Lexmark applies for significant patents in Europe

December 24, 2014

An image from Lexmark's application EP 2 798 405 A1

An image from Lexmark’s application EP 2 798 405 A1

The OEM has registered five applications that, together, may be highly relevant for remanufacturers in Europe that remanufacture the 501 cartridge.

The five documents – EP 2 798 405 A1, EP 2 798 407 A1, EP 2 798 408 A2, EP 2 798 409 A2 and EP 2 798 411 A2 – are related to the 501 cartridge, and claim priority dates of 30 December 2011. The five documents can be seen to be attempting to protect the connecting and positioning elements that interact with the printer, and as such, if granted, could be very relevant to the industry.

The first of these documents  – EP 2 798 405 A1 – refers to a toner cartridges with a “pressure equalisation system” for equalising pressure between the reservoir and a “toner sump developer unit”, with the flow of toner from the cartridge to the developer covered. The second meanwhile –  EP 2 798 405 A1 – concerns the “toner delivery system” for a “shake-free” toner cartridge, and details the scraper and its operation, as well as – again – the flow of toner between the different areas of the cartridge.

The third – EP 2 798 408 A2 – discusses the guides on the cartridge – the “legs” – that connect it to the printer, and covers the different outer constructions that allow this. The fourth document – EP 2 798 409 A2 – again covers the shutter “positioned at the exit port” of the cartridge, and its opening and interlocking with other areas of the cartridge, while the fifth – EP 2 798 411 A2 – concerns the “toner delivery system” and slots and openings that allow for the toner to flow between the cartridge and hopper.

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Lexmark granted potentially significant EU patent

October 29, 2014

An image from the granted Lexmark patent

An image from the granted Lexmark patent

The patent refers to a “skiving seal” in a toner cartridge, which might affect toner remanufacturers.

Lexmark’s granted patent, EP 2 577 403 B1, generally focuses on a toner container system for a toner cartridge, making reference to the “reservoir for containing toner”, the “rotatable member positioned within” an opening in the reservoir, and most significantly a “skiving seal”.

This seal is set out in the document as being made “for blocking toner from entering a gap between the opening and the rotatable member”, and is positioned “along the length of the rotatable member”. The seal itself is made of a flexible sheet with “a surface and a length corresponding to the length of the gap” in the reservoir.

A tubular portion “adjacent” to the gap is formed to create the seal, with the sheet folded over itself, and the patent therefore is significant to toner remanufacturers because when replacing the seal during the remanufacturing of the cartridge covered by the patent, remanufacturers might be undertaking what can be seen in the document as a manufacturing aspect of the patent, which only Lexmark could undertake legally.

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Lexmark reports revenue growth in third quarter

October 22, 2014

lexmark-logoThe OEM saw a three percent growth, which “exceeded” its predictions.

The results showed revenue growth of three percent, revenue excluding Lexmark’s exit from inkjet in 2012 growing six percent, and MPS and Perceptive Software combined revenue increasing by 21 percent.

GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) revenue was $918 million (€723 million), whilst non-GAAP revenue was $921 million (€725 million), giving the growth of three percent, and “excluding the planned and ongoing decline in inkjet exit revenue”, this growth is six percent”.

In terms of the company’s Imaging Solutions and Services (ISS) segment, revenue “was about flat” compared to the same quarter last year, at $835 million (€657 million), but without the inkjet exit revenue, it grew three percent compared to last year; MPS grew 12 percent to $205 million (€161 million), non-MPS revenue was flat at $570 million (€55 million), and inkjet exit revenue of $60 million (€47 million), which was six percent of total revenue, declined by 29 percent.

Product-wise, hardware revenue grew eight percent to $196 million (€154 million), whilst supplies declined two percent to $593 million (€467 million), and laser supplies revenue grew two percent to $533 million (€419 million). As previously mentioned, the MPS and Perceptive Software revenue – packaged as Lexmark’s “higher value solutions”, is expected to pass $1 billion (€787 million) this year, with combined revenue of $291 million (€229 million) showing a growth of 20 percent over last year, accounting for 32 percent of total revenue.

Lexmark’s predictions looking forward include an expectation that total revenue in the fourth quarter of the financial year would be “down two to four percent”, with the inkjet exit continuing to “have a diminishing negative impact on revenue growth”, though excluding this, the OEM believes revenue in the next quarter will “grow year to year”.

Paul Rooke, Lexmark’s Chairman and CEO, commented: “In the third quarter, Managed Print Services and Perceptive Software combined revenue grew 20 percent, representing nearly one third of Lexmark’s total revenue, and is on track to exceed $1 billion this year. Our strong results reflect the work we have been doing to transform Lexmark to a solutions company, creating a unique portfolio of higher value imaging and software solutions.”

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False advertising case’s implications discussed

October 20, 2014

The case between Static Control and Lexmark continues to have an affect on the legal landscape in the USA.supremecourtseal copy

MetroCorpCounsel interviewed two US lawyers about the legislation concerning false advertising, including the “recent developments” in a number of cases including between Static Control and Lexmark, in which Static Control won the right to sue the OEM in March earlier this year.

