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Antitrust lawsuit for Lexmark as toner war hots up

The US company that says it is fighting for the survival of the low-cost, remanufactured printer cartridge market has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Lexmark International, charging it with attempting to monopolise the market.

The new lawsuit, filed by Static Control Components (SCC) comes after Lexmark filed a claim against Static last December for alleged illegal copying of its printer computer technology - the computer chips that have become an integral part of toner cartridges.

Last week, a US district court issued a preliminary injunction favouring Lexmark that barred SCC from making chips used in replacement cartridges for two of its laser printers.

"Naturally, we're disappointed in that order," said William London, general counsel for SCC. But London added that Judge Karl Forester's ruling also provided guidance on what it could and could not do in producing compatible cartridges. "We anticipate that we will be able to come up with a chip in a very short period of time that doesn't go against the judge's ruling."

The antitrust case filed by SCC alleges that Lexmark's anticompetitive practices are squeezing out companies that remanufacture toner cartridges. In its lawsuit, it argues that approximately 35% of Hewlett-Packard toner cartridges are remanufactured, compared with about 14% for Lexmark.

Static blames that disparity on Lexmark's anticompetitive practices.


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