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Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc.
Citation:137 S. Ct. 1523 (2017)
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- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
The plaintiff, Lexmark, designs, manufactures, and sells reusable toner cartridges in the United States. Lexmark holds a number of patents that cover the components of those cartridges. When Lexmark’s toner cartridges run out of toner they can be refilled and used again. Creating an opportunity for other companies, known as remanufacturers, to acquire empty Lexmark cartridges from purchasers in the United States and abroad, refill them with toner, and resell them at a lower price than the new ones Lexmark puts on the shelves. In an effort to mitigate this issue, Lexmark offers customers two purchase options: (1) Customers may purchase the toner cartridges at full price, with no strings attached; (2) Customers may buy the cartridge at a twenty-percent discount, but a customer who takes advantage of this offer signs a contract agreeing to use it only once and to refrain from transferring the empty cartridge to anyone but Lexmark. To enforce this Lexmark installs a microchip on each cartridge sold under the second option that prevents reuse once the toner in the cartridge runs out. Many remanufacturers continued purchasing Lexmark’s cartridges, and, eventually, developed methods to counteract the effect of the chips. With no way to enforce the second option, Lexmark opted to sue. The defendant, Impression, is one of a number of remanufacturers Lexmark sued for patent infringement both on the grounds that these manufacturers violated the reuse condition of the second offer, and on the grounds that they infringed when they imported into the United States cartridges that Lexmark had sold abroad.
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