Epson Ramps-Up Ink-Cartridge Patent Enforcement with New Lawsuits

Yesterday, Epson announced that Epson America and Epson Portland, both in the United States, and Seiko Epson of Japan, filed two patent-infringement complaints against Try The Ink, LLC/InkPro2day, LLC and against E-Z Ink Inc.

The lawsuits are said to underscore Epson’s expansion of its enforcement efforts to include infringing sellers of large-format printer in cartridges and remanufactured cartridges using third-party infringing circuit boards.

Epson America, Epson Portland, and Seiko Epson filed two patent infringement complaints, one on March 1, 2018 against Try The Ink, LLC/InkPro2day, LLC, and another on March 2, 2018 against E-Z Ink Inc.

The complaints allege infringement of claims from U.S. Patent 6,502,917, U.S. Patent 8,794,749, and U.S. Patent 8,454,116. These patent claims were already adjudicated in well-publicized actions filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), resulting in two General Exclusion Orders barring the importation of all newly built and remanufactured cartridges that infringe the claims.

Epson states that it has “a long history of vigorous legal action to protect the company, consumers and legitimate resellers from unfair competition.” It says that these two most recent lawsuits supplement Epson’s earlier enforcement efforts and allege extensive sales of patent infringing ink cartridges, and seek permanent injunctions against further infringements and monetary damages.

Epson’s enforcement program has included the following broad range of efforts to reach infringers throughout the distribution and sales channels:

  • Two ITC actions resulting in the -565 and -946 General Exclusion Orders that prohibit all imports into the United States a wide range of infringing cartridges for Epson consumer inkjet printers, business inkjet printers, and large format professional printers.
  • Since November 2016, Epson has filed 10 patent-infringement lawsuits against Internet resellers infringing on Epson’s patents and violating the General Exclusion Orders.
  • Frequent enforcement takedowns against intellectual property infringements and trademark misuse through the brand protection programs administered by eBay and Amazon.
  • Notice and communications programs to encourage fair competition by informing resellers of Epson’s intellectual property rights and the procedures for accurately and fairly listing printer supplies for marketplace sales.

Jilana Miller, assistant general counsel for Epson, commented: “We are encouraged that our enforcement programs have resulted in compliance on top internet marketplaces, which largely sell consumer and business inkjet printer cartridges. However, we continue to address the persistent culture of infringement and unfair competition perpetrated on internet marketplaces and through other channels. These recent complaints mark an expansion of our program to include enforcement against resellers of large format printer cartridges and remanufactured cartridges that negatively impact fair competition.”

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