RealTime IT News

Supreme Court Rejects Lexmark Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a bid from Lexmark International to hear its case against a printer chip maker it claims violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The printer vendor asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, that allowed Static Control Components (SCC) to sell microchips to be used in old Lexmark toner cartridges.

Lexmark said an error in calculating the filing deadline by its law firm, leading to a late petition, was the reason the court rejected the hearing.

The company unsuccessfully tried to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to stop competitors from making cheaper and inexpensive be-built toner cartridges that are compatible in its printers.

SCC claimed the Lexington, Ky.-based Lexmark improperly cited the DMCA in the suit. SCC now offers the only Lexmark compatible chips cleared by the courts under the DMCA, according to the company.

"For nearly 900 days we have fought tooth and nail with this multibillion dollar company," Ed Swartz, chief operating officer of SCC, said in a statement.

In 2003, the U.S. Copyright Office ruled in favor of Static Control Components (SCC) against rival Lexmark International. This week's decision effectively ends that argument. But other court cases still loom for the firm.

However, SCC General Counsel William London said the high court's decision would have significant impact on the industry.

"This decision should greatly simplify what is left of the Lexmark lawsuit," he said. "At the trial Lexmark will be forced to defend their anti-competitive activates without the distraction of Lexmark's baseless DMCA claims."

Julane Hamon, a spokeswoman for Lexmark, said in a statement that the Supreme Court's decision does not exhaust all the company's legal options.

"The case itself continues at the District Court level," she said. "We will continue to ask the courts to enforce existing laws governing contracts and intellectual property so that our laser cartridge customers can get the benefit of full and fair competition."