The Channel logo

News

By | Tony Smith 9th December 2004 14:56

Canon loses printer recycling case

Refilling, reselling cartridges doesn't violate patents - Tokyo court

Selling recycled Canon printer cartridges does not constitute an infringement of the company's intellectual property, the Tokyo District Court has ruled.

The judgement marks the latest stage in Canon's legal battle against printer cartridge recycler Recycle Assist (RA). In April this year, Canon sued RA, claiming the company was violating its patents.

The verdict, that RA wasn't, paves the way for other such companies to begin taking in old printer cartridges and refilling them with ink or toner - with a commensurate loss to the major printer makers' earnings from new cartridge sales.

Such are the juicy margins on new printer consumables, the printer manufacturers have been willing to stop at almost nothing to defend them. In the US, Lexmark has similarly been pursuing Static Control Corporation (SCC) through the courts in order to block the company from selling toner cartridges compatible with its own. Despite some initial success, centred on its use of the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Lexmark has since seen the case go SCC's way on appeal.

Canon, meanwhile, may itself appeal against the Tokyo verdict.

The company recently changed its printers to allow the use of new, no-brand toner cartridges following the launch of an inquiry by the Japanese Fair Trade Commission. The FTC had received claims from generic-cartridge manufacturers that Canon was tweaking its machines to make it harder for owners to fit anything other than Canon-branded consumables.

According to the Financial Times, general consumables account for 25 per cent of Japanese toner sales. They are typically half the price of branded alternatives. Recycled cartridges could become cheaper still. ®

Related stories

Lexmark suffers setback in DMCA case
Lexmark loses round 2 in DMCA chip case
Lexmark slapped with anti-trust suit
Lexmark wins Round 1 in DMCA chip case
EU recycles Lexmark ink cartridge probe
Lexmark unleashes DMCA on toner cartridge rival
Printer majors rally around ISO toner lifespan standard
Printer ink seven times more expensive than Dom Perignon

alert Send corrections

Opinion

Alexandre Mesguich

Change is order of day as tech giants shift strategy gears
Partnership

Frank Jennings

Confused? No problem, we have 5, no 6, no 7... lots of standards

Chris Mellor

VC sequence could end not with a bang, but a whimper
Sad man stares glumly over boxed contents of desk. Image via shutterstock (Baranq)

Features

money trap conceptual illustration
Big boys snare the unwary with too-good-to-be-true deals
Angus Highland cow
Pet carriers not wanted for whitebox stampede
FBcoldstoragearray
Sorry OpenStack and Open Compute, we're not all Facebook
Gary Kovacs, CEO of AVG. Pic: World Economic Forum
Scammy download sites? Government snooping? Run of the mill for Gary Kovacs