German Court Rules HP Wide-Format PageWide XL Printers Infringe on Memjet Patent

PageWide XL Printhead HP 841

HP 841 PageWide XL Printhead

In an unfavorable development for HP Inc., Memjet reported today that a German Court (District Court Munich I) has granted Memjet Technology Limited a preliminary injunction against HP Deutschland GmbH, a German subsidiary of HP Inc. The injunction is in effect throughout the German market, and bars HP Deutschland GmbH from offering for sale, distributing, and importing into Germany the current ink-distribution assembly of the HP 841 print heads that are used in HP’s wide-format printers using the HP PageWide technology. As a result, the HP PageWide XL Series with this assembly cannot be marketed anymore by HP Deutschland GmbH.

The District Court found a prima facie case of infringement of the German part of Memjet’s EP 1292451 patent. Memjet says the injunction was granted ex parte due to urgency, as HP is beginning to enter the German market with these devices. HP can appeal the injunction.

In the United States in August 2015, Memjet filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, alleging that HP infringed upon eight Memjet patents related to Memjet’s page-wide “waterfall” color inkjet-printing technology.

Both Memjet’s and HP’s page-wide inkjet printing technology enables print speeds of up to 60 ppm (1 second per page) and faster. Memjet says it was the first company to introduce PageWide printing when it debuted a print head that spans the width of a single sheet of 8.5” x 11” paper with over 70,400 nozzles firing ink onto the paper. HP denies the allegations, and has filed a counterclaim against Memjet for infringing upon its patents. HP officially launched Officjet Pro X series printers using PageWide technology in 2013, and is continuing to develop the technology for incorporation into its T-Series of commercial wide-format printers. HP has said that it intends to use this technology throughout its printing portfolio in both new wide-format printers and also in its forthcoming 3D printers set to debut in 2016.

Our Take

As we’ve noted previously, HP may continue to argue that its page-wide inkjet printing technology used by its 60-ppm color inkjet EdgeLine CM8060 MFP (introduced in 2007 and since discontinued) pre-dates Memjet’s patents – although Memjet first demonstrated its page-wide printing also in 2007.  Under a similar patent-infringement lawsuit involving MPHJ Technology Investments, HP has argued that its scan-to-email technology pre-dates MPHJ claimed patents for scan to email – and under U.S. patent law, technology already in existence and used in products can’t be patented.

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