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123inkt scores another win

May 1, 2020

The online retailer who has been battling it out in the Netherlands courts with Samsung and HP, has announced their latest wins against the OEMs.

Ever since December 2013, Samsung and 123inkt have been battling it out in court. The South Korean multinational claimed that certain parts in specific compatible cartridges infringed two patents and two industrial designs. Following the earlier decisions in the summary judgement proceedings, the proceedings on the merits, which have taken more than six years, have finally resulted in a judgment in appeal.

123inkt reported that on Tuesday 21 April 2020, the Court of Appeals in The Hague rendered judgement and overturned in large part the earlier decision by the District Court from 30 November 2016, by declaring one of the two patents and both industrial designs invalid. Furthermore, HP/Samsung has been ordered to repay the litigation costs that 123inkt previously had to pay under the initial judgment.

Alongside this procedure, proceedings on the merits regarding three other patents were also ongoing since December 2013. These patents are related to the position of chips on toner cartridges.

Following a procedure that lasted almost five years, these patents were declared invalid by The Hague District Court on 17 October 2018. HP/Samsung appealed this decision. However, on 25 February 2020 the Court of Appeals in The Hague ruled in favour of 123inkt once more. Therefore, these three patents are definitely null and void, 123inkt added.

It is not just 123inkt that has been embroiled in legal battles with HP/Samsung. The foundation that represents customers of 123inkt private label cartridges has been embroiled in a battle with HP as well.

This foundation was established in 2016, when 123inkt.nl began receiving substantial numbers of complaints. It came to light that HP had released a firmware update, without customer consent, which caused users to receive error notifications on a massive scale.

The foundation (called Stichting 123inkt-huismerk klanten) tries to make sure that updates such as these become prohibited and looks after the interests of the 123inkt private label customers in the fight against the injustice they suffered. And with partial success, as HP lost the appeal against the foundation in December 2019 and has been ordered to pay damages.

However, firmware updates that block use of third party cartridges, were not banned. The foundation has therefore appealed to the Dutch Supreme Court, 123inkt said. “Compensation of damages is a start, however, we want to safeguard all users of compatible cartridges against such updates, that restrict their freedom of choice, in the future”, stated the foundation.

According to 123inkt: “These judgements of the last months won’t result in a return of the status quo in the printer and cartridge markets, however. There is a final verdict now in several cases, but the printer manufacturers keep going and 123inkt is still embroiled in several other legal battles with HP and Epson, amongst others.”

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