove many of the market barriers currently hampering remanufacturing growth”. A key part of this is “adopting a legal definition of remanufacturing”, which Spelman says would “improve producer and consumer confidence and allow products to be legally protected via certification schemes”.

Another legal exception would be giving remanufactured products exemption from the ‘Current Guidance on Legal Definition of Waste’, as “classifying remanufactured products as waste has discouraged manufacturers to take up remanufacturing”. Spelman recommends a “cross-departmental committee” led by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and supported by Defra that would “legislatively make design specifications available to remanufacturers” as well as exploit the market’s potential.

She concluded by noting that the inquiry “comes at a critical time. It is clear that the potential of remanufacturing within the UK is not yet fully appreciated by Parliamentarians or UK industry, despite much discussion and debate in recent months and years. There is thus still much to be done. The economic and environmental values of remanufacturing need to be recognised and the UK cannot be afraid to innovate and develop the sector.

“Only by recognising the potential of remanufacturing in the UK and tackling the many barriers which continue to prevail, can the UK move towards a more circular economy”.

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Badger Office Supplies comments on Canon case

August 29, 2014

The company, along with Inkjet Direct Ltd. and Greentrees International Ltd., was named in Canon’s latest IP case in Europe.badgerlogo

The case was announced yesterday by Canon, with both Inkjet Direct and Greentrees International commenting on being named by the OEM in the patent infringement case in the UK.

The announcement stated that the patent infringement action at the High Court of Justice of England and Wales against the three companies is for infringement of Canon’s patent EP 2 087 407 “by, inter alia, the importation, manufacture and sale of certain toner cartridges for use in various models of Canon and Hewlett-Packard laser beam printers”. The OEM noted that it is seeking “various remedies including an injunction and damages”.

Badger’s response stated: “[On Thursday] Canon announced legal action against Badger for infringement of its 407 patent on gear/dongle. Badger has been in discussion with Canon for some time to try and resolve this matter in a friendly and reasonable way. Badger fully respects OEM patents.

“Badger sells remanufactured HP toner cartridges, but Canon believes that any remanufactured toner reusing OEM components infringes the 407 patent. In trying to settle this matter Canon insisted that Badger needs to agree that the mere act of assembling an OEM toner infringes its patents, even if each separate component does not infringe its patents.

“Badger has asked Canon to clarify at what point it regards a remanufactured toner to infringe its patents. It asked Canon: ‘Please clarify the level of permitted repair to an OEM empty before it infringes (in your view) the 407 patent. Here are a number of possible scenarios. Please advise whether you regard each as infringing the 407 patent or not. For all options assume the waste hopper is emptied and the hopper cleaned/refilled with new toner.

  1. No replacement of any parts.
  2. Replacement of a minor part e.g. magnetic roller or wiper blade.
  3.  Replacement of OPC fitted with a new gear/coupling which avoids infringing the 407 patent.
  4. Fit OEM gear/coupling from that empty (not another empty) onto a new OPC and the new combined part then assembled into the empty.
  5. 2 and 3 together.
  6. 2 and 4 together.’

“Canon has been unwilling to answer these questions. We feel it is in the interests of the global remanufacturing community to seek clarity as to the rules regarding remanufactured cartridges.

Badger continues to sell its HP/Canon remanufactured cartridges, with aftermarket OPC fitted with the reused OEM gear/dongle, which we believe respects the Canon 407 patent.”

The OEM has been pursuing infringement of the same European patent in cases begun against companies across Europe and beyond throughout 2014: including Seine and Aster in the Netherlands; KMP and wta as well as tintenalarm.de in Germany; Zephyr SAS and Aster in France; European Cartridge Warehouse Ltd. and Printer Supplies Technology Ltd. in the UK, though both have since filed for dissolution; and X-Com Shop Ltd. in Russia.

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Greentrees International responds to Canon case

August 28, 2014

gtilogoThe UK-based company has commented on being named by the OEM in its newest IP case in the UK.

The OEM named Badger Office Supplies Ltd. and Inkjet Direct Ltd. alongside Greentrees International for infringement of its EU patent named in a number of other EU-based cases this year, with the action commencing today at the High Court of Justice of England and Wales for infringement of Canon’s patent EP 2 087 407 “by, inter alia, the importation, manufacture and sale of certain toner cartridges for use in various models of Canon and Hewlett-Packard laser beam printers”. The OEM noted that it is seeking “various remedies including an injunction and damages”.

