Law Firm Files Lawsuit Against HP, Alleges Blocking of Third-Party Ink Cartridges Violates U.S. Laws

Judge with Gavel

An Alabama law firm, Heninger, Garrision, Davis (HGD), has filed a lawsuit against HP Inc. alleging that HP Inc. printers have a “preset failure date for non-HP ink cartridges.” The lawsuit alleges that HP “intentionally incapacitated the printers” owned by consumers who use non-HP ink cartridges. Meanwhile, online retailer of third-party ink and toner cartridges, LDProducts, announced that it’s selling third-party ink cartridges that circumvent the HP firmware upgrade that disables use of third-party ink cartridges (see below).

Lawsuit

HGD argues that HP caused those printers to fail on a specific date if a non-HP cartridge was in use. HGD, which is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, also alleges that HP violated consumer-protection laws and U.S. antitrust laws by causing HP printers to fail for using non-HP ink cartridges.

As Wirth Consulting reported on September 19th, on September 13th, thousands of consumers began complaining that their non-HP, third-party ink cartridges no longer worked with their HP inkjet printers and All-in-Ones. According to the complaints, an HP firmware upgrade caused the printers to no longer work with third-party ink cartridges. Once an HP firmware upgrade was completed, and users installed the non-HP ink cartridges, the printers displayed an error message,  and become inoperable so long as the user used third-party, remanufactured, or refilled ink cartridges. The error message reads: “Cartridge Problem. The following ink cartridges appear to be missing or damaged. Replace the cartridges and resume printing.”

Users who tried to download an older version of HP’s printer firmware in order to bypass the error code were unable to, as they found that HP had deleted all links to the older firmware files from its Web site.

HP responded to the problem with the following statements:

“HP is constantly improving security for its products and customers. Beginning in late 2015, HP implemented updates to the security chip in HP Officejet, Officejet Pro, and Officejet Pro X printers that maintains secure communications between the cartridge and the printer. The purpose of this update is to protect HP’s innovations and intellectual property. These printers will continue to work with refilled or remanufactured cartridges with an Original HP security chip. Other cartridges may not function. In many cases this functionality was installed in the HP printer and in some cases it has been implemented as part of an update to the printer’s firmware.”

The HDG law firm states that: “In addition to the harm to the end-user consumer, HP’s sabotage of non-HP ink cartridges is causing significant economic harm to companies that sell generic printer ink. Consumers are returning generic printer cartridge products designed for HP printers and all the generic product designed for HP on the shelves is worthless.”

The law firm solicit owners of the affected HP Officejet printers to contact the firm for a free consultation, and lists the affected Officejet models as the Officejet 6830, 8610, 8615, 8620, 8625, 8630, 8640, 8660, x451dn, x476dn, x476dw, x576dw, 934/935, 950/951, and 970/971.

LDProducts Says New Cartridges Circumvent Firmware Upgrade

Online retailer LDProduct released a press release on September 23rd stating that it’s “one of the first to carry (a) compatible solution despite (the) HP firmware update” disabling third-party ink cartridges.

The firm states that it retails “third-party cartridges that will function with the affected printer models, despite the update.” LD Products states that its “current inventory of remanufactured replacement cartridges for (HP) 950XL and 951XL cartridges will work in the affected printers and an inventory of remanufactured replacement cartridges for 934XL and 935XL cartridges are expected to be available by early next week.”

“We’re experts in the ink & toner industry and that enables us to be one of the first to provide a solution”, said Aaron Leon, CEO of LD Products.

More Resources

September 2016: HP: Some Officejet Inkjet Printers May No Longer Work with Third-Party Ink Cartridges

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