July 29, 2021
Frei Enterprises Inc., which does business as Ink Genie, is a New Jersey based surplus stock discounter. They have filed a suit against HP Inc. (HP) on Tuesday, 27 July alleging that HP had improperly threatened Ink Genie.
The complaint was filed in the District of New Jersey and is seeking a judgment declaring that HP’s trademark and trade dress rights are not infringed Ink Genie.
In the lawsuit Ink Genie expounded: “[Ink Genie] legally operates within a market niche that serves as a valuable, efficient segment of the economy.” In particular, it sources new and authentic printer ink products from surplus suppliers and “other downstream market participants.”
Via the Ink Genie website, the surplus stock discounter sells its products for “the lowest possible price.” The complaint further alleges that HP and its authorised distributors, by contrast, attempt to maintain control over pricing to leverage the highest profit margins possible. As a result, the entities purportedly try to eradicate competition in order to maintain their profits.
The complaint also alleges that “manufacturers, like HP, often use improper and unlawful means to try to eliminate lawful market competition so as to increase their own profits. In this case, HP has employed such unlawful means, including threats from its counsel to bring legal action against Ink Genie for trademark and trade dress infringement.”
The complaint included two exhibits; A May 2021 cease-and-desist letter requesting that Ink Genie remove all HP products from its website and stop selling them. And B, a July 2021 letter, which allegedly demanding the same.
Ink Genie claimed that it “legally procures, advertises, markets, promotes, offers for sale, and sells HP branded products that are 100% genuine and authentic.” As a result, the plaintiff claimed it had done nothing wrong. The company seeks a declaration of non-infringement from the court.
According to their website, Ink Genie was established in 2014 and is not directly affiliated with any manufacturer. They sell a wide variety of office supplies and has evolved into a concentrated seller of genuine ink and toner cartridges at discounted prices.
Ink Genie is represented by Stern & Schurin LLP a specialist in Amazon.com litigation, and in defending against and prosecuting claims of trademark infringement, patent infringement, trade dress infringement and copyright infringement.
Our take on this: Globally, the surplus stock market is a significant part of the overall printer consumables business channel. Many companies will be watching this case with interest. The surplus stock channel is sustainability in action. It targets surplus stock and sells it back into the market, and avoids recycling. A service HP and its authorised dealers don’t provide?
Categories : World Focus