Xerox has enlisted help from U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to intercept shipments of solid ink sticks that infringe on Xerox patents. Distributed by Hana Corp. of South Korea, the ink sticks, used for printing, in lieu of fluid ink or toner powder, violate the International Trade Commission exclusion order (337TA, 549E), banning their importation. By law, agents can seize shipments as they cross the U.S. border.
“Products that infringe on patents literally steal jobs and taxes from the United States and rob revenue from manufacturing companies,” said Allen Westerfield, president of the Imaging Supplies Coalition. “Our research shows these bogus products can cause performance problems and even pose health and safety issues to the consumer.” The Imaging Supplies Coalition is a non-profit trade association of original equipment manufacturers, including Xerox, that have joined together to protect their customers by combating illegal activities in the imaging supplies industry.
Solid ink printing is a unique Xerox technology. Instead of toner cartridges, Xerox’s ColorQube brand printing and multifunction devices use patented ink sticks that are solid at room temperature. They are loaded into a feed mechanism, melted inside the printer, and jetted in liquefied form by specialized print heads. Xerox holds hundreds of patents covering solid ink jet technology worldwide.
“These non-Xerox inks and toners do not approach the quality and performance of genuine Xerox ink, and some products contain more heavy metal than allowed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines,” said Kurt Schmelz, president, Xerox North American Reseller Sales (NARS). “Xerox has long fought to protect its brand and warn customers that damage caused by third party inks and toners is not covered by any Xerox warranty.”
“Protecting our patent portfolio is critical to the future business success of our company,” said Don Liu, Xerox corporate senior vice president and general counsel. “Our security and consumables teams are working with customs and investigative agencies to track the flow of non-Xerox solid ink throughout the United States.”