Lexmark Uses DMCA Argument In Toner Lawsuit

Lexmark is using what might be best considered a strange argument in the lawsuit that it filed against Static Control Components. Lexmark claims Static Control violated the DMCA by selling its Smartek chips to companies that refill toner cartridges in an attempt to undercut Lexmark. Lexmark claims that the Smartek chip mimics the authentication sequence used by Lexmark chips and unlawfully tricks the printer into accepting an aftermarket cartridge.

This chip "circumvents the technological measure that controls access to the Toner Loading Program and the Printer Engine Program," claims Lexmark, which is a violation of section 1201 of the DMCA, which makes it generally unlawful to circumvent technology that restricts access to a copyrighted work.

A federal judge in Kentucky has scheduled a hearing for Thursday in the case, which Lexmark filed against Static Control Components in an effort to slam the brakes on the toner cartridge remanufacturing industry. This is an interesting interpretation of the DMCA and could put a stop to the third party toner cartridge market which is a major cash cow for companies like Lexmark.