Epson Succeeds In Stopping Competitors From Making Compatible Ink Cartridges

from the remind-me-not-to-buy-another-Epson-printer dept

I currently have an Epson printer that's on its last legs. While the printer has served me fine for many years, Epson has just made it abundantly clear why I should never buy another printer from them. Last February, the company went after 24 vendors of Epson-compatible ink cartridges, claiming "patent" violations for putting ink into a cartridge that works on their printers. That's clearly not in the spirit of the patent system at all, but rather a blatant attempt to keep competitors out of the market by misusing patent laws. It's obviously lucrative to Epson to do so, since the artificial scarcity the printer companies have created has inflated the price of ink to ridiculous levels (filling a swimming pool with ink would cost nearly $6 billion -- with a b), making it perhaps the most expensive liquid around. So, it's unfortunate that Epson has apparently succeeded in intimidating many of the compatible ink cartridge makers into leaving the market. Obviously, Epson thinks it's in its own best interests to limit the market so they can charge such high prices (this is the same company that has also been accused of forcing you to replace cartridges even when they still have plenty of ink -- a charge the company denies). However, it also signals to consumers that Epson printers are going to be plenty expensive to maintain and that they may be better off looking elsewhere. Certainly, many of the other printer makers are just as bad, but that should be seen as an opportunity for someone to come along and charge a much more reasonable amount for ink, and then advertise the hell out of how much money they'll save everyone.

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  1. icon
    John (profile), 30 Nov 2006 @ 6:01am

    What happens to old printers

    Regarding the poster who simply tosses out their printer when the ink runs out: what do you do with the printer? Do you throw it in the trash? Does it wind up taking up space in a landfill? Or do you donate it to a charity (though they would then have to afford the expensive ink).

    What if everyone just simply tossed out their $49.99 printer instead of buying $70 worth of new ink? How soon would it take to fill our land fills? I mean, it's not like the printer is bad or old- it simply ran out of ink and has many years of useful life left in it.

    This just shows the "use and toss" mentality of many consumers... which, in turn, is created by and encouraged by the manufacturers. It's very telling that we can get a new printer for less than the cost of replacement ink. And if the printer actually does break down? Again, it's cheaper to just buy a new one than to pay to have it repaired.

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