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Dutch cartridge retailer forced to post rectification

April 8, 2015

123inkt, or Digital Revolution, had been accused in court by HP of using misleading “rebuild” claims on its website about new-build toner cartridges.

District Court of The Hague

District Court of The Hague

The Court of The Hague announced the ruling on 19 March, stating that the claim of “totally rebuilt” on the company’s website gave the impression that the company’s toner cartridges were built from used parts. The judge in the case considered the claim misleading, and ordered the company to place a rectification on its website for two weeks, at http://www.123inkt.nl/.

The rectification reads: “Recently we have [sold] under the brand 123inkt toner cartridges for HP printers in the Netherlands, which were referred to as ‘totally rebuilt’. By judgment of 19 March, 2015, the judge of the court in The Hague ruled that this statement was misleading. Under these toners were new compatible toners without any recycled parts. Of these toners, [it] can not be said that they [are] ‘totally rebuilt’.”

The report was carried in Dutch newspapers and IT publications, as the company sent a letter to its customers explaining the rectification. Digital Revolution had previously won a case against Samsung in the Netherlands last November alongside three other defendants, with the OEM in that case wanting to “ban the sale of some brand[s of] inkjet cartridge […] due to the use of a particular chip”, which breaches a European patent granted to the OEM, but the court decided against the OEM.

ETIRA’s Secretary General Vincent van Dijk welcomed the ruling, stating: “Sellers of infringing new-builds from China should be honest about this. Your customer has the right to know that he could be sued for patent infringement if you supply him patent infringing new-build clones. Moreover, most infringing new-builds go straight to landfill after their first use. So it is wrong to pretend that you sell a sustainable product if in fact it is totally new, and you do not pay for, or care about what happens to your product once it has become waste.

“Cartridge remanufacturers reduce CO2 emissions while offering a lower cost alternative to the OEM product. In some cases reuse may be more expensive than new-builds, but that is the price you pay for being free from lawsuits and being green at the same time. Patent-infringing clones which claim to be rebuilt just want a free ride by using the ‘rebuilt’ image, but without paying the cost that comes with rebuilding.”

He added: “Fortunately, more and more customers are recognising the problem: we see an increase in public tenders criteria which insist that used cartridges must be taken back and disposed of in an environmental–friendly way. Infringing new-build clones often cannot comply with those requirements, but remanufactured OEM cartridges can.”

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