Legal experts predict aftermarket victory in Lexmark case

November 17, 2015

Impression Products' Eric Smith. Credit: Krista Belcher

Impression Products’ Eric Smith. Credit: Krista Belcher

A law publication said that the US Federal Circuit is “leaning toward” the side of Impression Products in its on-going case against the OEM.

The article in the National Law Review compared the essence of the case to a patented popcorn tub which has to be returned to the manufacturer for recycling, and re-sold by them too, but “according to those in the refurbish/resell business, it’s just too much”.

The legal case began when Impression Products was named in an IP infringement case in October 2013 in the US District Court Southern District of Ohio (Cincinnati Division). The case referred to the “unlawful importation […] the sale for importation and/or the sale within the United States after importation” of a number of infringing remanufactured and cloned aftermarket cartridges.

Impression’s legal team moved to dismiss claims as well as overturn the Jazz Photo decision that impacts on patent exhaustion, or the “first-sale doctrine”. This was also influenced by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Kirtsaeng case in 2013, which prevented copyright owners from stopping imports and reselling content sold abroad.

But now the National Law Review thinks that “in all, it seems the Federal Circuit is leaning toward patent exhaustion”. It concluded that “if the court over-turns the precedent, the previously-sharp patent sword you had for your [popcorn] tub may be worn to a nub.

“If not, the determination of what constitutes a valid and effective post-sale restriction, as opposed to a contract with the customer, may become a murky ground for new litigation.”

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KMP releases Brother and Lexmark toner cartridges

November 3, 2015

The TN-130BK

The TN-130BK

The Brother cartridges are for use in the HL-4040 as well as in DCP- models 9040CN, 9042DN and 9045CDN; amd HL- models 4040CN, 4050CDN, 4050CDNLT and the 4070CDW.

The replacement toners can also be used in the MFC- series, for the 9440CDW, 9440CN, 9445, 9445CDN, 9450, 9450CDN, 9450CLT, 9450CN, 9840 and 9840CDW0, and include replacement for the TN130-BK/C/M/Y, with a 2,500-page yield for black and 1,500 pages for the colours.

Replacement black toner cartridges are also available for use in the Lexmark X264dn, X363dn, X364dn and X364dw, replacing the 3,500-page yield X264A11G and the 9,000-page X264H11G.

For more information, visit

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Lexmark launches cartridge collection mobile app

November 2, 2015

Lexmark appThe technology allows customers to fast track their participation in the OEM’s cartridge collection programme (LCCP), reducing average pickup request time from six minutes to one.

The application process is made easier as customers who want to deposit their cartridges for reuse and recycling can place orders by simply scanning a QR code, IT Daily (German) reported.

Lexmark intends the app to encourage existing web users to transition and generate new LCCP logins, and it is available on Android and iOS platforms. Users can also order the new Ecobox, a recycling bin with a “particularly compact design” that can return several cartridges at once by mail free of charge, which is aimed at small to medium-sized businesses.

Once the OEM has registered the receipt of the cartridges, it can add them to the overall figures that are published in its Eco Reports. The LCCP mobile app is available in German, English and French and can be used by Lexmark customers in 30 countries throughout Europe.

Birgit Houscht, Director and Supplies Wholesaler DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), said: “With the renovation and improvement of the recycling process for our customers through our new LCCP app, we can realise tangible benefits for these companies and the environment.”

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Lexmark revenues fall in third quarter

October 28, 2015

Lexmark SaudiRevenue for 3Q2015 to $851 million (€769 million), down from $918 million (€829 million) for the respective quarter of 2014, while the gross profit margin fell to 37.6 percent from 38.9 percent.

The OEM’s Inkjet Exit division saw its revenue decline 48 percent, while its MPS division grew its revenue by one percent. Rumours emerged earlier this month that among “strategic alternatives” Lexmark is considering include looking to sell the company to another technology company or a private equity firm.

The company also recently opened a base in Saudi Arabia.

