Epson continues enforcement of its Ink Cartridge Patents

A second ITC trial was conducted on Jan.14-16, 2009 in Washington D.C. to determine any financial penalties that may be assessed against some Companys and their affiliates for alleged violations of the General Exclusion Order. The ITC has not yet determined any violations, but has the authority to assess substantial penalties up to $100,000 per day of violations or twice the commercial value of infringing imports.

In addition to the ITC actions, Epson filed U.S. District Court lawsuits in Portland, Ore., for patent infringement damages against the same 24 companies named in the ITC action and numerous additional distributors and retailers alleged to have continued infringements after the ITC Final Determination. The District Court cases were stayed pending the ITC Determination and Appeal, but will now proceed against those defendants that have not settled. Recently, Epson settled two of these lawsuits filed against some major internet retailers.

Epson maintains a Web site that provides U.S. importers, distributors and retailers with timely information about the ITC action and related U.S. District Court lawsuits. The U.S. Court of Appeals Judgment, ITC Exclusion Orders, ITC Seizure and Forfeiture Orders, ITC Enforcement Complaints, and U.S. District Court complaints referenced in this press release are all posted on the Web site with other useful information including a summary of the legal requirements for refilled cartridges.

These ITC actions and U.S. District Court lawsuits were all brought by Epson Portland Inc., Epson America Inc. and Seiko Epson Corp. as part of Epson’s worldwide efforts to protect Epson’s intellectual property rights and its substantial investments in R & D to produce high quality, innovative printers and ink cartridges. Although most U.S. importers and distributors have now undertaken commendable efforts to avoid infringing Epson’s cartridge patents, Epson will continue taking the necessary actions to protect the company and legitimate competitors from ongoing infringements and unfair competition.