Monday, November 30, 2015

Memjet vs. HP vs. Memjet - you read that correctly - HP responds to Memjet's complaint with denials of patent infringement and counter-claims against Memjet

(Note:  Blog Publisher's comments are down below).

On August 11, 2015, Memjet (various Memjet entities) filed a patent infringement lawsuit against HP.  Basically, Memjet alleges that HP’s PageWide technology infringes on patents owned by Memjet.

This is what Memjet said when it originally announced its action against HP:  Memjet has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard Company in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. The lawsuit alleges infringement of eight Memjet patents related to its page-wide "waterfall" printing technology.

On November 19, 2015, Memjet issued this press release about an injunction against HP granted by a court in Germany:

Memjet Technology Granted Injunction Against HP Inc. German Subsidiary.

The Injunction Goes Into Effect Immediately Halting the Sale of the HP PageWide XL Series' 841 Printheads by HP Deutschland GmbH.

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 19, 2015) - Memjet announced today that a German Court (District Court Munich I) has granted Memjet Technology Limited a preliminary injunction against HP Deutschland GmbH, a German subsidiary of HP Inc. The injunction is in effect throughout the German market and bars HP Deutschland GmbH from offering for sale, distributing and importing for those purposes the current ink distribution assembly of the HP 841 printheads which are utilized in HP's wide format printers using the HP PageWide technology. As a result, the HP PageWide XL Series with this assembly cannot be marketed anymore by HP Deutschland GmbH.

The District Court found a prima facie case of infringement of the German part of Memjet's EP 1292451 patent. The injunction was granted ex parte due to urgency as HP is beginning to enter the German market with these infringing devices. The injunction is subject to appeal.

On November 20, 2015, HP filed this document with the United States District Court for the Southern District of California: HP INC.’S FIRST AMENDED ANSWER TO COMPLAINT FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT, COUNTERCLAIMS, AND THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT.”
In the above referenced document, HP (a) denies that it has infringed on any of Memjet’s patents, and (b) counter-claims that Memjet has infringed on HP’s patents.  In this document, HP demands a trial by jury.

On November 25, 2015, Memjet filed a document indicating Memjet’s request for an extension of time (requested extension date was January 18, 2016. to answer (i.e., to respond to) HP’s “Amended Answer and Counterclaims” filing.  (It is my understanding that this extension-of-time request was automatically approved.)

Blog Publisher’s Comments:

Well, this case, Memjet vs. HP vs. Memjet) is going to be quite an expensive pissing match; no telling how long it will take for this case to get to its final conclusion (be that by out-of-court settlement or by jury trial.)

While I did not read the original complaint that Memjet filed against HP, I would imagine that Memjet asked the US District Court for an injunction against HP, similar to what Memjet asked the court in Germany to do.  But, based on my screening of the documents filed in the U.S. case, so far, I could not find where the US District Court has issued an injunction against HP.  While I am not certain about this, I don’t believe that an action taken by a court in Germany has any bearing on the actions that will be taken by the US District Court.

By the way, all of the documents (all of the filings in this case) are available if you’re registered with  I am registered with which is how I have access to the documents and (docket history) associated with this case.  I visited pacer today to see “what’s happening”, so that I could write up my comments for today’s blog-post about this case.

There will, of course, be guaranteed winners, those being the law firms who represent Memjet and HP.  By the time this case winds its way to conclusion, I suspect that the legal expenses incurred in this case will run into the millions.

Now, let’s get to the matters that may be of concern to the reprographics industry, particularly the reprographics industry in the U.S.

Prior to winding its way to conclusion….

(1)  will the existence of this case persuade reprographers not to buy HP PageWide XL systems?
(2)  will the existence of this case persuade A/E and GC firms (and other types of prospective wide-format systems customers) not to buy HP PageWide XL systems?
(3)  since, by now, HP has filed a counter-claim of patent infringement by Memjet, will reprographers (and prospective customers), will the existence of this case persuade them not to buy Memjet systems?
(4)  what happens if one buys HP PageWide XL systems now, only to later learn that HP can no longer sell its systems ….or consumables that feed its systems?
(5)  what effect will the existence of this case have on the business plans of HP PageWide XL dealers, dealers who have, by now, already invested thousands of dollars (and considerable time and effort) to get their HP PageWide XL dealerships off the ground?
(6)  and, since HP has, by now, filed a counterclaim against Memjet, I guess the same question could be asked about distributors and dealers who offer Memjet systems.

Has this lawsuit created a “deep-freeze” situation, one where reprographers and customers alike will avoid both HP PageWide XL systems and Memjet wide-format systems until this case is resolved?

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