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Lexmark to be sold?

October 23, 2015

Lexmark's MS310DN machine

Lexmark’s MS310DN machine

The company is reportedly “exploring strategic alternatives” including possibly selling the company.

Wall Street Journal reported that the OEM is working with investment bank Goldman Sachs to evaluate its options going forward, with a buyer likely to be “other technology companies and private-equity firms”, according to “one of the people familiar with the matter”.

Lexmark stopped manufacturing inkjet printers in 2013, and more recently and as of June shoulders $1 billion (€900 million) in debt. It announced in July that it would cut 500 jobs, following a mixed set of quarterly results, despite its recent purchase of software provider Kofax.

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Lexmark opens Saudi Arabia office

October 14, 2015

Lexmark SaudiThe new base in Riyadh was launched to bring the OEM’s MPS offerings and unique software solutions to new customers and consolidate existing clients.

Heading the operation is Saeed Alajou, General Manager for Saudi Arabia, who will report to Mathias Militzer, Trade Arabia reported. General Manager for the Middle East and Africa. Lexmark is hoping to employ Saudi nationals at the base.

Militzer said: “Besides the growing demand of managed print and document services, we recognise that unlocking the important content that is trapped in organisations’ paper and electronic documents is one of the biggest business challenge of today. Local organisations are focused on implementing technologies and solutions that will assist them to become more efficient and remain competitive at a global scale.”

He added: “Our investment in this region is a testament to the growth in the market, and we remain committed in making this vision a reality.”


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Appeals heard in Lexmark-Impression Products case

October 8, 2015

Attorneys Seth Greenstein and Skip London

Attorneys Seth Greenstein and Skip London. Credit: IITC

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has heard from both sides in the patent case, with some of the 12 judges appearing “open to the cause of the aftermarket”.

The International Imaging Technology Council (IITC) reported on the case, with the association’s Tricia Judge attending, while attorneys Seth Greenstein and Skip London supported an amicus, or ‘friend of the court’ brief filed by the IITC in support of Impression Products.

Lexmark’s argument is that since the toner cartridges it refilled were originally sold overseas, they are IP-infringing. Impression Products is hoping to overturn the Jazz Photo ruling, which determined that a number of refurbished Fuji cameras did not infringe patents as the owner “has a right of repair”, but this decision was “limited […] to cameras first sold in the US”.

12 judges heard the arguments, with some “prickly, if not hostile” questions for Impression Products’ attorney Ed O’Connor, as the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals “has historically favoured patent holders” and these were the same judges who wrote the Jazz Photo ruling.

The US government, represented by the US Solicitor General, argued that there should be a “split position”, with some patent restrictions being removed, but not all of them being taken away on foreign products. The IITC said that there was “no clear winner” at the end of the day, with the case likely to move to the US Supreme Court, according to London.

Intel and a number of other OEMs have backed Impression Products’ position, while the Imaging Supplies Coalition (ISC) did the same for Lexmark in August 2015. Also at the hearing were lawyers representing Google, Intel and Samsung for Impression, and the Biotechnology Industry Organisation for Lexmark.

An Ohio judge agreed with Impression’s argument, but only for cartridges initially sold in the US, while remanufactured cartridges sold overseas “were effectively deemed a new product that infringed the US patent rights”, Bloomberg reported.

Another part of the case argues that the resale of copyrighted materials initially sold abroad should be allowed, as there is no difference between patent and copyright law. Pharmaceutical companies worry that such a ruling would enable firms to buy cheaper medicines abroad and ship them into the USA.

This prompted Circuit Judge Pauline Newman to question whether drug manufacturers should lose their rights when selling medicines such as HIV drugs to Africa, with the single-use restriction option for medical device manufacturers being overturned. “One rule doesn’t fit all,” she commented. A decision is not expected for several months.

