Printer owners say we never agreed to buy only HP ink • The Register


Printer owners claimed this week in a class-action lawsuit against the hardware giant that HP was “trying to exploit customers’ sunk costs.”

Victim’s lawyer responds [PDF] Hewlett-Packard’s earlier motion to dismiss the January lawsuit is being heard in Illinois court. Among other things, the plaintiff’s filing states that printer buyers “never entered into any contractual agreement to purchase only HP-branded ink prior to receiving the firmware update.” They accuse HP of violating several anti-competitive regulations, claiming:

In the case that began in January, the plaintiffs argued that HP released firmware updates between late 2022 and early 2023 that, they claimed, would have disabled their printers if non-HP-branded replacement ink cartridges were installed. They are seeking damages, including payment for the currently useless third-party ink cartridges, and an injunction to disable the portion of the firmware update that prevents the use of third-party ink.

In a March document [PDF], HP said it “goes to great lengths” to let customers know that its printers can only use ink cartridges with HP’s “security chip.” While the plaintiff said it used the software update to prevent consumers from using cheaper rival ink cartridges in HP printers, the hardware giant described it as a “dynamic security” measure “to prevent the use of copied HP security chips.” of third-party printer ink cartridges (i.e. clones)”. or fake cartridges).

“HP does not prevent the reuse of ink cartridges with HP Security Chips, and there are many such options available for sale. HP also does not hide its use of dynamic security,” the company said.

It added that printer owners cannot seek damages for overcharging under federal antitrust laws because consumers who buy products from middlemen can sue manufacturers for injunctive relief under those laws, but they cannot sue manufacturers for injunctive relief. Recover losses caused by overcharging.

HP customer claims firmware update bans third-party ink

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“None of the named plaintiffs allege that they purchased printer ink directly from HP after receiving the Dynamic Security Firmware Update,” HP said.

It also said Robinson and co. When the software tweak was completed, there was no “reasonable allegation” that HP “acted without authorization” or “exceeded authorized access.”

HP CEO Enrique Lores has made no secret of the fact that he wants to draw customers into a print subscription business model.

Lores said in an interview earlier this year that if “customers don’t print enough or don’t use our supplies, then it’s a bad investment.” To be fair, however, when it comes to ink cartridges, HP isn’t The only company charging high prices, with some estimating printer ink prices at $439 to $2,380 per liter. Some printer manufacturers are losing money on retail equipment.

We’ve asked HP for comment. The case continues. ®



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