Print-Rite settles with Canon

September 15, 2014

Print-Rite 3d h…jpg - smallThe company and subsidiaries have settled in both the USITC and District Court cases in the USA.

Print-Rite announced that its group of companies had “been working closely with Canon to resolve the ITC investigation and the District Court Case” that alleged “infringement of Canon’s patents”, with the group comprising Print-Rite N.A. Inc.; Union Technology International (Macao Commercial Offshore) Company Ltd; Print-Rite Unicorn Image Products Company Ltd; Innotex Precision Ltd; and Print-Rite Holdings.

The company added that it was “pleased to announce that it has entered into a settlement agreement with Canon” that “resolves both the ITC investigation and the District Court case”, with this entailing the company “finalising its plans for introduction of redesigned cartridges that avoid Canon’s patents”, and Print-Rite “will inform our customers as soon as the new cartridges are available for sale”.

The company stated: “Print-Rite has been awarded numerous patents for its innovations and has over 2,200 patents and pending applications worldwide and remains committed to continued investments to benefit and protect its customers.”

The USITC case recently saw some of the defendants group together to question a decision by both the USITC and Canon concerning defaulting companies; whilst Grand Image recently settled in the District Court case.

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OCP party celebrates 20 years

September 15, 2014

German ink manufacturer OCP celebrated 20 years in business with a Cellar Party in their Bochum offices on 12 September.

Horst Edelmeier speaks at the party

Horst Edelmeier speaks at the party

Staff from OCP’s Bochum and Lage facilities joined friends, retired employees and invited guests to celebrate their 20 years in business. The formalities opened with a presentation by Horst Edelmeier, one of the OCP founders, about how OCP came to be established making ‘pancakes’ for typewriter and dot matrix printers. They saw the opportunity in the market for inkjet remanufacturing, and the business was born.

Fellow OCP founder Siegfried Koch gave a presentation on the development of inks then and today; including a brief glance into some of their future developments, and CEO Michael Pohlschmidt closed the formal session with a presentation on the challenges and opportunities for the future.

Formalities over, the party began with a sumptuous hot buffet and music from the 20 years of OCP, and one or two even older golden oldies!

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Canon resolves lawsuit with Grand Image

September 12, 2014

The OEM has concluded the suit with the US-based company in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

US District Court for the Southern District of New York

US District Court for the Southern District of New York

Canon announced the “successful conclusion” of its IP lawsuit against Grand Image Inc. in its IP case at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, which the OEM began against a number of aftermarket companies in January this year.

The case, which also splintered off into a USITC (United States International Trade Commission) case in May, concerned infringement of “certain toner cartridges and photosensitive drum units sold for use in Canon and Hewlett-Packard laser beam printers”, with Grand Image Inc., which also “does business” under the name INK4S, agreeing to a Consent Judgement and Permanent Injunction.

The judgement and injunction prohibit the company from “making, using, selling and offering for sale in the US, and from importing into the US, the toner cartridges and photosensitive drum units that Canon accused of infringing its US [patents]”, including numbers 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 OEM’s usual statement was also released, noting that “throughout the development, sales and marketing process, Canon respects the intellectual property of other companies and individuals and expects others to similarly respect Canon’s intellectual property rights. Canon remains committed to pursuing legal enforcement against those who do not respect Canon’s intellectual property”.

Other companies that had previously settled in the Southern District of New York, including Acecom, Green Project, and Do It Wiser along with OnlineTechStores and Printronic, were found in default in the USITC case earlier this month, prompting the unexpected questioning of the commission’s order by a wide range of existing defendants in the case earlier this week.

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Canon’s USITC case sees defendants question order

September 10, 2014

United_States_International_Trade_Commission_sealThe USITC has found eight more companies in default, but a group of other defendants have joined together to question the decision, as some of the defaulting companies had already settled with the OEM in the District Court case.

The USITC (United States International Trade Commission) announced on 5 September that eight more companies in its case on behalf of Canon had been found in default – which means that the Commission had attempted to contact said companies about the case, but that none of them had responded to the contact. The USITC complaint stemmed from the original case at the District Court of the Southern District of New York, announced in January.

The defaulting companies include: Shenzhen ASTA Official Consumable Co., Ltd.; Acecom, Inc.; Do It Wiser LLC; Grand Image Inc.; Green Project, Inc.; Online Tech Stores, LLC; Printronic Corporation; and Zinyaw LLC. Under USITC legislation, respondents are found to be in default “if [they] fail to respond to the complaint and notice of investigation”.

However, in an interesting turn of events, a number of other defendants in the USITC arm of the case have responded to this move by the USITC by asking for an order to be given to “show cause why certain respondents should not be found in default” – with their main argument being that five of the eight companies named by Canon having already settled with the OEM in the District Court case.

