Epson printer in store.

This isn’t the first time Epson has been sued over printer cartridges. | Grzegorz Czapski/Shutterstock

A lawsuit accuses Epson America of illegally disabling its printers via software updates when consumers use third-party printer cartridges.

The complaint was filed on Oct. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The plaintiffs are William Mondigo and Richard Famiglietti, California and Connecticut residents, respectively, who bought Epson printers but had them disabled by Epson software updates because they began using remanufactured and third-party printer cartridges.

According to the lawsuit, Epson didn’t disclose that its software and firmware updates would disable the equipment if users installed non-Epson cartridges. In contrast, Epson told users the updates would fix problems and improve printer performance, the complaint alleges.

“For many users, these software updates effectively ruined their printers,” according to the complaint. “For others, the updates forced them to purchase Epson ink cartridges, which are significantly more expensive than third-party cartridges.”

The lawsuit seeks class-action status. Long Beach, Calif.-based Epson America, which is the U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s Seiko Epson Corporation, hasn’t yet responded to the allegations in court. A company spokesperson sent the following statement to E-Scrap News regarding the lawsuit:

“Many Epson printers are designed for use with genuine Epson-brand cartridges. Other brands of ink cartridges and ink supplies are not compatible and, even if described as compatible, may not function properly or at all. Epson clearly provides information about ink usage and compatibility for its printers on retail boxes, on materials included with the printer, and on its website,” according to the statement. “Many of these third party ink cartridges also infringe Epson’s intellectual property and are prohibited from sale in the United States. Epson invests in enforcement against these infringing sellers in an effort to protect its intellectual property and to protect consumers who are enticed by the low price, but unaware of the intellectual property and possible performance issues.”

This isn’t the first time these issues have landed in court. The Recycler reported a New York man filed a class-action lawsuit against Epson in December 2018 alleging a firmware update blocked the use of third-party cartridges. HP has also been sued over firmware that blocks the use of third-party cartridges.

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