Hewlett-Packard and three companies have settled several ongoing patent disputes concerning printer ink cartridges, although HP is still in legal action against seven other vendors for similar patent violations.
HP announced on March 17 that it has ended its dispute with three companies and it is close to settling with a fourth vendor. The complaints stem from a Sept. 23, 2009, filing with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC). The HP complaint specifically relates to the sale of HP 02 compatible inkjet supplies that HP claimed violated certain patents.
As part of the new agreement, HP announced that it had settled patent disputes with two companies-InkPlus Toner.com and Comptree Ink-concerning the sales of these specific types of inkjet cartridge. The two companies agreed to stop selling their versions of the ink cartridge and to pay HP an undisclosed amount of money.
In addition, HP announced that it is close to agreement to settle with another ink cartridge company, SmartOne Services. The specifics of that settlement were not announced.
Finally, HP announced that a judge agreed to end the investigation into a fourth company-Zhuhai Gree Magneto-Electric-after the vendor agreed to stop selling the cartridge.
The judge reviewing the case has also issued a default judgment against the other companies that were part of the original complaint. That part of that case is now under review by the ITC. Those companies include ABCInk, EZ Label and CDR DVDR Media; Mipo International; Mextec Group; Shanghai Angel Printer Supplies; Shenzhen Print Media; Zhuhai National Resources & Jingjie Imaging Products; Tatrix International; and Ourway Image.
While HP is the world’s largest supplier of PCs, the company is also major supplier of ink and ink cartridges for printers. During the first financial quarter of 2010, HP’s imaging and printing division saw revenues of about $6.2 billion.