Canon begins IP case against tintenalarm in Germany

July 28, 2014

The OEM has started a case against the German company for infringement of the same patent as in its other cases across Europe this year, with the company responding.

The District Court of Dusseldorf

The District Court of Dusseldorf

Canon announced today the latest complaint in its series of cases across Europe against companies it alleges have infringed its European patent, EP 2 087 407, which relates to a “drum unit and a process cartridge”, with the latest company targeted being tintenalarm.de, owned by Thomas Zenkel, and the case has been referred to the District Court of Dusseldorf.

As with the other cases, tintenalarm has been accused of “offering [the] sale of certain toner cartridges for use in various models of Hewlett-Packard German laser beam printers” that infringe the patent, with Canon seeking “injunctive relief and damages”. The OEM added that it respects the “intellectual property rights of other companies and individuals, and expects others to do the same”, adding that it is “committed to taking legal action against anyone who does not respect Canon’s intellectual property rights”.

Tintenalarm released a statement (in German) about the case on its website, stating that it was made aware of the court case on 25 July, but had been unable to agree on a “mutually acceptable declaration” in advance of the announcement. The company discussed the patent in question, and said it was “disappointed” that it had been “reprimanded”, having been a “champion of remanufactured toners”.

Tintenalarm added that should it lose the case, the remanufacturing of such toner cartridges “without replacing the OPC” would not be possible, and stated that this would be “very annoying even from the point of view of environmental protection”. It concluded that it hopes it “can agree with Canon […] and will inform” as soon as there is news.

The cases across Europe began in the Netherlands on 28 April against Aster Holland, with Seine Holland added to this case on 7 May; and later moved to Germany against KMP and wta on 23 May; then France against Aster and Zephyr on 29 May; before the latest developments against two companies in the UK. The Recycler has contacted tintenalarm.de for a comment.

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Shredex suffers factory explosion

July 22, 2014

The damage to the factory (Credit: Peter Cissek, Otz)

The damage to the factory (Credit: Peter Cissek, Otz)

The explosion occurred on Monday 21 June in Pössneck, Germany, but the company said it aims to repair its machine to start working again in 10 to 12 weeks.

Otz reported on the incident at the factory, which injured two employees and caused damage to the facility. The news outlet stated that the explosion occurred at around 9am on Monday 21 June, with one of the two employees injured only starting work at the facility that day. The 32-year-old man suffered “severe” burns and was taken by medical helicopter to the Jena University Hospital, though is said to be in a stable condition, whilst his 48-year-old colleague suffered slight injuries, and was taken to Thuringia Clinic in Pössneck.

According to Managing Partner of Shredex, Mario Greiner, the explosion occurred due to a “dust explosion” in a shredder attachment, with the company’s Andreas Steiner and another colleague putting out the fire with fire extinguishers in a few minutes, before volunteer fire departments from both Pössneck and Krölpa, consisting of 31 firefighters, arrived to make sure the fire was out. Police then began an investigation into the explosion.

Firefighters investigating the factory (Credit: Otz)

Firefighters investigating the factory (Credit: Otz)

Otz noted that the building’s damage includes a part of the outer, western wall “pressed […] to the outside” due to the force of the explosion. Fortunately only seven employees were present within the site at the time. Otz also commented that the site was inaugurated on 20 June, and was set to be able to shred 200 and then later 400 tonnes of toner cartridges per month.

Steiner told The Recycler that he expects that repairs to the machine will be concluded in around 10 to 12 weeks, when it will be able to operate again.

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Clover and MSE complete strategic merger

July 22, 2014

clovermseThe two remanufacturing companies have completed their merger.

Clover, the global leader in the recovery, refurbishment, remanufacturing and redeployment of business and electronic assets and Micro Solutions Enterprises (MSE), the global leader in patented technologies for high-quality remanufactured toner cartridges, today announced the completion of their merger.

