BOSTON Dec 17 A U.S. man sued office-products
retailer Staples Inc (SPLS.O) and printer manufacturer
Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) in federal court on Monday, charging
they broke antitrust laws in collaborating on the sale of
replacement ink-jet printer cartridges.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, Ranjit
Bedi charged that the two companies had reached "an illegal
agreement between competitors to stop competing" when HP paid
Staples, the biggest U.S. specialty retailer of office
supplies, "market development funds" to stop selling
non-HP-branded ink-jet printer cartridges for HP printers.
The suit contends that HP, the world's largest personal
computer maker, paid Staples more than $100 million to stop
selling lower-priced printer cartridges for HP printers. The
suit does not make clear how Bedi, of Pacific Palisades,
California, determined the $100 million number.
The suit, which seeks class-action status, claims that the
actions violated the Sherman Act and Clayton Act, which
prohibit noncompetitive behavior. It seeks unspecified money
damages and asks the court to stop HP and Staples from engaging
in noncompetitive acts.
Spokesmen for Framingham, Massachusetts-based Staples and
Palo Alto, California-based HP both said their companies had
not yet seen the suit and declined further comment.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)