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Lexmark wins first round in toner cartridge lawsuit

Printer manufacturer Lexmark International has won a temporary court order in the US requiring Static Control Components (SCC) to stop making and selling a microchip used in remanufactured laser printer toner cartridges.

SCC's Imaging Division supplies components to companies that remanufacture laser printer toner cartridges by refilling, refurbishing and repackaging them.

Lexmark alleged SCC's Smartek chips infringed on its copyright software, and are being sold by SCC to defeat Lexmark's technological controls, and allowing unauthorised remanufacturing of Lexmark Prebate toner cartridges.

SCC introduced the Smartek chip in September, touting it as a way to ensure that remanufactured cartridges would work with the latest Lexmark laser printers.

The European parliament last month ratified a directive aimed at stopping printer manufacturers from building microchips and other features into their cartridges that prevent them from being recycled.

Lexmark said its legal action in the US did not cut across European legislators' wishes. It offers toner cartridges that can be remanufactured by anyone, without any requirement that a third-party microchip be used on the remanufactured toner cartridge.

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