A lawsuit is filed over HP printer blocking third-party non-genuine ink with firmware update


Justin Baeder

A problem for people who use inkjet printers is that the price of genuine ink is too high, and many people use third-party ink to reduce costs. A lawsuit has been filed (PDF file) seeking invalidation of the firmware update and compensation for damages due to HP blocking such third-party non-genuine ink in the printer's firmware update.

HP sued (again) for blocking third-party ink from printers, accused of monopoly | Ars Technica

From the end of 2022 to the beginning of 2023, there were a number of reports that ``HP printers had their firmware updated, and a message saying ``Non-genuine ink cannot be used'' was displayed, making them unusable.''

HP printer blocks non-genuine ink due to firmware update, how to avoid it? -GIGAZINE

Below is an example of the message actually displayed on the user's screen. HP printers use a chip in the ink cartridge to identify whether it is a genuine product or a non-genuine product, and it will not work unless it is genuine ink.

HP have updated their printers to outright ban 'non-HP' ink! They no longer shows the “can't guarantee quality” message, but instead cancels your print completely until you inset a HP ink cartridge. After contacting HP, they advised “ this is due to the recent 'update' of all printers”
by u/grhhull in assholedesign

The system that allows HP printers to detect non-genuine ink cartridges is called Dynamic Security , and HP says it protects the quality of the customer experience, maintains the integrity of printing systems, and protects intellectual property. 'We are hiring them to do that.' However, since genuine ink cartridges are significantly more expensive than non-genuine products, users have complained.

Then, on January 5, 2023, a lawsuit was filed by 11 plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleging that ``Dynamic Security allows HP to corral users and advance its 'monopoly' of replacement ink cartridges.'' Submitted to. The lawsuit demands that firmware updates that prevent the use of non-HP brand inks be disabled, as well as $5 million (about 730 million yen) in damages and a trial by jury.

The plaintiffs claim that HP erred in distributing a firmware update that affected printer functionality and failed to notify users that ``accepting the update could impair printer functionality.'' “It is not practical or reasonable to purchase a new printer to avoid purchasing HP replacement ink cartridges. Therefore, once a consumer purchases a printer, Dynamic Security firmware updates allow them to use HP ink cartridges. They are forced to buy.”

HP is developing an ink cartridge subscription plan called ' Instant Ink, ' and is building a model to generate recurring revenue from printer buyers. The lawsuit also points out that the price of ink increased from late 2022 to early 2023, the same time HP rolled out Dynamic Security. In fact, when Ars Technica, a technology media, investigated using the price research tool Camelcamelcamel, it was found that the prices of some HP inks were indeed rising from the latter half of 2022 to the first half of 2023.

Plaintiffs' attorney Peggy Wedgeworth told Ars Technica: 'HP has effectively monopolized the aftermarket for replacement ink cartridges, in violation of federal and state antitrust laws. Owners were forced to purchase only genuine branded ink at high prices and lose the benefits of non-genuine replacement ink cartridges.'

Although printing needs are decreasing as society becomes increasingly digital, ink cartridges remain an important business for HP. HP reported in its fiscal year 2023 financial report that the printing business accounted for 32% of total sales and 57% of non-GAAP operating income of $1.5 billion (approximately 220 billion yen). HP has identified Instant Ink as a key growth area, along with other consumer subscription services.

Meanwhile, HP's system of forcing printers to use genuine ink cartridges through firmware updates has been the subject of frequent lawsuits since Dynamic Security was introduced in 2016. For example, in 2019, a lawsuit over Dynamic Security was settled for $1.5 million (approximately 160 million yen at the time), and in 2022, a lawsuit filed by a European consumer organization was settled . We agreed to pay a settlement of $1.35 million (approximately 210 million yen at the exchange rate at the time).

HP is also facing a lawsuit that says, ``It is unfair not to clearly inform users that when HP multifunction devices run low on ink, they will no longer be able to scan or fax documents that do not use ink.''

HP faces a lawsuit alleging that ``it is unfair that scanning and faxing functions become unusable when the printer runs out of ink'' - GIGAZINE

in Software,   Hardware, Posted by log1h_ik