Epson Continues Fight to Protect Ink-Cartridge IP with Two New Lawsuits

Epson is continuing to defend its ink-cartridge patent rights, with this week The Recycler reporting that Epson is suing two California companies, Prinko Image Co. and Soldcrazy USA, that it accuses of importing and selling cartridges that infringe on its patents.

The two patents are U.S. 6,502,917 and U.S. 8,794,749, which the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued to Epson in 2003 and 2014, respectively.

Soldcrazy (which operated online as Lovetoners) sold the ink cartridges on their Web sites and via online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart, and listed the ink cartridges as compatible with at least 10 Epson printers, including the Stylus range and several WorkForce models. Prinko operated online as O’Image, and sold through the same Web sites, including ink cartridges compatible with Epson Stylus printers, including the Epson Photo 1400 and Epson Artisan 1430.

Previously, The Recycler explained that both Soldcrazy and Prinko had been subject to Seizure and Forfeiture Orders issued by the United States International Trade Commission (ITC).  The ITC had ordered, in June 2015 (in the case of Soldcrazy) and in June 2016 (in the case of Prinko), that “ink cartridges and components thereof that are imported in violation of the general exclusion order […] are to be seized and forfeited to the United States.” The sanctions “were imposed following the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection previously issuing General Exclusion Orders to both companies, even going so far as to deny ink cartridges that contravened these orders entry into the country. Despite these Orders being imposed, Soldcrazy and Prinko continued to supply the offending cartridges online.”

The alleged patent infringements are said to include: the design of the ink-supply port, the semiconductor storage device, and contacts for connecting the semiconductor with the printing apparatus.

Epson is seeking damages from both Soldcrazy and Prinko, as well as costs, attorney fees, and litigation expenses.

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