HP v. MicroJet: Just one arrow in the quiver
This week Hewlett-Packard made an accusation that, if true, would prove rather startling: MicroJet and a number of Asia-based companies had been stealing HP printheads -- in at least one case actually hijacking a truck carrying them to an assembly plant in Malaysia -- and then integrating them into their own knockoff printer cartridges. It's a tale of corporate espionage and derring-do and outright violence, and thus it's a little weird that six of the nine counts HP has leveled are actually assertions that HP's patents are being violated.
So why such a seemingly mild approach to what looks like a major crime? Think of it along the lines of Al Capone's conviction for tax evasion. The government couldn't prove the ill-gotten provenance of Capone's riches, but could prove that he never paid the IRS what he owed on that income. Similarly, HP may never be able to connect the dots between MicroJet and the theft of its physical equipment -- but because technologies in that equipment had been patented, MicroJet wouldn't be able to sell it even if they had built the printer cartridges themselves. It's an interesting bit of legal jujitsu.
Picture courtesy angrykeyboarder