Greentrees International’s statement read as follows: “Today Canon announced legal action against GTI for the infringement of its 407 gear/dongle patent. GTI has been in discussion with Canon for some time to try and resolve this matter in a friendly and reasonable way. GTI fully respects OEM patents.

“Canon understands that GTI has only ever made one sale (four units) of the relevant toners and that was to Canon. These remanufactured toners used the OEM gear and dongle. Canon believes that any remanufactured toners reusing OEM components infringe its 407 patent. In trying to settle this matter Canon insisted that GTI needs to agree that the mere act of assembling an OEM toner infringes its patents, even if each separate component did not infringe its patents.

“GTI has asked Canon to clarify at what point it regards a remanufactured toner to infringe its patents. It asked Canon: ‘Please clarify the level of permitted repair to an OEM empty before it infringes (in your view) the 407 patent. Here are a number of possible scenarios. Please advise whether you regard each as infringing the 407 patent or not. For all options assume the waste hopper is emptied and the hopper cleaned/refilled with new toner.

  1. No replacement of any parts.
  2. Replacement of a minor part e.g. magnetic roller or wiper blade.
  3. Replacement of OPC fitted with a new gear/coupling which avoids infringing the 407 patent
  4. Fit OEM gear/coupling from that empty (not another empty) onto a new OPC and the new combined part then assembled into the empty.
  5. 2 and 3 together.
  6. 2 and 4 together.’

“Canon has been unwilling to answer these questions. We feel it is in the interests of the global remanufacturing community to seek clarity as to the rules regarding remanufactured cartridges. Having only ever made one sale of these cartridges, GTI has stopped sales of the six relevant products without agreeing that it has infringed the 407 patent. GTI continues to respect OEM patents.”

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Canon to sue three more UK companies

August 28, 2014

The OEM has named Badger Office Supplies Ltd., Inkjet Direct Ltd. and Greentrees International Ltd. for infringement of its EU patent named in a number of other EU-based cases this year.

The High Court of Justice of England and Wales

The High Court of Justice of England and Wales

The announcement by Canon stated that the patent infringement action commenced today at the High Court of Justice of England and Wales against the three companies, for what it says is infringement of its patent EP 2 087 407 “by, inter alia, the importation, manufacture and sale of certain toner cartridges for use in various models of Canon and Hewlett-Packard laser beam printers”.

The OEM noted that it is seeking “various remedies including an injunction and damages”, and repeated its usual IP statement, pointing out that “throughout the development, sales and marketing process, Canon respects the intellectual property rights of other companies and individuals and expects others to do the same. Canon remains committed to taking legal action against anyone who does not respect Canon’s intellectual property rights”.

The OEM has been pursuing infringement of a separate European patent in cases begun against companies across Europe and beyond throughout 2014: including Seine and Aster in the Netherlands; KMP and wta as well as tintenalarm.de in Germany; Zephyr SAS and Aster in France; European Cartridge Warehouse Ltd. and Printer Supplies Technology Ltd. in the UK, though both have since filed for dissolution; and X-Com Shop Ltd. in Russia.

The Recycler has contacted the three companies for comment, with Inkjet Direct Ltd. responding with the following statement: “Today Canon announced legal action against Inkjet for infringement of its 407 gear/dongle patent. Inkjet has been in discussion with Canon for some time to try and resolve this matter in a friendly and reasonable way. Inkjet fully respects OEM patents.

“Inkjet sells new-build and remanufactured HP toner cartridges:

New-build toners: Without admitting any infringement, Inkjet has ceased sale of the six new-build toners which Canon alleged infringe the 407 patent.

Remanufactured toners: Canon believes that any remanufactured toner reusing OEM components infringes the 407 patent. In trying to settle this matter Canon insisted that Inkjet needs to agree that the mere act of assembling an OEM toner infringes its patents, even if each separate component does not infringe its patents.

“Inkjet has asked Canon to clarify at what point it regards a remanufactured toner to infringe its patents. It asked Canon: ‘Please clarify the level of permitted repair to an OEM empty before it infringes (in your view) the 407 patent. Here are a number of possible scenarios. Please advise whether you regard each as infringing the 407 patent or not. For all options assume the waste hopper is emptied and the hopper cleaned/refilled with new toner.

