HP sues over its ink patents

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Hewlett-Packard (HP) is taking legal action against a German subsidiary of a Korean company for violating HP's printer ink patents.

HP Wednesday filed a formal complaint in Germany's court system alleging that InkTec-branded "do-it-yourself" cartridge refill kits violate HP's patents. Even though InkTec is in South Korea, HP filed the complaint in Germany because that's where the suspect ink cartridges were found.

HP said the discovery of the infringing InkTec products is the result of ongoing testing and enforcement efforts within the Supplies unit of HP's Imaging and Printing Group. Over the past year, the same initiative has uncovered ink patent infringements by other companies that offer generic ink supplies through refilling stations or "private label" brands.

Both its inks and ink cartridges are highly engineered and protected by multiple patents, HP said. They are considered the highest margin products sold by HP, which also sells desktop and notebook computers, servers and storage technology, printers and other products.

Because replacement cartridges cost US$30 or more apiece, numerous businesses have sprung up in recent years to refill existing cartridges for sometimes half the price of a new cartridge.

InkTec is a provider of inks, remanufactured cartridges and cartridge refill kits whose stock trades on the Korean stock exchange.

This story, "HP sues over its ink patents" was originally published by PCWorld.

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