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HP Admits Updating Its Printers With Firmware That Rejects Generic Ink Cartridges


In a move to prevent owners of HP printers from using generic or non-HP ink cartridges, HP installed firmware into its printers that will disable them unless an HP-brand cartridge is in place. This new firmware is a form of digital rights management (“DRM”), which gives companies the ability to protect any copyrighted products. Previously, HP merely installed a security chip in its cartridges and printers. Use of a generic cartridge would simply trigger a warning that the cartridge was not “HP-approved.” However, the new DRM firmware makes it impossible for HP’s customers to use third party ink cartridges.  With the firmware, if consumers want their HP printer to work, they are forced to purchase expensive HP ink cartridges.

When the news of this update broke, consumers were understandably outraged. In response, HP stated that the purpose of the firmware update was to protect HP’s intellectual property but promised to release an optional firmware update that would remove the DRM. According to a special adviser to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, when you buy a device that is designed to update automatically, you are really purchasing something with a long-term feature set that is unknowable.

Customers would not accept this with other types of products and should not be forced to accept this kind of conduct from software and tech companies. Here at Axler Goldich we believe that, if you purchase a printer or other device, you have a right to expect that it will not be rendered substantially different by automatic firmware updates over which you have no control or input.

If you suspect that you are a victim of consumer fraud, the experienced Philadelphia consumer fraud lawyers at Axler Goldich will fight to hold responsible parties accountable. We have extensive experience litigating class action lawsuits and are well versed in technological trends. To schedule a consultation, call us at 866-207-2920 or contact us online. With offices conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia, we serve clients nationwide.