Canon Sues for Infringement of Toner Cartridge Patents

Canon, whose products include printers, copy machines, and cameras, filed a complaint against Ninestar Technology Company, Ltd., and related entities on Wednesday in the Central District of California for patent infringement claiming that the defendants infringed Canon’s patents-in-suit, which are related to toner cartridges for its printers.

The patents-in-suit are United States Patent Nos. 9,851,688 (the ’688 patent); 9,857,766 (the ’766 patent); 10,620,582 (the ’582 patent); 10,712,709 (the ’709 patent); and 10,712,710 (the ’710 patent), all of which are entitled “Electrophotographic Image Forming Apparatus, Developing Apparatus, and Coupling Member.”

 According to the complaint, the defendants “are engaged in the business of manufacturing, using, selling, and/or offering to sell in the United States and/or importing into the United States toner cartridges…for printers, including toner cartridges for use in certain Canon and HP color laser beam printers,” such as for Canon i-SENSYS LBP7010C and Canon i-SENSYS LBP7018C. Furthermore, Canon asserted the certification on the defendants’ packaging identifies the defendants as the source for these toner cartridges.

For example, Canon alleged that the defendants infringed at least claims 1, 4-8, 10, 13-17, 19, 21, 22, and 24-27 of the ’688 patent through their infringing toner cartridges described in the patent without permission or authorization from Canon. Specifically, the exemplary infringing product NHCE310A toner cartridge infringes claims 1, 10, 19, and 24 of the ’688 patent. Claim 1 of the ’688 patent states: “(a)n image forming apparatus cartridge comprising: a casing; developer contained in the casing; a developer roller having an axis L1, the developing roller being rotatably supported in the casing to permit rotation about the axis L1…wherein the coupling member is movable between (i) a first position in which a tip of the at least one projection is a first distance away from the developing roller as measured in the direction of the axis L1…” According to Canon, the exemplary NHCE310A toner cartridge is also an “an image forming apparatus cartridge” with a casing, a developer in the casing, and the “toner cartridge has a developing roller having an axis L1,” which is “rotatably supported in the casing to permit rotation.” Furthermore, Canon stated that the purportedly infringing cartridge has a “a first position in which a tip of the at least one projection is a first distance away from the developing roller as measured in the direction of the axis L1 (annotated as D1 in the image).” The figures in the complaint point out each of the components and features described in the complaint that the accused product allegedly infringed.   

A screenshot of an image in the plaintiff's complaint.

The patented claims and resulting allegations for the remaining patents-in-suit are similar to the allegations for the ’688 patent. The defendants are accused of directly and indirectly infringing the patents-in suit. Canon asserted that the aforementioned conduct “will cause irreparable injury and damage to Canon.”

Canon has sought declaratory judgments in its favor, an order enjoining the defendants from further infringement, an award for damages, an award for costs and fees, and other relief. Canon is represented by Venable LLP.