Ninestar and Fuji Electric Seek to Be Exempted from Canon Exclusion Order

Ninestar/Seine and Fuji Electric post objection to the general exclusion order (GEO) that might be granted to Canon by International Trade Commission (ITC). The GEO concerns the gears used in most HP and Canon all-in-one toner cartridges, which Canon holds two patents, ‘803 and ‘454 patents.

Being a well-known drum manufacturer, Fuji Electric is not a party in Canon’s ITC and district court complaints. In submitting its comments on remedy, the firm’s chief concern is protecting its gear and drum business and ensuring that its products are not excluded from the United States under a GEO. It maintains that an overly broad GEO would significantly harm the public interest. If non-infringing products are improperly excluded, consumer choice is reduced and consumers will pay higher prices for toner cartridges.

Fuji Electric wants the GEO written so that only the gears, drums, and toner cartridges in specific types are excluded. Products using a different non-infringing gear design could then be imported and avoid the harsh effects of a broad GEO.

Ninestar wants to ensure that its products are not affected by the GEO. It notes that the ITC has limited GEOs with exemptions in the past by listing that the GEO does not apply to products imported and manufactured abroad by various entities, and the firm believes its products should be exempted in this way.

The Ninestar companies were respondents in a previous ITC complaint in which Canon alleged infringement of the same ‘803 and ‘454 patents. Canon and Ninestar settled and agreed to a consent order/permanent injunction. Ninestar has since developed a workaround gear design that it claims does not infringe.

Aftermarket supplies industry companies like Fuji Electric and Ninestar have been keenly following the Canon ITC investigation. They are obviously concerned that a GEO could prove hugely problematic for their businesses.

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