  1. No replacement of any parts.
  2. Replacement of a minor part e.g. magnetic roller or wiper blade.
  3.  Replacement of OPC fitted with a new gear/coupling which avoids infringing the 407 patent.
  4. Fit OEM gear/coupling from that empty (not another empty) onto a new OPC and the new combined part then assembled into the empty.
  5. 2 and 3 together.
  6. 2 and 4 together.’

“Canon has been unwilling to answer these questions. We feel it is in the interests of the global remanufacturing community to seek clarity as to the rules regarding remanufactured cartridges.

“Inkjet continues to sell HP/Canon aftermarket cartridges, whilst fully respecting the Canon 407 OEM patent.”

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Canon files IP suit in Russia

August 21, 2014

The OEM has filed a suit for enforcement of its patent rights against Russian distributor X-Com Shop Ltd.x-com logo

The announcement stated that the suit was filed at the Moscow City Economic Court against X-Com Shop Ltd., with the OEM seeking enforcement of its Russian Federation patent 2467370, which relates to toner cartridges, and Canon notes that the purpose of the claim is to “stop infringement and to collect damages for patent infringement in accordance with Russian law”.

Additionally, the OEM commented that it believes that “certain models of cartridges sold on the Russian market” by X-Com Shop Ltd. under the trademarks ‘CACTUS’ and ‘G&G’ infringe the patent in question. Canon repeated its usual IP statement, pointing out that “throughout the development, sales and marketing process, Canon respects the intellectual property rights of other companies and individuals and expects others to do the same.

“Canon remains committed to taking legal action against anyone who does not respect Canon’s intellectual property rights”.

The OEM has been pursuing infringement of a separate European patent in cases begun against companies across Europe throughout 2014: including Seine and Aster in the Netherlands; KMP and wta as well as tintenalarm.de in Germany; Zephyr SAS and Aster in France; and European Cartridge Warehouse Limited and Printer Supplies Technology Limited in the UK, though the latter two have filed for dissolution.

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UK companies in Canon case seek dissolution

August 15, 2014

European Cartridge Warehouse Ltd. and Printer Supplies Technology Ltd. have filed for dissolution, having both been named in Canon’s EU IP suit.dialoose_1359206747_Canon

The Recycler has learned that European Cartridge Warehouse Limited and Printer Supplies Technology Limited, both of which were run by Peter Lui and based in Warrington, UK, have filed for dissolution with the UK’s Companies House company registration office.

The two companies filed for dissolution on 27 July, using a ‘Striking off application’, in the text of which Companies House notes a business using the form “has applied to the Registrar to be struck off the Register and dissolved”, with all “remaining assets” of any company that is dissolved “passed to the Crown”. Neither company’s dissolution has yet been confirmed at the time of writing by Companies House, though the applications have both been received.

The patent infringement action saw Canon claim that both companies infringed its European patent (UK) number 2 087 407 by importing and selling “certain toner cartridges for use in various models of Hewlett-Packard laser beam printers”. The case related to the same patent mentioned in cases begun against companies across Europe throughout 2014: including Seine and Aster in the Netherlands; KMP and wta as well as tintenalarm.de in Germany; and Zephyr SAS and Aster in France.

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Remanexpo@Paperworld 2015 details and exhibitors revealed

August 14, 2014

Hall 6.0, where Remanexpo@Paperworld 2015 will take place

Hall 6.0, where Remanexpo@Paperworld 2015 will take place

The show is already three-quarters full for the January 2015 event in Frankfurt, with a number of exhibitors confirmed and an awards ceremony planned. 

The event, which will take place from 31 January to 3 February 2015, is taking place in Hall 6.0 after taking place in Hall 3.1 last year, which Messe Frankfurt states is part of the “reorganisation of the Remanexpo product group”, and six months in advance of the event, the organiser has announced that three-quarters of the floor space in the new hall is “already taken” by exhibitors, with an “extended complementary programme” of seminars and an awards ceremony planned.

The move to Hall 6.0, which The Recycler reported on earlier this year, is said by Messe Frankfurt to be an “ideal location” for Remanexpo that “meets all requirements and aspirations”, with the hall having undergone “extensive” renovation to meet “all modern technical standards”. Entrances have been “renovated and extended”, and lifts and escalators renewed.

