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
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2006 @ 7:00pm

    Re:

    I have an HP printer and spend $70 on a full set of six cartridges. Those inks last me at least one ream of paper. I pay about $4 for the paper. so $74 for 500 prints... Thats 14cents a page. But wait, two of those inks are only used when I print photos so now we're at $54 for my 500 prints. Just over a a dime a page. Tell me exactly where I can get color prints in small volumes for a price anywhere close to that and I'll concede that printer ink is over priced. But in reality I think I'm getting a pretty good deal. Sure those ink tanks feel expensive when I'm buying the whole set but per page I think I'm getting a reasonable price. Plus those occasional photos I print during that ream of paper probably push my figures higher than they should be and I've never needed to replace all 6 inks at any one time.

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