HP Printers Are Doing the DRM Thing Again

HP Printers is facing backlash for blocking third-party ink cartridges

Photo: David McNew (Getty Images)

HP Users who reported that their devices were not working properly are receiving backlash Cartridges for non-brand ink After recent firmware updates, the device stopped working.

The company support center has justified its updates, saying it implements “dynamic security measures” to ensure that the printer can actively connect to the security chips or electronic circuitry used in the ink cartridges.

According to the company, including these security measures helps to “maintain the integrity of [its] Protective printing systems [its] intellectual property.” But customers feel tricked as affordable ink cartridges that were perfectly good on one day, become useless the next. HP has been involved at many times class-action lawsuits Australia, Italy, and the U.S. over its questionable sales tactics. The U.S. Lawsuit was filed in 2020 and claimed the firmware update was used to “block customers from using third-party ink and toner cartridges and force them to buy more expensive HP-branded supplies.” Despite paying millions of dollars in settlements, the profits from this strategy appear to outweigh the penalties.

HP Printers claim that HP printers work with original HP ink or toner cartridges. The company added that it is standard protocol in the printing business to “authenticate cartridges.” HP continued, “HP uses Dynamic Security measures to protect the quality of our customer experience, maintain the integrity of our printing systems, and protect our intellectual property.”

The 2020 lawsuit claimed that the firmware update was malware and prevented third-party cartridges using the printer. Customers argued they weren’t warned about the update and were unaware that it would eliminate the option of buying less expensive cartridges for the HP printer.

“HP deliberately provided false representations and omissions to prevent customers from learning the intentional and unlawful design of HP’s firmware updates and authentication procedures and further inducing its customers to purchase new supply cartridges from HP,” the lawsuit says.

Despite lawsuits and complaints, HP continues to release firmware updates that offer no options for users other than HP-branded ink. This has sparked outrage among customers who believed the disruption was over. One HP user filed a complaint via Reddit On Tuesday, I shared a screenshot from an HP notice that appeared when trying to change the cartridge. It said it was blocked by the Printer firmware because it doesn’t contain an HP chip.

The customer wrote, “HP has updated their printers to outright ban ‘non-HP’ ink! They no longer show the ‘can’t guarantee quality’ message, but instead cancels your print completely until you [insert] A HP ink cartridge. After contacting HP, they advised ‘this is due to the recent ‘update’ of all printers.’” The post attracted hundreds of comments as others piled in with their own stories and theories for getting around the cartridge ban.

HP’s customer support page does warn users that non-HP cartridges will not work unless it is validated by the company and “has an original HP security chip or unmodified HP electronic circuitry.” It’s just become increasingly unclear which cartridges are compatible with what models.

HP recommends that you check with the supplier before purchasing any non-HP brand cartridges. This will ensure that they are compatible with your printer. Or, ya know, you could just buy a printer that doesn’t require a bunch of additional time and money to handle the basic function of printing.

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