Printer manufacturer Lexmark is suing replacement cartridge makers claiming that they are infringing on its patents.
The outfit has filed a patent infringement complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The complaints accuse 24 companies that import replacement cartridges for Lexmark laser printers of violating 15 patents owned by Lexmark.
The ITC complaint asks that the defendants' products be banned from import and sale in the States. The federal lawsuit asks for an injunction on sales of the disputed products, as well as cold hard cash. Lexmark has previous form in taking out those who make cheaper cartridges for its printers. In 2003, Lexmark tried to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an attempt to block a toner refill company from making replacement cartridges. Lexmark lost the case.
The maker of expensive printer ink, HP has also had a go at protecting patents on ink formulas, filing several lawsuits over the past few years against third-party cartridge refill makers.