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Canon awarded $4.5m in toner bottle case

June 22, 2017

On 19 June, the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, awarded Canon $4.5 million (€4.02 million) after a jury found that Color Imaging and General Plastics did indeed infringe Canon’s toner bottle design.

The Recycler reported on the start of the case in 2015, which saw Canon accuse GPI and Color Imaging of patent infringement, with the USITC issuing the details of the complaint, which referred to the importation of toner bottles used in the OEM’s imageRUNNER, imageRUNNER ADVANCE and imagePRESS devices. The OEM was looking to stop the companies from importing the bottles into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States of the aforementioned products.

Canon had requested that the USITC issue “a permanent limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders”. A Limited Exclusion Order (LEO) differs from a General Exclusion Order (GEO), but would still bar the two companies from importing and selling the bottles infringing the patents, as well as enforcing cease and desist orders.

In a ‘Notice of institution of investigation’, the USITC stated that it had received Canon’s original complaint in early June 2015, and “having considered the complaint”, it had ordered “an investigation to be instituted to determine whether there is a violation” of patents in the case.

Canon previously undertook toner bottle IP cases in the UK against Parsia International, Allcopy Products and PPC Solutions Ltd. Parsia settled with the OEM in October 2013, as did AllCopy in September 2013 and PPC in April 2014.

Color Imaging told The Recycler at the time when the case was announced: “GPI and Color Imaging respect the intellectual property rights of others, including Canon’s. They firmly believe that their innovative aftermarket products offer a viable alternative that is beneficial to the consumers, and should not be squeezed out of the market by means other than fair competition in the market.”

After more than five years, since the case started the verdict from the jury court was that General Plastics was ordered to pay $3.7 million (€3.31 Million), and Color Imaging just under $1 million (€0.89 million).

General Plastics released a statement saying “The Company has made a new revision design for the products in this area to meet the market demand.” It continues: “The company and the US lawyers believe that the decision has a major flaw, will proceed to move Appeal.”

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