Static Control: U.S. Supreme Court Seems Poised to Rule Against Lexmark in False Advertising Case

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On December 3rd, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the case between Lexmark and Static Control. A decision will not be made for months, but Static Control reports the leaning of the court “strongly favors” another win for Static Control.

Static Control’s claims against Lexmark are based, in part, on Lexmark allegedly falsely telling toner-cartridge remanufacturers that remanufacturing Lexmark “Prebate” toner cartridges was illegal. The Lanham Act, a federal statute, prohibits false advertising.

The trial court initially rejected Static Control’s Lanham Act claim, but the Sixth Circuit reinstated it. Lexmark asked the Supreme Court to overrule the Sixth Circuit.

Early on in the argument, Static Control says the tide favored Static Control. Justice Sotomayor interrupted Lexmark’s lawyer stating: “You’re disparaging the goods of a person. You’re saying that it’s illegal to use that person’s products. It seems to me that’s the essence of the Lanham Act as it’s now written.”

Static Control also says Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also seemed to favor a ruling for Static Control, commenting: “Here is an entrepreneur that says, ‘We make a product and Lexmark is disparaging our product. It is essentially trying to get us out of this line of business. Certainly if you just read the words of the Lanham Act, this is allegedly false advertising.”

“We are extremely pleased with how things went today,” said Static Control’s President Bill Swartz. “We look forward to the court’s decision in June.”

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