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April 4 2007 – Seiko Epson Corp. announced today that a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) judge ruled in favor of the printer and ink cartridge manufacturer after Epson filed complaints against international suppliers that infringe on their ink cartridge patents. Judge Paul Luckern of the ITC issued a Cease and Desist Order that bars companies from importing ink cartridges that violate Epson’s patents on the technology. In Feb. 2006, Epson filed a complaint with the ITC against 24 suppliers in U.S., Korea, Germany, and China that sell and import ink cartridges that are compatible with Epson printers. Of those suppliers, seven companies have settled out of court, according to a Reuters news report today. In January 2007, Judge Luckern declared at an initial trial that over 750 ink cartridge models violated 11 Epson patents for desktop inkjet printer cartridges. "These lawsuits were filed as part of the Epson’s worldwide efforts to protect the company from unfair competition," stated a company press release today. "We urge manufacturers, distributors and retailers of ink cartridges to recognize this further validation of Epson’s patent right and act accordingly." As the second largest inkjet printer in the world, after HP, according to Reuters, Epson’s American division has manufactured 35 million cartridges for worldwide distribution. The ITC will make a final ruling on July 30. "Resellers should be mindful that, in addition to the import restrictions that can be ordered by the ITC, patent infringements can result in very substantial compensatory damages in District Court actions," stated the release. "We will continue taking whatever action is necessary to protect Epson’s invaluable intellectual property rights."
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