The completion of this merger creates a global business that will provide unparalleled products, services and support for dealers. Both companies will continue to provide their customers with the outstanding support to which they are accustomed. In the coming months, by leveraging the strengths of each company, Clover and MSE will begin launching exciting new opportunities for dealers.

Contact information:

Clover

Name:  Mark Perry

Title:      Managing Director

Phone: +351 252 640 244

Email:   mperry@clovertech.eu

MSE EMEA

Name:   Mark Dawson

Title:      Director of Marketing and Sales, MSE, EMEA

Tel:        +31.36.522.2601

Email:    markd1@mse-europe.com

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Canon concludes lawsuit with Nectron International

July 17, 2014

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

OEM announces “successful conclusion” of patent infringement lawsuit in the US against another aftermarket company.

Canon announced that the lawsuit against Nectron International, Inc. concerning “certain toner cartridges and photosensitive drum units sold for use in Canon and Hewlett-Packard laser beam printers” has been concluded in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, after Nectron agreed to a Consent Judgement and Permanent Injunction.

The agreement prohibits Nectron from “making, using, selling and offering for sale in the U.S., and from importing into the U.S., the toner cartridges and photosensitive drum units that Canon accused of infringing its U.S. Patent Nos. 8,135,304, 8,280,278, 8,369,744, 8,433,219, 8,437,669, 8,494,411, 8,565,640, 8,630,564, 8,676,085, 8,676,090, 8,682,215 and 8,688,008”.

The lawsuit was filed by Canon in January against 18 aftermarket companies; with The Recycler reporting that a number of these companies have also agreed to the same Consent Judgement and Permanent Injunction, including Provantage LLC and OnlineTechStores.

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Canon announces IP action in UK

July 14, 2014

gavel 2 1810 copyOEM commences a patent infringement action against two UK-based cartridge suppliers concerning the same patent as cases begun across Europe this year.

The patent infringement action announced by Canon is against European Cartridge Warehouse Limited and Printer Supplies Technology Limited, which the OEM claims have both 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”. Both of the companies are run by Peter Lui and based in Warrington.

The case relates to the same patent mentioned in cases begun against companies across Europe throughout 2014: including Seine and Aster in the Netherlands; KMP and wta in Germany; and Zephyr SAS and Aster in France.

As a result of the alleged infringement, Canon stated it is “seeking various remedies including an injunction and damages”. It added 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 patent infringement action is to be commenced in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales.

The Recycler is contacting European Cartridge Warehouse Limited and Printer Supplies Technology Limited for a comment.

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Xerox takes worldwide anti-counterfeiting action

July 9, 2014

Printer toner cartridgesOEM announced its recent support of raids and prosecutions around the world, which resulted in the confiscation of thousands of products.

Xerox stated that it has been helping to fight back against black market printer supplies in a number of countries worldwide as it recognised the damage counterfeit products have on unknowing consumers; including “damaged equipment, shoddy output and higher costs”.

Noting that the printer consumables industry is a frequent target of counterfeit distributors due to fake toner often being “indistinguishable until it is used” and so is “not often scrutinised by the consumer”, Xerox said that, according to The Imaging Supplies Coalition, the worldwide impact of counterfeiting is estimated at between $3.5 billion (€2.6 billion) and $5 billion (€3.7 billion) annually.

Xerox went on to outline the anti-counterfeiting action it has recently supported as a result, including the confiscation of more than 1,500 boxes of fake toner cartridges posing as authentic Xerox products from Chinese compatibles manufacturer Zhuhai Warmth Electronic Co., Ltd. This resulted in a cease-and-desist order being placed on the company, along with linked company Zhuhai Supricolor Image Co., Ltd., forbidding them from using fake packaging.

Further action was seen in Brazil, where two raids were conducted; with more than 1,000 counterfeit boxes of Xerox-branded toner cartridges and authentication labels confiscated by OEMs in Maringa, and more than 1,800 boxes of counterfeit Xerox products – including security labels and product identification materials – seized by Xerox and other OEMs in Londrina.

