Feeds

Canon loses printer recycling case

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

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

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

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.