A lawsuit filed in Santa Clara Superior Court in northern California last Thursday by a Georgia woman has sued Hewlett-Packard Co., claiming the ink cartridges for their printers are deliberately set to fail on a certain date. In some cases, it is alleged that the cartridges run out before they are even placed into a printer.

[The lawsuit] seeks to represent anyone in the United States who purchased an HP inkjet printer since February 2001. HP is the world's No. 1 computer printer maker.

HP were a little on the quiet side, to say the least. They were not available to comment on claims that the smart chip technology used in the ink cartridges is dually engineered to prematurely register ink depletion and to render a cartridge unusable through the use of a built-in expiration date that is not revealed to the consumer. The lawsuit seeks restitution, damages and other compensation.