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USITC starts Canon toner bottle case

July 15, 2015

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has decided to begin an investigation into Canon’s allegations of patent infringement concerning “certain toner supply containers and components”.USITC logo

The case, which The Recycler reported on last month, has seen Canon accuse GPI and Color Imaging of patent infringement, with the USITC issuing the details of the complaint, which refer to the importation of toner bottles used in the OEM’s imageRUNNER, imageRUNNER ADVANCE and imagePRESS devices. The OEM is 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, and “having considered the complaint”, it has ordered “an investigation to be instituted to determine whether there is a violation” of patents in the case. Naming both GPI and Color Imaging as respondents, the document went on to state that respondents must reply with a “timely response” to the investigation”, within 20 days after being served with the document.

The notice also included the letters to be sent to the Canon companies and to both respondent businesses, and pointed out that “failure of a respondent to file a timely response to each allegation in the complaint […] may be deemed to constitute a waiver of the right to appear and contest the allegations of the complaint and this notice”. Such a failure to reply would also allow the USITC to “enter an initial determination and a final determination […] and may result in the issuance of an exclusion order or a cease and desist order or both”.

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 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.”

Canon is also looking to secure a GEO through the USITC regarding the patent infringement case it took out against 33 aftermarket companies “pertaining to certain toner cartridges and their photosensitive drums sold for use in Canon and HP laser beam printers”.

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