June 3, 2013 / 2:20 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. justices agree to hear Lexmark false advertising case

By Lawrence Hurley
    WASHINGTON, June 3 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on
Monday agreed to hear printer manufacturer Lexmark International
Inc's appeal of a long-running dispute with Static
Control Components Inc over replacement toner cartridges.
    Lexmark asked the justices to review an appeals court ruling
that said Static had standing to make false advertising claims
against it.
    Static claims that Lexmark falsely advertised by advising
customers that Static's chips infringed upon Lexmark's
intellectual property.
    The two companies have been locked in litigation for over a
decade. Lexmark, in an effort to prevent the practice of other
companies selling re-filled, already used Lexmark cartridges,
started adding microchips to its cartridges so that Lexmark
printers would not work with cartridges without the technology.
    Static was able to replicate the microchip technology and
subsequently sold chips to companies that wanted to sell
re-filled cartridges for Lexmark printers.
    Lexmark sued, alleging copyright violations. Static
responded by filing its own suit alleging antitrust and
false-advertising claims.
    The only issue left in the case is the false advertising
question after a jury found that Static had not induced
copyright infringement and the judge presiding over the case
dismissed Static's claims.
    The Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
upheld all the lower court's decisions except for its dismissal
of the false advertising claims.
    Lexmark says Static does not have standing to make its claim
because only direct competitors can make false advertising
    Oral arguments and a decision are due in the court's next
term, which starts in October and ends in June 2014.
    The case is Lexmark v. Static Control, U.S. Supreme Court,
No. 12-873.
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