Court reverses Lexmark/Static decision


27 October 2004 – Lexington (KY): In the latest episode of the Lexmark v Static saga, a US federal appeals court has reversed a previous court order to bar Static Control from selling computer chips.

The Sixth Circuit US Court of Appeals in Lexington, Kentucky, issued a rebuke of Lexmark’s monopolistic misuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which reversed the preliminary court order made by US district fudge Karl Forrester in March.

A new round of hearings will now take place at the district court in Kentucky.

Lexmark had originally tried to sue Static Control for selling chips that enabled replacement cartridges from Lexmark’s competing vendors to be used in Lexmark printers. It claimed the computer chip maker was violating copyright law as well as the DMCA.

Static Control then decided to sue Lexmark, accusing the company of monopolising the toner cartridge market and falsely representing its products.

Appeals judge Geffrey Sutton wrote: "Because Lexmark failed to establish a likelihood of success on any of its claims, whether under the general copyright statute or under the DMCA, we vacate the district court’s preliminary injunction and remand the case for further proceedings."

CEO of Static Control Ed Swartz claimed the decision was a victory for his company, the industry and the public: "This is a landmark precedent-setting case and the courts have spoken – companies cannot abuse copyright laws to create electronic monopolies and take advantage of citizens."

A spokesperson for Lexmark Julane Hamon said in an official company statement: "Lexmark is currently studying the opinion…Lexmark will continue to vigorously protect its intellectual property rights in this litigation and in any other instance where Lexmark believes that its intellectual property rights are violated."