The European Commission is to investigate suspected antitrust behaviour by printer-cartridge makers.

Printer makers have been accused of preventing rival cartridge manufacturers from selling alternatives to their own-brand cartridges, commissioner for competition Mario Monti said yesterday.

“We will examine this in detail,” Monti said at a news conference yesterday. “There is probably a case here for us, and I would assume for the Americans, too,” he said.

Monti declined to give details of suspected anticompetitive practices.

His counterpart from the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice – assistant attorney general Charles James – also at the news conference, declined to comment on the situation in the US.

“This is an area for the Federal Trade Commission,” he said.