N.C. Senate Says You Should Be Able To Use Any Ink Cartridge You Want

from the good-for-them dept

With all the stories we have about printer ink cartridge scams – from Lexmark trying to stop a company from making compatible ink cartridges, to Epson forcing you to throw out cartridges with plenty of ink still in them – here’s some good news. The North Carolina state Senate has approved a law that says you can’t be barred by printer manufacturers from using whatever ink cartridge you want. They say it’s the same thing as if Ford told people that you couldn’t make any aftermarket modifications to your car unless you bought the products from Ford. The printer makers complain that the other cartridges are often frauds and can damage machines. In response, the Senator who sponsored the bill said that if they’re frauds, then they’ll get in trouble for deceptive trade practices. The bill still needs to be approved by the Governor.

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Comments on “N.C. Senate Says You Should Be Able To Use Any Ink Cartridge You Want”

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kael says:

Re: No Subject Given

That’s not the same thing at all.
If VW had you arrested or sued for trying to use aftermarket parts, that might be close. Or better yet, if they welded the hood shut.
Voiding the warranty is of course up to the company. Then it’s up to consumers if they want to support that company or not. Voting with the wallet is good.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: What About Razors

Their business model is, of course, the classical razor/razor blade analogy. In fact, I think you can buy some ink-jet printers cheaper than the replacement cartidges.

There are “copy” razors at the low end of the market, but I have never seen a copy at the high end (Mach 3, etc.). Gillette has something like two dozen patents on them, so I think they have that protection. If a “replacement” item can get their goods on the market without violating the patents, it should be allowed. Competition should make the manufacturer to keep innovating – cannabalize your own business before someone does it for you.

Victor says:

Analogy is worng

Here is a proper analogy:
You buy Ford car, but you can only use the gas from the Ford dealer. Or, you buy a cell phone for nothing, but then gotta use that provider since the phone is locked. (of course noone has invoked DMCA on the cell. unlocking services yet though) This seems to be exactly what lexmark/epson are thinking.

Doug says:

But they <em>didn't</em> complain then

From the article:

“I think if Ford Motor Company tried to completely control the aftermarket by trying to control the tire you put on your car by some device, I think this Legislature would act,” he said.

Actually, Ford did exactly that on their performance cars of the late 70’s and early 80’s.

The TRX suspension required a special wheel, which had both a non-standard offset and non-standard tire size. The only wheel that would fit on the suspension was a TRX wheel, and the only tire that would fit on the wheel was a Michelin TRX.

From http://www.mustangmonthly.com/thehistoryof/41542/index7.html:

Ford hung on to the TRX suspension with a death grip. Although it was a good idea, the recommended TRX tires were expensive and available only from Michelin. Folks grumbled about the cost and the idea of being forced to buy a specific tire.

Rick Colosimo (user link) says:

Re: Still not the same thing

There’s a difference between making a new standard and pushing it (e.g., Sony memory card, or Ford-only Type-F transmission fluid) and preventing competitors from competing legitimately. New designs buy you time if consumers don’t complain, and patents are certainly permissible.

The question is whether consumers need protection or whether they can/should be able to figure it out for themselves.

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