A year ago, Hewlett Packard issued a firmware update for OfficeJet series printers that prevented third-party ink cartridges from being used. Now, it appears as though the exact same update has been reissued to stop owners from buying discounted third-party ink.

The firmware update was first spotted earlier this week and affects a number of OfficeJet models including the OfficeJet 6800, OfficeJet Pro 6200, 6800, 8600, and OfficeJet Pro X 400/500 series. According to German supplier Super Patronen, over 50 customers have reported problems using third-party ink.

If an unapproved ink cartridge is detected, the printer will return an error message, "One or more cartridges appear to be damaged. Remove them and replace with new cartridges." Some users are reporting that having at least one HP-branded cartridge installed suppresses the error message.

Fortunately, there is a relatively simple fix to allow continued use of cheaper cartridges. The error originates from HP's Dynamic Security feature which can be removed by applying a second firmware update.

Whether the firmware update was intentionally made to disable third-party ink cartridges is unclear but if past behavior is any indicator, HP was likely well aware of the effects of its own security features. At least this time, a fix is readily available.