HP Hit With Another Firmware Lawsuit

HP Inc. has been hit with another class-action lawsuit, with plaintiffs again alleging that the company harmed customers when its recommended firmware upgrade for HP printers prevented users from using third-party ink cartridges.

This isn’t the first time HP has been hit with a class-action lawsuit involving ink cartridges. In 2016, customers began complaining that an HP firmware update blocked the use of third-party ink cartridges with their HP printers. HP issued a firmware update unblocking the third-party ink cartridges. However, several customers filed a $1.5 million class action lawsuit, which HP settled in January 2019. HP agreed to pay class members some $1.5 million, and also agreed to stop preventing the use of third-party ink cartridges.

According to this class-action lawsuit, Dynamic Security caused HP printers to display a fake error messages when non-HP printer ink cartridges were used, causing consumers to think that the ink cartridges were faulty.

More recently, HP announced that it will introduce printers that can use third-party ink cartridges – as well as lower-priced printers that can only use HP ink cartridges. It expects to begin rolling out the models next year.

New Lawsuit

John Parziale of Florida  and other HP customers filed the lawsuit on August 27, 2019 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, where HP’s headquarters are located.

The lawsuit seeks to stop HP’s practice of modifying customers’ printers by “by forcing unauthorized changes to their firmware and to obtain redress for all Purchasers Nationwide (‘Class Members’) who, within the applicable statute of limitations period, had their HP Printers modified to stop recognizing and accepting third party ink cartridges.”

Parziale stated that in September 2017 he purchased an HP Officejet Pro 7740 printer and later in June 2018, he purchased a second HP Officejet Pro 7740 printer.

The complaint states that “on or around April 12, 2019, thousands of HP Printer owners in the United States and other countries started experiencing problems and crashes with their HP Printers, since said printers stopped recognizing and accepting third party ink cartridges (i.e. ink cartridges which had not been manufactured by HP, Inc. but were compatible with the HP Printers before April 12, 2019.”

“In an effort to dominate the ink cartridge marketplace, HP designed, developed, wrote and distributed a firmware update for HP Printers, including HP Printers owned by Plaintiff and other members of the class. HP forced firmware modifications to the HP Printers which were specifically designed and programmed to reject, starting on April 12, 2019, all third party ink cartridges, including any said third party ink cartridge which had already been purchased and installed by Class Members and which were already properly working in their HP Printers”

The printers covered by the class action complaint are the: HP Officejet Pro 7720 / 7730 / 7740 / 8210 / 8216 / 8218 / 8700 / 8702 / 8710 / 8714 / 8715 / 8716 / 8717 / 8718 / 8719 / 8720 / 8724 / 8725 / 8726 / 8727 / 8728 / 8730 / 8732M / 8734 / 8735 / 8736 / 8740 / 8743 / 8744 / 8745 / 8746 / 8747 All-in-One Printers.

Parziale is seeking punitive damages and legal fees.

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