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Lexmark suffers setback in DMCA case

Round three of ink cartridge scrap to SCC

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Static Control Corp. (SCC) has won an appeal that will allow it to resume the sale of replacement ink cartridges for Lexmark printers pending the resolution of a lawsuit between the two companies. The ruling by the US Courts of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, on Tuesday (26 October) overturns a February 2003 injunction and as is a significant victory for SCC. However, the case is yet to go to trial.

Lexmark filed a lawsuit claiming that SCC’s Smartek 520/620 chips violated the US's controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act laws in December 2002. In February 2003, Judge Karl Forester issued a preliminary injunction banning the sale of Smartek replacement chips by Static Control Components for the Lexmark cartridges, a ruling now lifted by the appeal court.

“We have asserted from the outset that this is a blatant misuse of the DMCA and the Sixth Circuits’ ruling solidifies and supports our position that the DMCA was not intended to create aftermarket electronic monopolies,” said Ed Swartz, chief executive of Static Control. "Not only is this a victory for our company and our industry, it is a major victory for the consuming public and American companies."

The appeal court's ruling can be found here (PDF). The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published background on the case here. ®

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