Xerox and other OEMs also had raids conducted on their behalf in Turkey, resulting in the confiscation of nearly 1,000 boxes of counterfeit Xerox products; while a man in Baltimore was sentenced for 26 years for stealing and selling $55,000 (€40,000) worth of Xerox consumables.

The OEM stated that it has “assembled a worldwide team consisting of brand protection, corporate security and legal to combat counterfeit activities”, and also cooperates with other OEMs and law-enforcement, customs and excise agencies.

Xerox added that to avoid counterfeit products and supplies, they should be purchased directly from Xerox or its authorised resellers; while looking for authentication labels should also help identify authentic products.

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Static Control reports from Latvian seminar

July 3, 2014

LatviaSeminarThe largest manufacturer of aftermarket imaging systems and components hosted its latest seminar on 13 June in Riga, Latvia.

The event saw 25 companies from across Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Estonia visit Riga for the latest free industry seminar from Static Control, with the company noting that the seminar had been a “great success”. ETIRA’s Secretary General Vincent van Dijk attended and spoke at the event, discussing “dangers involved when firms sell clones” and patent-infringing new-build clones.

The event saw attendees express “particular interest” in discussions centred around intellectual property as well as “the many legal conflicts in the news” this year, such as Canon’s case in the USA concerning dongle gears for toner cartridges. Static Control added that many of the attendees were “aware that Canon has an active patent in the Baltic region” in turn.

The company also introduced its COLORCONTROL replacement imaging systems, with this aspect “provid[ing] a highlight” for delegates, and including a quiz on the “many advantages of the system to both end-users and remanufacturers”, which saw a “lot of participation” from those present. The event is the latest in Static’s programme, which it announced in March this year.

Static Control noted that the seminars continue to be “free of charge to Static Control customers”, with events this month planned for Italy, Croatia and the UK. The free programme began on 25 April with an event in Lodz, Poland, moving onto Athens, Greece on 7 May, then Bucharest, Romania on 21 May and latterly Paris, France on 10 June

Simon Grimes, Static Control’s Global Sales Manager for Eastern Europe, commented: “Static Control is committed to the support of genuine remanufacturers in the Baltic territories, and it was a privilege to bring our seminar programme here. I am confident we will experience in this region the same interest that was piqued following our seminars in Poland and Greece.

“We are delighted to receive the support of ETIRA to our seminar programme. They continue to educate and raise awareness of the potentially dangerous practices surrounding the trade of clones and their presence is hugely educational to remanufacturers.”

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EU focuses on IP infringement

July 2, 2014

EU CommissionThe European Commission adopted two plans to both “address” IP infringement and look at “protection and enforcement” of IP in the EU.

In a press release from the European Commission (EC), the European Union announced plans to “better protect and enforce intellectual property rights” in Europe. The two separate communications are an Action Plan “to address infringements” and a Strategy “for the protection and enforcement” of IP rights in “third” countries – nations outside of both the European Union and the EFTA (European Free Trade Association).

The Action Plan “sets out a number of actions” which will focus IP enforcement policy on “commercial scale” patent infringement, which the EU calls the “follow the money” approach, whilst the Strategy, focusing on an international approach, will look at “recent changes” and “ways to improve” the EU’s work to “promote enhanced” IP standards in nations outside of Europe, as well as “stem the trade” in patent-infringing products in Europe.

The EU noted that patent registrations “more than doubled” between 2003 and 2012, but in 2012 alone, 90,000 cases of goods suspected to infringe patents were registered by EU Border Control agencies, which is a stark increase on the 27,000 registered in 2005. In turn, it estimates that the annual loss to the world economy from intellectual property infringement now totals around €200 billion ($273 billion).

The Action Plan will look at “engaging in a dialogue with stakeholders [to] reduce profits from commercial-scale infringements on the internet”; promoting due-diligence among those “involved in [the] production of goods” that feature a high level of IP; helping small businesses to enforce IP rights by “improving court procedures”; and improving member state cooperation and training so as to achieve “faster preventative actions” across the continent.