Last year’s event saw the highest number of visitor and exhibitors since Remanexpo became part of Paperworld in 2011, with 165 exhibitors and 6,750 visitors, and Messe Frankfurt stated that “key players” from the industry have signed upfor the 2015 event, including Armor, DCI/Jet Tec, Katun, OCP, Pedro Schöller Printservice, Static Control and Uninet.

In terms of the seminar programme, the hall will feature a lecture area where speakers from the industry will discuss important topics and demonstrate products, and an awards ceremony run by The Recycler entitled The Recycler Awards will take place on 1 February rewarding industry companies. Awards will include ‘Remanufacturer of the Year’, ‘Supply Chain of the Year’, ‘Innovation of the Year’, ‘Customer Service of the Year’ and ‘Rising Star of the Year’.

Michael Reichold, Director of Paperworld, stated: “Hall 6.0 is ideal as a location, both for visitors and for exhibitors; it is near to the Torhaus Entrance (S-Bahn station) and can be easily reached via the Via Mobile. The recently renovated hall is, in addition, the perfect size for the number of Remanexpo exhibitors involved. We are delighted at the very good level of registrations in the Remanexpo product group. It is the ideal business platform for this product area on the international scene.”

David Connett, Editor and Publisher of The Recycler, commented: “Remanexpo is a unique opportunity to foster existing business contacts, to reach out to potential wholesalers and importers and to meet relevant business leaders. During the four days of the trade fair, you can make direct contact with decision-makers in the business world and see some very persuasive product presentations.”

Finally, Phil Sneath, DCI/Jet Tec’s Commercial Director, added: “We are of the opinion that Remanexpo is of inestimable value, as a way of making contact with potential customers and meeting international wholesalers and importers for our recycled ink-jet and toner cartridges. We expect an even bigger and better event in 2015, particularly in the light of the new location in Hall 6.0.”

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IDC reports “strong” growth in Western European hardcopy markets

August 13, 2014

The analysts stated that the region’s markets “continue to strengthen”, with a five percent increase in the second quarter over last year’s equivalent period.western europe

IDC reported on continuing “strong growth” for hardcopy peripherals in Western Europe in 2Q2014, with printers and MFPs increasing by five percent year-over-year to 4.92 million units shipped – a growth of more than 234,000 units. Positive growth was seen in colour laser and inkjet, but monochrome laser contracted “as the move to colour products continues”.

Overall shipments for the first half of 2014 are six percent higher than in 2013, whilst MFPs retained a 78 percent market share of all shipments, the same as in the last quarter, and the overall MFP market grew by 7.8 percent as printers declined by 3.6 percent. Colour laser and inkjet grew for both MFPs and printers, but monochrome declined for both, with printers falling “at a greater rate” than MFPs.

The inkjet market “showed good growth” in business and consumer segments, with most growth coming from the UK, now the “largest market in Western Europe for inkjet products” as a result of increases in consumer inkjet sales. The total market grew by 8.8 percent year-over-year, with business inkjet growing most with 12.9 percent, and consumer markets grew by 8.2 percent.

In turn, high-speed inkjets increased “by a quarter” compared to 2013, with IDC noting “these devices are becoming popular in a variety of markets”. Conversely, laser markets “stuttered”, with a decline of 1.1 percent “due to the continual decline in monochrome single-function printers”, as well as a “quarterly dip” in monochrome MFP sales.

Regionally, most countries saw growth “but there are still some signs that certain markets are struggling with the recovery”, with growth patterns “varied” in nations showing positive results – some saw strong double-digit growth and others low single-digit growth.

The German market grew 4.2 percent compared to 2013 – the same growth rate as the first quarter – and remains the largest overall market in the region. Colour laser grew, particularly in A4 MFP, but monochrome declined “at a greater rate”, meaning laser overall declined 2.1 percent year-over-year. Despite this, monochrome still holds two-thirds of all laser shipments, and inkjet growth “remained strong” with increases in consumer and business, and business inkjet “account[ed]” for one in five of all inkjets shipped.

France saw “flat” shipment figures compared to 2013, with its half-year performance “at the same level” as 2013. Laser remained flat, with the strongest markets colour and monochrome A4 MFP, and only inkjet grew, by 0.2 percent, with consumer inkjets showing “a slight dip”, though business inkjets saw a double-digit yearly growth.