The site interviewed Danielle DeFilippis and Ami Bhatt, Associates at Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, about the case and a number of others that impact upon false advertising law. DeFilippis stated that the Supreme Court “articulated a new test to determine whether a claimant has standing to bring a Lanham Act claim” for false advertising, which The Recycler reported on in April this year.

The new format allows for a two-step inquiry into whether a “claimant has standing” to bring a false advertising case: a zone of interests test, and a proximate cause analysis; the former of which covers those who “allege an injury to a commercial interest in reputation or sales”, and the latter demanding a party “must show economic or reputational injury flowing directly from the deception wrought by the defendant’s advertising”.

DeFilippis added that the ruling in the Static Control-Lexmark case “can have the effect of limiting or increasing suits”, depending on the “jurisdiction and the test previously employed”, and noted that there has been “significant case law interpreting and applying the test since the decision was made”, but “whether litigation will increase or decrease across the nation remains to be seen […] it will be interesting to see how courts analyse the level of proof needed to ‘allege’ proximate cause”.

Bhatt also mentioned that the case, along with a number of others involving companies such as Coca-Cola, has meant that “false or misleading advertising will continue to face scrutiny from competitors or from regulatory bodies”, and that companies “should take care in crafting promotional materials, whether in print, on packaging, or online, to ensure that the information presented is accurate and within the bounds of the law”.

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Lexmark announces Corporate Cartridges line

October 17, 2014

Lexmark CS310n

Lexmark CS310n

New line of toner cartridges for EMEA region designed to boost sustainability in businesses.

IT Web reported on Lexmark’s release of its new line of Corporate Cartridges designed for businesses in the EMEA region, with the toner cartridges compatible with Lexmark’s A4 CS/CX colour and MS/MX monochrome devices.

The OEM stated that the products are “driven” by the company’s “commitment to corporate social responsibility and guided by the principles of zero waste and the circular economy”, using Unison toner and “advanc[ing] the sustainability benefits of the Unison Print System” through the use of components recovered by the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program (LCCP). They also have a “robust and durable design to deliver long-term reliability and sustained print quality”.

In order to ensure “consistent product availability” as well as minimise the environmental impact of supply chains, the cartridges are manufactured in the EU, with pricing “equivalent” to the OEM’s Return Program cartridges.

Mark Hiller, Lexmark Regional General Manager South Africa, said: “Lexmark has a strong tradition of innovation and commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainability. This new line of corporate cartridges represents our most sustainable supplies offering to date. In addition to the environmental and social aspects, the cartridges are also backed by Lexmark’s limited lifetime supplies warranty.”

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Lexmark releases printer series for SMEs

September 22, 2014

Lexmark MS415dn

Lexmark MS415dn

MS310 and MS410 series offer “enterprise-style features” for small and medium-sized businesses in Australia.

IT Wire reported that the newly released mono laser printers from Lexmark have been designed for SMEs as well as workgroups within larger organisations; offering features such as remote printing through iOS and Android devices via AirPrint or Lexmark’s print app, duplex printing, optional Wi-Fi, and a paper capacity of 850 sheets, plus an optional second tray.

Marty Canning, Executive Vice President and President of Imaging Solutions and Services at Lexmark, said: “Small business needs the same speed, reliability and usability found in enterprise-level printers […] the Lexmark MS310 and MS410 series offer unexpected features such as confidential print, network security and remote manageability that are designed to keep small business on the leading edge of print technology.”

The two printers available in Australia are the MS312dn, which has print speeds of 33ppm and is priced at AUS$299 (US$265/€207), and the MS415dn, which can print at speeds of up to 38ppm, as well as having a colour display panel, and is priced at AUS$599 (US$532/€414).

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Lexmark launches new printers in South Africa

September 2, 2014

The OEM launched the MS310 and MS410 series, aimed at SMEs.Lexmark MS310

ITWeb reported on the launch of the ranges by Lexmark, with the OEM stating that the devices “deliver superior performance, security [and] value for enterprises [and] SMEs”. The machines feature automatic duplexing, colour LCD displays, wireless printing and a host of other offerings.

Among the other features of the machines, which include the MS312dn and MS415dn, is added security – through Lexmark’s “confidential print feature” – alongside mobile printing compatibility via the OEM’s Mobile Printing App, energy-saving modes, andremote management allowing control of printers “from any browser when network-connected”.

An “aftermarket” cartridge with a yield of 5,000 pages is also available for both machines, with Lexmark stating that the cartridge is “one of the most sought-after cartridges for the segment and will continue to reinforce Lexmark’s strong position in the SME segment”. The MS312dn and MS415dn are available for R2,695 ($252/€191) and R4,045 ($378/€288) respectively.

Marty Canning, Lexmark’s Executive Vice-President and President of Imaging Solutions and Services, stated: “Small businesses need the same speed, reliability and usability found in enterprise-level printers. The Lexmark MS310 and MS410 series offer unexpected features such as confidential print, network security and remote manageability that are designed to keep small businesses on the leading edge of print technology.”

