Happy New Year! To kick off the year, we are tooting our own horn a bit and wishing ourselves a happy birthday. The Actionable Intelligence website was officially launched in January 2011. It seems hard to believe Actionable Intelligence has now been providing readers with printer and supplies industry news and analysis for three years.
Since our initial rollout, we have gone through a couple of major redesigns and revealed our latest site improvements in December. We are thrilled to offer you an improved site featuring a clean, new look that is optimized for mobile devices. The new site also loads faster, offers better support for a variety of multimedia, and provides sponsorship opportunities. While our website’s look may have changed over the years, our mission hasn’t. We aim to be the leading source for news, analysis, and research on the digital printer and MFP industry and the original and third-party consumables business. Moreover, we are continuing to invest in our site to deliver on that goal.
But enough with the horn tooting. In the spirit of New Year’s top 10 lists, we thought it might be interesting to share our top 10 stories of 2013 in terms of view counts. These were the stories that generated the most reader interest over the past year, making them worth another look or a first look in case you may have missed them.
Actionable Intelligence’s Top 10 Stories of 2013
- U.S. ITC to Restrict Imports of Infringing Canon Gears; Alerts U.S. Customs of GEO: There is no surprise why this was out top story, or why interest in the Canon U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) investigation also drove the popularity of our fifth- and sixth-most popular articles. Although the ITC’s decision had been widely anticipated for months, the commission’s decision in June to issue a general exclusion order (GEO) barring the importation of gear, drums, and toner cartridges that infringe a pair of Canon patents was huge new for the industry. While big news, the impact of the GEO has been lessened by the ingenuity of the third-supplies industry, which was quick to develop non-infringing solutions and work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure their products could be imported.
- HP Sues LD Products over New-Build Remans: Although this suit has since been resolved, HP’s lawsuit against online supplies reseller LD Products signaled that the OEM might be getting more serious about newly built cartridges sold as remanufactured products.
- Lexmark Wants Bigger Fish and Lots of Them: Cartridge World and Cardinal Cartridge Subpoenaed: Our third-, fourth-, and seventh-most popular stories of 2013 are all about Lexmark’s ongoing patent-infringement suit against numerous toner cartridge remanufacturers, resellers, and empties brokers in the Southern District of Ohio. This post looked at the OEM’s move to subpoena Cartridge World and Cardinal Cartridge as part of its efforts to identify more infringers.
- Potential Number of John Doe Defendants in Lexmark’s Ohio Infringement Suit Revealed: More Lexmark drama. In 2013, Lexmark filed not one but two amended complaints in the Southern District of Ohio matter, each naming additional defendants. This article discussed Lexmark’s request to have until May 2013 to name up to 51 additional defendants.
- Canon Clears First Hurdle: ITC Judge Recommends General Exclusion Order: Although the Canon GEO was not issued until the end of June, this story, published in March, discussed the ITC administrative law judge’s initial determination recommending that the commission issue such an order.
- Canon Takes Another Giant Step toward Victory: This story is also related to the eventual issuance of the Canon GEO by the ITC. The post covers the news that the commission elected not to review the judge’s initial determination.
- Lexmark Files Amended Complaint Naming John Does in Ohio Lawsuit: At the end of April, Lexmark filed its first amended complaint naming 31 companies. The OEM filed its second amended complaint naming some additional parties this November. Is the OEM done identifying infringers? We wouldn’t bet on it! We expect this story to continue to generate headlines in 2014.
- Seismic Shift Underway: Supreme Court Case Likely to Significantly Change Supplies Industry: In this article, Tom Ashley, CTO for InkCycle, discussed how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley pertaining to copyright law might impact patent law in the United States by making it legal to import empties from outside the United States and use them in remanufactured cartridges without concern for patent infringement. While that has not happened yet, it is likely we will see district courts weighing in on this issue in the near future. For example, whether the Kirtsaeng decision overturns Jazz Photo and the so-called first-sale doctrine is a key issue in Lexmark suit in the Southern District of Ohio.
- Canon Is Making Sure Injunctions Are Enforced, Gets Contempt Order: This story in not about the OEM’s 2012 litigation which resulted in a GEO but about the 2010 litigation that preceded it. The 2010 litigation was related to the same pair of Canon patents and the OEM named various Ninestar entities and resellers as defendants. In April of this year, Canon brought a contempt claim against one of those defendants that agreed to a permanent injunctions back in 2011.
- HP Turns to Subscription Business Model for Supplies with HP Instant Ink. In September of this year, HP announced its Instant Ink program, a subscription program that is interesting for the cost savings it provides, the shift it represents from transactional to a subscription model for supplies, and the potential impact on the aftermarket.
One thing that immediately stands out about our top 10 list is that nine of the stories are about industry lawsuits. That marks a big change from when I looked at our top 10 stories of 2011. That was a year when stories about natural disasters, product shortages, layoffs, and sneaky OEM firmware updates proved most popular.
I don’t think the growing popularity of our legal coverage is a result of lawsuits being more prevalent now than a couple of years back. In fact, 2013 was the first year in a while in which we saw no new ITC investigations brought by printer OEMs against aftermarket supplies companies. Instead, I think the popularity of our legal stories is a result of two things: First, it seems there is a growing realization that OEM lawsuits are one of the key forces shaping the industry today. Second, Actionable Intelligence has become known as the only source for detailed coverage of these ongoing suits, so our subscriber base tends to be very interested in legal news.
As you look forward to 2014, you can count on us for legal news, to be sure, but also news about mergers and acquisitions, OEM financial performance, new hardware and supplies product launches, and much more. And, as always, if you have an idea for an interesting story, you can always contact me on or off the record at firstname.lastname@example.org.