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EOS seeks Epson and Lexmark 337 reversal

August 6, 2019

US cartridge collector, Environmental Office Solutions (EOS), has filed requests to reverse the seizure and forfeit orders, issued on Epson and Lexmark’s behalf by the USITC, citing the Supreme Court decision in the Impression Products v Lexmark case.

The general exclusion orders and cease and desist orders were issued to EOS by the USITC relating to investigation numbers 337-TA-565 (Epson) and 337-TA-740 (Lexmark) on 27 August 2015 when EOS attempted to import used/ empty cartridges.

In its requests, EOS states that “these products that were attempted to be imported by Environmental Office Solutions, specifically used/empty cartridges, were not part of that investigation,” and adds that the Supreme Court Opinion in the Impression Products v Lexmark case states that patent exhaustion occurs after the initial sale of the cartridge.

At the time, the Supreme Court decision concluded: “We conclude that Lexmark exhausted its patent rights in these cartridges the moment it sold them. The single-use/no-resale restrictions in Lexmark’s contracts with customers may have been clear and enforceable under contract law, but they do not entitle Lexmark to retain patent rights in an item that it has elected to sell. […].”

EOS is requesting that the USITC rescinds the issuance of the seizure and forfeit orders, so that as a result, “importation and sale of those cartridges would not constitute a violation any violation of any remedial order,[…].”

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