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

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
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.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
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.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.