Xerox Fights to Protect Ink Patents

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Xerox is toughening its stance against counterfeiters who mess with the company’s solid ink patents. In a move to get tough on companies who infringe on its Xerox patents, particularly solid ink sticks and toners, the vendor is seeking help from U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to intercept shipments crossing the U.S. border. Xerox’s current campaign targets Hana Corp. of South Korea, a distributor that it says violates the International Trade Commission exclusion order (337TA, 549E) banning their importation.

The company’s unique solid ink printing technology, invented in 1986 and made commercially available in 1991, is today in use with more than one million solid ink machines. The solid ink sticks, used instead of toner cartridges, are solid at room temperature and later melted inside the printer and jetted in liquefied form by specialized print heads. The technology is widely used in Xerox ColorQube brand printing.

A sustainable technology, solid ink generates up to 90 percent less printing waste because there are no cartridges to dispose of and less packaging. Solid ink products also reduce the total cost of ownership, according to the company.

Xerox contends that the counterfeit products are not only inferior in quality and performance compared to legitimate Xerox products, but may also contain more heavy metal than allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, potentially posing consumer health and safety issues. Bogus products can also potentially damage cause product performance problems and infringe on jobs and taxes from the U.S. and steal revenue from manufacturing companies.

Xerox isn’t the first manufacturer to complain about fake consumables.  HP settled a patent complaint with two companies, InkPlusToner.com and Comptree Ink, for selling knock-off ink cartridges two years ago.

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