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Lexmark 2Q14 results exceed forecasts

July 23, 2014

lexmark-logoWhile OEM’s earnings fell 88 percent, adjusted results were better than expected, leading to an increased outlook for the year.

Market Watch reported on Lexmark’s second quarter results, which showed that earnings fell 88 percent year-on-year due to the previous year reaping the benefit from the sale of the company’s inkjet business. Consequently, the adjusted results actually exceeded Lexmark’s previous forecast, with the OEM increasing its outlook for the year as a result.

Following the second quarter results, Lexmark now expects revenue to be “flat to down two percent year-over-year” with adjusted per-share earnings of $0.85 (€0.63) to $0.95 (€0.71), compared to its earlier forecast for a decline of between two and four percent for $3.80 (€2.82) to $4 (€2.97) per share, which had been influenced by the company’s expectation of a “continued negative impact” from its exit from the inkjet business.

2Q14 saw the company achieve a profit of $37.5 million (€27.8 million) or $0.59 (€0.44) per share, down from 2Q13’s profit of $24.1 million (€17.9 million) or $1.47 (€1.09); while revenue increased by less than one percent to $891.8 million (€662 million). Operating expenses meanwhile increased by 40 percent to $288.8 million (€214.4 million).

The article noted that Lexmark’s business tactic against the maturing hardware market has been to “stick to its core business and add software around it”, which has differed to other OEMs such as Xerox which has “diversified further afield with new offerings, such as outsourcing”.

The Recycler reported in April on Lexmark’s first quarter results, which saw earnings fall 27 percent due to weaker product revenue and higher operating expenses; with profit reported at $29.3 million (€21.75 million).

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Lexmark launches four new Smart MFPs

June 18, 2014

The OEM launched the monochrome devices featuring “enhanced productivity”.

Lexmark's MX910 MFP

Lexmark’s MX910 MFP

Lexmark’s announcement saw it reveal four new A3 monochrome laser printers in its Smart MFP range, which it states “complement enterprise portfolio[s]” with “enhanced productivity [and] security”, and which would “provide an intuitive and consistent user experience to bridge the paper and digital worlds across the enterprise”.

The four new machines include the MS911 and MX910 ranges, which are a monochrome single-function and MFP respectively, and are said to be “ideal for high usage environments” as well as featuring “long-life components, enterprise security and advanced finishing options”. The devices have quicker first print times, paper capacities of up to 6,650 sheets, and “shake-free” toner cartridges.

The machines also feature finishing options including staples, hole punches, folding and saddle stitch binding, while an encrypted hard drive, user authentication and “automatic disk wiping” help provide “enhanced security” for users.

Marty Canning, Lexmark’s Executive Vice President and President of Imaging Solutions and Services, stated: “Cost and size advantages of A4/letter devices often make them the best fit in most enterprise environments; however, having A3/ledger devices that can print on 11-inch by 17-inch media can be crucial for certain business applications.

“For those instances, the Lexmark MS911 and MX910 series products are excellent choices, providing simple and consistent user experiences across the fleet with productivity-enhancing solutions that bridge the paper and digital worlds across the enterprise.”


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New Lexmark printers designed for SMBs

May 21, 2014

Lexmark MS310 series

Lexmark MS310 series

OEM introduces MS310/MS410 series of black and white printers, which offer “superior performance, security and value” for SMBs and enterprises.

The two devices are designed to deliver enterprise-level features to small and medium businesses in addition to large organisations; featuring a colour display panel, automatic duplex printing and optional wireless printing, as well as added security with Lexmark’s confidential print feature.

Included in the series is the MS415dn, which is described as being a “highly competitive product” for “companies of all sizes, including the finance and manufacturing industries”, with print speeds of up to 38 ppm and a 256MB memory. The MS312dn meanwhile can print up to 33 ppm and boasts a range of eco-friendly features such as an eco mode and duplex printing.

The series supports mobile printing via the Lexmark Mobile Printing App, while remote manageability allows designated staff to control printer settings from any browser when connected to a network, including security settings, device defaults and consumables alerts.

The printers come with 5,000-yield ‘Return Programme’ toner cartridges that are sold at a discount in exchange for the customer’s agreement to use the cartridge only once before returning it to Lexmark for remanufacturing or recycling. Lexmark stated that the 5,000-yield cartridge “is one of the most sought-after cartridges for this segment”. The licensing on these cartridges was reported on by The Recycler yesterday.

Commenting on the product launches, Marty Canning, Executive Vice President of Lexmark and President of Imaging Solutions and Services, said: “Small business needs the same speed, reliability and usability found in enterprise-level printers. The Lexmark MS310 and MS410 series offer unexpected features such as confidential print, network security and remote manageability that are designed to keep small business on the leading edge of print technology.”

The MS312dn and MS415dn are priced from £169 ($285/€208) to £249 ($420/€307).

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