Jury finds manufacturer guilty of uncompetitive behaviour and exploiting customers

Lexmark loses US ink case

Lexmark has lost its US case against third-party ink cartridge manufacturer Static Control Components after a jury ruled that its actions were both anti-competitive and exploitive of its customers.

The ruling focuses on the chip which is present in Lexmark’s printer cartridges which the jury found to prevent customers from being able to refill cartridges themselves as once it runs out of its prescribed amount of ink. The chip essentially kills the cartridge until it is ‘recycled’ by the manufacturer – who has the ability to reset the chip.

Static Control Components manufacturers a chip that replicates this handshake and allowing customers to purchase cheaper third-party ink, instead of Lexmark’s own first party cartridges.

Earlier this year Lexmark attempted to seek an injunction which would have prevented SSC from being able to continue producing cheaper third-party ink for its chip enabled printers however, a Kentucky judge threw it out after it case was deemed uncompetitive.

The jury decision follows a counter claim that was lodged by the SSC after it complained that Lexmark was acting in a capacity to force it out of business and sought damages of $100 million.

It is currently unclear if this case will set a precedent or have any effect in the UK.

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