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. identicon
    Neo, 1 Dec 2006 @ 7:11am

    Re: Completely within the 'spirit' of the patent s

    GadgetGav, I have to disagree. I understand that printer companies need to recoup their investment. And indeed additional profitability for the risk they take in R&D.

    But the patent system is there to protect inventions. The printers, with their clever technology, sure! But cartridges are protected by patents that are not innovative. My comopany has been sued by Epson, and we are in a legal dispute that has now run 10 months. The patents are NOT for anything innovative, and they are patents for the sake of it. Global corporations then abuse the legal system and know that the little guy cannot afford to even contest it.

    We are fighting them, but not everyone can, and I am very well versed on ink cartridge patents in relation to Epson - they are a farce, and we are going to take their patents apart in the courts.

    As for technology for inks - we make cartridges that independent labs have tested that BEAT OEM cartridges on performance for less than half the price, without infringing.

    You can get these reports at If we get support from buyers, we will work to break the shackles of OEM's

    Have a look at the site - make your own minds up!

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