Laser Printer Trademark Case Heads to High Court

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it will spill some ink on the trademark battle against Lexmark, a major producer of laser printers and toner cartridges.
     Lexmark had developed a certain microchip for its laser printers and toner cartridges so that its printers would reject unaffiliated toner cartridges.
     It sued Static Control Components in 2002 when the latter company sold replicate microchips to Lexmark’s competitors.
     So-called remanufacturers do business by acquiring Lexmark toner cartridges, refilling them and selling them to owners of Lexmark printers at a lower cost.
     By 2004, a federal judge in Lexington, Ky., consolidated Lexmark’s suit with a declaratory judgment action that Static Control had filed.
     On the way to trial, a federal judge barred Static Control from asserting counterclaims under federal and state antitrust and false-advertising laws.
     The company nevertheless prevailed at trial with a jury finding that Static Control did not induce patent infringement. The jury also advised that Lexmark had misused its patents.
     On appeal by both parties, the 6th Circuit concluded that Static Control should have been allowed to pursue its claims for violation of the Lanham Act and various state laws. The August 2012 ruling said Static Control’s antitrust claims were properly dismissed.
     Lexmark petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari, and the justices granted such relief in an order Monday.

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