The US Supreme Court has rejected Lexmark’s move to stop Static Control Components from selling computer chips that allow cheaper own-brand toner cartridges to be used in Lexmark printers.
A spokesman for Lexmark said the company’s appeal to the Supreme Court was filed late and rejected. As a result, the case will return to a federal district court in the company’s home town.
Lexmark had originally tried to sue Static Control at the end of 2002 for selling chips that enabled replacement cartridges from Lexmark’s competing vendors to be used in Lexmark printers.
Static Control then decided to sue Lexmark, accusing the company of monopolising the toner cartridge market and falsely representing its products.
In a statement, Lexmark said: "We will continue to ask the courts to enforce existing laws governing contracts and intellectual property".