Finally, the UK saw growth of 22.9 percent, making it the second-largest market. “Very strong” consumer inkjet growth is “one of the main reasons” for the growth, with business inkjet also growing, but laser declined by 5.9 percent. Colour laser increased but monochrome declined, and colour printers and MFPs saw growth, with 46 percent of all laser products now colour – a “greater ratio” than in Germany or France.

Phil Sargeant, Programme Director of IDC’s Western European Imaging Hardware Devices and Document Solutions Group, commented: “Confidence has clearly now returned to the Western European printing and imaging markets with 2Q14 being the fifth quarter in a row that has shown year-on-year shipment increases. The growth was initially being driven by business markets but consumer markets have shown gains in some countries, meaning that market confidence is also filtering through to home users.”

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35,000 counterfeit cartridges seized in Saudi Arabia

August 11, 2014

Authorities in Riyadh confiscated the counterfeit inkjets on Sunday in a continuation of attempts to stop cartridge counterfeiting in Saudi Arabia.

Some of the cartridges seized this weekend in Riyadh (Credit: Arab News/SPA)

Some of the cartridges seized this weekend in Riyadh (Credit: Arab News/SPA)

Arab News reported on the seizure of over 35,000 counterfeit printer cartridges in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this weekend, with the cartridges confiscated from “different areas” of the city in related searches by field inspectors from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The teams were said to have “clamped down” on a group of foreign workers who were using an old house in Riyadh’s Murabba district, where they were “repack[ing] poor quality ink cartridges and market[ing] them to consumers as authentic and genuine products”, with HP and Canon cartridges and labels found.

Over 5,000 individual cartridges were found, as well as over 4,000 empty cartridges ready for filling, alongside 8,000 labels “carrying HP trademarks”. At the same time, seizures in a villa in the Officers’ district and another two homes in the Atiqa district saw over 25,000 cartridges found, again intended for sale as HP and Canon originals.

Saudi authorities additionally revealed that they had previously raided homes in Shimaisi and Malaz districts in the city, where more than 15,000 cartridges were found, and all of the individuals involved across both sets of raids have been arrested and face investigation.

A Ministry of Commerce and Industry spokesman stated that it “has always maintained that it would not tolerate the violators”, as well as those “involved in the practises of fraud that put the health and safety of consumers at risk”.

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HP discourages use of remanufactured toner

August 6, 2014

hp-200x150OEM warns Australian business customers to “think twice before using remanufactured toner” in its business eNewsletter.

In its IT business eNewsletter, HP outlines reasons why it believes remanufactured toner “might be hurting […] instead of helping” businesses that use such products; firstly claiming that “it’s not very reliable and may harm your printer” due to “critical cartridge components” in reused products being “very easily damaged or near the end of their usable life” and so are “more likely to fail”.

It added that this could also “cause damage to your printer”, citing research by Lyra Research, which was acquired by Photizo Group in 2012, with the research allegedly finding that “nearly one in 10 LaserJet customers using non-HP cartridges end up with a damaged printer that requires cleaning or repair, and 26 percent experience downtime as a result of cartridge problems”.

Hidden costs are a further issue that HP claims remanufactured toner poses due to “hidden costs in the form of support calls, reprints, and wasted supplies” which may make using remanufactured toner “less economical than it might seem”. As a result, the OEM stated that “non-HP toner cartridges can actually cost up to 10 percent more than original HP toner cartridges”.

Continuing its list, HP stated that “it’s not necessarily better for the environment” to use remanufactured toner, claiming that “remanufacturing rarely prevents toner ending up in landfills”. It cited a 2014 study which allegedly found that “nearly 90 percent of the toner cartridges sold by the remanufacturers surveyed will ultimately be thrown away” as “most remanufacturers fail to collect their own products”.

In terms of the technology of remanufactured toner, HP claims that “remanufacturers can’t replicate HP technology exactly because HP technical specifications are proprietary and unpublished” and “most aftermarket toners lack uniformity in particle size”. The OEM therefore concludes that “using remanufactured toner will guarantee that you aren’t getting the quality your printer has the potential for producing”.

Finally, HP highlights the potential issue of page yields, claiming that those of remanufactured cartridges “do not equal those of HP cartridges” as “most do not adhere to ISO standards for measuring page yield”.

HP concludes that businesses should “do your research and figure out if it really will be as beneficial to your business as you might think” as “you could be surprised by the answer”.

What are your thoughts on HP’s email? Let us know at news@therecycler.com.

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