Supreme Court Sends Down Printer Ink Patent Question

from the try-again dept

The number of legal disputes involving patents and printer ink really is staggering. However, given all the cases, you could make a credible argument that these guys all seem to be patenting slightly different implementations almost solely for the purpose of blocking competitors or other ink sellers from competing. That is, it's not about innovation, but about hindering the market. One of these cases has gone all the way up to the Supreme Court, with an ink seller claiming that a company that makes a patented printhead with non-patented ink is setting up an illegal "tying" arrangement. The Supreme Court, however, has now sent the case back to the lower court, saying that a patent doesn't necessarily mean unfair market power, and therefore, the burden is on the independent ink seller to prove that that the patent holder is using that patent for unfair market advantage. This seems a bit strange, as the very nature of a patent is to give the owner a monopoly on the product, which certainly puts them in a position of market power.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Susheel, Mar 1st, 2006 @ 2:54pm

    No Subject Given

    "This seems a bit strange, as the very nature of a patent is to give the owner a monopoly on the product, which certainly puts them in a position of market power."
    That isn't always true. It depends on how broad the patent is. A broad patent on a important technology (1-click) may very well give a firm market power, but in general a patent can be designed around, i.e., there are usually substitutes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Adam W, Mar 1st, 2006 @ 7:00pm

    No Subject Given

    But is it UNFAIR market power? Seems to me that is the important difference.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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