The Strategy meanwhile will continue trying to improve IP frameworks globally; working with other nations to “address systemic IP issues and key weaknesses”; again assisting SMBs with IP cases; and providing and promoting “awareness of appropriate IP-related technical assistance” to other nations.

The steps outlined in both the Action Plan and Strategy are set to be “launched and carried out” both this year and next year, with the European Parliament, member states and others implored to “actively contribute to the work ahead”, with the EC considering at a later point “whether further, potentially legislative, measures are necessary”.

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Turbon and Embatex to partner in Europe

July 2, 2014

embatex emstar logoThe two remanufacturers have agreed to work together in terms of research and development and toner cartridge remanufacturing.

The two companies announced their European “cooperation” as a “long-term agreement” corresponding to research and development as well as “production of recycled laser toner cartridges”, with both companies looking to “cooperate closely” on cartridge development and product certification.

As part of the agreement, and due to Embatex’s need to “preserve cost competitiveness”, Embatex’s management has decided to “transition” its toner cartridge remanufacturing from Feldkirchen in Austria to Oltenita in Romania, which has been in operation for “more than a decade” and is said to be “cost-efficient”. The transition will be “trouble-free” and take place in the third quarter of this year, with all inkjet remanufacturing, research and development to continue in Feldkirchen.turbon logo

The two remanufacturers added that they “do not plan to merge their sales activities”, and will “in the future act separately and with different sales teams in their respective markets”, which as a result means both companies will “utilise the benefits from the cooperation” alongside a “broader and deeper product assortment, improved services and a more competitive cost structure”.

Embatex recently revealed that it was making 50 employees redundant at the base in Feldkirchen, whilst last December Turbon acquired US company ILG.

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Static Control comments on HP-Datel case

June 30, 2014

iStock_000004185698XSmallThe largest manufacturer of aftermarket imaging systems and components stated that it “stands proudly” behind its chip technology, noting that “it is truly shocking” that companies continue to infringe patents.

The comment comes after the revelation that HP is suing Datel for supposedly stealing “trade secrets” along the lines of its security for inkjet cartridge chips in order to sell the security keys to clone manufacturers, and Static Control stated that it “stands proudly behind the innovative and patented technologies” it has developed to offer replacement HP inkjet cartridge chips” without breaching the intellectual property of the OEM”.

The company added that the lawsuit “further validates the value and importance of investing in reverse engineering and respect for intellectual property”, noting that it has “long advocated the importance of knowing the supply chain of products to avoid patent and IP infringement”.

Static Control’s Vice President of North American Sales, Bryan Bonacum, also commented on the case in detail, stating: “We don’t scheme at Static Control. We don’t misappropriate. We develop our chip technology in-house. We manufacture our chips in-house. We understand the importance of knowing your supply chain, and that’s why we do it ourselves. We are our supply chain. We stand by our products and will be happy to answer questions about our products or process.

“You can’t just look at a chip and see the IP that is involved. You can’t see the difference between respectfully reverse-engineered technology and technology that has been developed illegally. That’s why it comes down to knowing and trusting your chip supplier. HP alleges chip companies who sell to clones got their technology from Datel. I think remanufacturers need to ask themselves who Datel Holdings was involved with and how much they really know about the chips they purchase.”

He added: “HP has been vigorously defending their IP. At Static Control, we respect the intellectual property of OEMs and protect our own innovations through patents. Cases like this are good for the aftermarket if it helps rid the industry of patent infringing products and clone cartridges.

In terms of remanufacturers being wary of companies in their supply chains in light of the Datel case, Bonacum commented: “Ask for it in writing that they developed the technology and reverse-engineered their own chips. We will gladly do that. It is truly shocking that after all this time and all the lawsuits there are still companies that do not respect the IP of others.”

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