China's Ninestar Loses Patent Appeal In Washington

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., has just affirmed a decision made by the U.S. International Trade Commission in which China-based Ninestar Technologies was found guilty of infringing Epson's printer cartridge patents.

The unsuccessful appeal was filed by Ninestar Technologies, Ninestar's U.S. subsidiaries and Dataproducts USA LLC after the original case was brought to the ITC in 2007. Epson says it will vigorously proceed with enforcement of its patents now that the validity and enforceability of its patents have again been ratified by ITC.

A second ITC trial ended on January 16, 2009, to determine any financial penalties that may be assessed against Ninestar and other companies for alleged violations of the original ITC decision. The ITC has not yet determined any violations, but has the authority to assess substantial penalties up to USD100,000 per day of violations or twice the commercial value of infringing imports.

Ninestar has had patent violation problems before. In March 2007, HP resolved its own cartridge patent violation issues with Ninestar. As part of that settlement, Ninestar acknowledged the validity of HP's patents and agreed to stop selling the cartridges in question in the United States and certain other countries where such patents were held. In July 2006, HP notified Ninestar of patent infringements of its replacement "clone" cartridges that are compatible with several HP printers. HP filed complaints with both the U.S. District Court and the International Trade Commission.

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