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It can’t be right…

September 24, 2015

…that the Goliaths win every battle and the Davids of this world get trampled on. History has shown us time and again that Lexmark go to court to litigate the small guys out of business. They know that a small business can’t afford to fight them in the courts, so they hit them with the legal claims, offer them a deal and expect them to roll over.

Lexmark is an American-based global player in the printer market, and you can buy their printers in the USA and have them shipped just about anywhere. Same goes for their cartridges, yet they want to frustrate legitimate remanufacturing by saying, “this cartridge wasn’t placed on the market in your country so you can’t remanufacture it”. So that begs the question – how does a legitimate remanufacturer know when and where a cartridge was first sold? The answer is they can’t know, simply because Lexmark doesn’t tell anyone. Call Lexmark and ask them where a cartridge was first sold, and they don’t have a clue; and if they did, would they tell you?Lexmark new logo

So how do they make the accusations? Simple – when you get sued by Lexmark, they want you to divulge your sources of empties. If you bought your empty outside of America, they sue the company that sold the cartridges to you. And so it goes on.

So the lawyers will talk and the judges will judge, and while the legal process runs the costs are mounting, and we hope the judges will see the same common sense that we all see and give a ruling that is effective as David’s slingshot.

Why all the OEM litigation? Simple really – the OEM market is shrinking, and they expect cartridge sales to drop by 55 million units a year by 2018. At the same time the volumes of remanufactured cartridges are stable, even growing a little. This means that as the OEM market continues to shrink, the market share for remanufactured products increases and eats into their profits. Expect more of the same from the OEMs, as they use their dominant market positions to grab as much market share as they can from each other and from the aftermarket.

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AQC Group UK Ltd updates Lexmark toner

September 17, 2015

The Lexmark MS310

The Lexmark MS310

A new formulation for the company’s Lexmark MS/MX310, 410, 510 and 610 toner has “improved yield” and “reduced waste”.

Suggested fill-weights and page yields are “the same as before”, including: 55g for 1,500 pages and 150g for 5,000 pages in the MS/MX310-610; 290g for 10,000 pages in the MS/MX410-610; and 520g for 20,000 pages in the MS/MX510-610.

The toners are available in AQC bags and bottles as well as 10kg bulk packaging, and are designed to operate at 33ppm, 38ppm, 44ppm and 47ppm for the MS310, MS410, MS510 and MS610 printers respectively. These printers feature a resolution of 1,200 x 1,200dpi, alongside automatic duplexing.

AQC Group UK Ltd. noted that “further testing” revealed the “improved yield” and “reduced waste”, adding that this has resulted “in a more refined and efficient toner while retaining the same pricing”.

For more information, visit

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Lexmark resellers to focus on MPS

September 14, 2015

Martin Fairman. Credit: Channel Pro

Martin Fairman. Credit: Channel Pro

The OEM has identified document management as the next area of growth and wants to educate its partners in how to use it to stay strong as shipments and prints decline.

In an interview with CRN, Martin Fairman, Channel Sales Director for Lexmark, said: “We recognise that our market is in decline, so we have got to help our resellers evolve their business by putting the right devices into the client, and figuring out how we then talk to them about document management and streamlining their business processes.”

But thing are still at the “baby steps” stage as conversations are taking place between the OEM and its distributors, and Fairman says resellers are wary of investing in MPS: “A lot of resellers are unsure about investing in the infrastructure needed, from data collection tools, to people going out and doing a site audit. There is a lot of education that we as manufacturers need to offer the market to really lock down what MPS is.”

“There is great savings to be made from it in all areas. The benefit for resellers is that MPS locks them into their customers, which is what we are all trying to do.”

He added that scanned images are said to be the next big thing for the print market, according to analysts such as IDC, but the immediate challenge is to start charging customers for this service, which has ben integrated in existing solutions until now. Fairman said: “Going forward, we need to educate our resellers on how to start charging for scanned images. We [Lexmark] have been giving away scanned images as part of managed print for too long now and this has real tangible value.”


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