International ITC Files Complaint Against HP Inc.

This week, the International Imaging Technology Council (Int’l ITC), an industry trade association for sellers of remanufactured printer and copier supplies, filed a complaint with the Green Electronics Council over HP Inc’s new firmware that blocks its printers from using third-party supplies.

The Int’l ITC is challenging HP claims that its printers  meet certain criteria as defined by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). The Int’l ITC is being joined in this action by the United Kingdom Cartridge Remanufacturing Association (UKCRA).

The EPEAT criteria were developed over a two-year period by a group of stakeholders, including government officials, OEM manufacturers (including HP), and members of the aftermarket that included the Int’l ITC and UKCRA. These groups developed the IEEE 1680.2 standard for environmental assessment of imaging equipment, as well as subsections 4.9.2.1 and 4.9.4.1 that  direct that all EPEAT imaging equipment will:

  • Allow use of non-manufacturer cartridges and non-manufacturer containers.
  • [Provide] documentation that the cartridge or container is not designed to prevent its reuse and recycling.

The Int’l ITC alleges that HP’s firmware, which locks out aftermarket cartridges, violates these provisions. The Green Electronics Council is the body charged with overseeing this program, including ensuring the integrity of the EPEAT system.

“HP Inc.’s outrageous new firmware shuts off a printer when it detects a non-HP cartridge, which frustrates consumers and their cartridge suppliers alike,” said Tricia Judge, executive director of the Int’l ITC. “This is clearly contrary to the EPEAT criteria, they shouldn’t get to claim to adhere to a higher environmental standard.”

Last week, HP executives indicated that HP would be moving to a new printer business model. It would continue to sell lower-priced printers that would only be compatible with HP supplies, but would also sell new “subsidized” printers that would cost more but would accept third-party toner cartridges.

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