HP is Blocking Generic Printer Ink....Again!
HP’s latest firmware update is reportedly preventing more customers from using third-party ink with their printers, as part of the company’s dynamic security policy. The policy was introduced in 2016 and requires HP customers to use ink or toner cartridges that contain new or reused HP chips or electronic circuitry. HP argues that the policy is necessary to protect the quality of customer experience and its intellectual property. However, the company has faced criticism and several class action lawsuits over the policy.
Recent reports on Reddit, Twitter, and the HP community forum suggest that HP is expanding the dynamic security policy to more devices that were once compatible with non-HP cartridges. Some HP printer users are reporting that their printers won’t print at all when third-party ink cartridges are installed. Instead of displaying a bypassable message that indicates HP can’t guarantee the quality of their print, the printer won’t use a third-party cartridge at all.
The message on the printer screen reads: “The indicated cartridges have been blocked by the printer firmware because they contain a non-HP chip. This printer is intended to work only with new or reused cartridges that have a new or reused HP chip.” According to an HP customer support specialist, this is part of a “recent update.”
HP reached a $1.5 million settlement with customers in the US in 2020 over a class-action lawsuit that claimed the company’s firmware acted as “malware” by diminishing the capabilities of HP printers and rendering competitors’ supply cartridges incompatible with HP printers. The company also paid out millions to customers affected by dynamic security in the European Union and Australia after barring users from installing more affordable third-party ink cartridges.
As a small concession to customer complaints, HP issued an optional update in 2016 that removes dynamic security, but the change applies only to specific models made before December 1st, 2016. It remains unclear which HP printers have dynamic security installed, but online posts indicate that the issue has spread to a number of models, including the OfficeJet Pro 6970, OfficeJet Pro 6968, OfficeJet 6950, and OfficeJet 7740.
HP’s latest firmware updates released in December 2022 and January 2023 note the inclusion of “dynamic security measures, which are used to block cartridges using a non-HP chip or modified or non-HP electronic circuitry.” The updates also state that “periodic firmware updates will maintain the effectiveness of the dynamic security measures and block cartridges that previously worked.” This move appears to be a desperate attempt to lock users into HP’s ecosystem, as the company’s net printing revenue slides. Some HP customers are considering switching to other printer brands if they don’t have the option to use third-party ink in the future.
Once again, it seems like HP is in clear violation of the Moss Magnuson Act and should be reprimanded accordingly.