The five that previously settled in the District Court case are Acecom, Inc, Do It Wiser LLC and Green Project, Inc., and Online Tech Stores, LLC and Printronic Corporation.

The group of defendants questioning the default order meanwhile include: International Laser Group, Inc.; Aster Graphics Co., Ltd.; Aster Graphics, Inc.; The Supply Guys, LLC; American Internet Holdings, LLC; Jiangxi Yibo E-Tech Co., Ltd; Ninestar Image Tech Limited; Zhuhai Seine Technology Co., Ltd.; Ninestar Technology Company, Ltd.; Seine Tech (USA) Co., Ltd.; Seine Image (USA) Co., Ltd.; Nano Pacific Corporation; Ink Technologies Printer Supplies, LLC; Linkyo Corp.; and Katun Corporation.

The defendants’ perspective is that “in seeking the entry of defaults against the settling respondents in the ITC, Canon seeks to paint a false picture of irresponsible, unresponsive infringers”, with the prior consent judgements the five agreed to “render[ing] any remedial action by the Commission unnecessary”, creating a “misleading impression of widespread, unchecked infringement that should play no role in further proceedings”.

Actionable Intelligence also reported on the developments, giving its view that “it is interesting to see the active respondents in the ITC investigation banding together […] we are eager to see whether this signifies that aftermarket firms will display a sense of industry unity […] or if this complaint will follow the path of Canon’s previous 337-TA-829 investigation, in which respondents settled with Canon one after the next, resulting in a win largely by default and a GEO for Canon”.

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MSE expands its colour R&D centre

September 9, 2014

MSEcolourThe remanufacturer has added eight engineers and 10 technicians to its R&D team.

The company stated that the expansion of its R&D team has “positioned [it] for further innovation and advancement”, with the eight “experienced” engineers and 10 technicians “adding hundreds of years of combined colour expertise to an already formidable team”.

MSE noted that after its strategic merger with Clover was first announced and then completed in June and July respectively, the two companies “cited the many advantages and synergies the partnership would bring”, with one such positive being the “immediate access to resources to strengthen MSE’s already strong technical pedigree”. MSE revealed last month that it would be using lean production lines in its US facilities as well.

The 18 new staff will “drive even higher quality and product expansion”, and will “allow global dealers to finally capture their share” of the colour market, which MSE adds is worth over $20 billion (€15 billion). The US-based manufacturing and R&D facilities will “continue to operate at optimal capacity for all products”, with new and prospective customers invited to tour the California-based centres to “witness the continued investment and commitment to the future of remanufacturing”.

Yoel Wazana, President of MSE, added: “We are thrilled to have access to the fine engineers that have supported Clover’s colour development over the years. They will join our already great team here at MSE to form an unparalleled group. Together we will continue to push forward in the world of colour innovation and quality.”

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Brother discusses anti-counterfeiting strategy in EMEA

September 8, 2014

The OEM has launched an online authentication tool to identify counterfeit cartridges, and discussed its membership of a new anti-counterfeiting alliance.EMEA

Business Reporter reported on Brother’s latest discussions of its anti-counterfeiting strategy for printer cartridges, with the OEM relating that its membership in the Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East and Africa (ICCE), a “non-profit making association helping to increase detection and enforcement of ink and toner pirates”, will help to lessen the impact of cartridge counterfeiting in the regions.

The OEM has also launched a new online tool at www.brother.com/id, which will allow consumers and businesses worldwide to “check that toners and inks are genuine” through a verification process involving unique ID numbers and “holographic effects” on the packaging security label of each cartridge. Customers will also be able to download a “data matrix reader” for smartphones, which will scan the hologram “to confirm whether the cartridge is genuine”.

Daisuke Hirota, Brother’s Supplies Strategy Group Manager in Europe, commented: “The counterfeit supplies market is a problem that’s affecting consumers, official manufacturers and the wider sales channel. Many people are being duped into buying fake inks and other supplies. These often appear to be genuine branded goods and we’ve even recently discovered that some feature a replica warranty label.

“At Brother we have a commitment to providing high-quality products, which have undergone testing to ensure they deliver on performance and safety – so it’s [a] concern that customers could unwittingly be exposed to counterfeits. Possible issues include low-quality print, ink and toner leakage, and potential damage to the printer itself.

“We’re working as part of the ICCE to prevent counterfeit product from entering the supply chain. It’s also important for the sales channel to be vigilant in making sure its stock comes from a legitimate source.”

Lexmark previously noted that Europe was the most complex region for counterfeiting in 2012, and noted that the ICCE is “an industry association that is fighting back through education, publicity, lobbying, detection, enforcement and the development of anti-counterfeit technologies such as holograms”.

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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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