A little less than a year ago, TonerHead, Inc., owner of Ink-O-Dem, a subsidiary that manufactures a popular retail inkjet cartridge refilling system, filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against many of its major competitors in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. The lawsuit names as defendants InkTec Zone America Corporation, Phoenix Ink Corporation, and Retail Inkjet Solutions (RIS), as well as retailers that carry these firms’ equipment, including Costco Wholesale Corporation, which carries RIS equipment, Jewel Food Stores or Jewel-Osco, which rolled out Phoenix Ink equipment in 35 stores in 2009 (see article), and OfficeMax, which carries Phoenix Ink equipment. In response to the lawsuit, all the plaintiffs have filed counterclaims, looking to invalidate TonerHead’s patents. Moreover, RIS has filed its own patent-infringement lawsuit against TonerHead in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. InkTec recently announced that it is exiting the inkjet refilling equipment business, and while it is impossible to say for sure what the company’s motivations are for this strategic business decision, we suspect that TonerHead’s lawsuit may have been a contributing factor.
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Tags: Cartridge World, Costco, Ink-O-Dem, InkTec, InkTec Zone America, OfficeMax, Phoenix Ink, retail inkjet refilling, Retail Inkjet Solutions (RIS), Retail Inkjet Solutions v. TonerHead (2010), TonerHead v. InkTec Zone America et al. (2010)