Sunday, September 04, 2005

Lexmark users beware ink-refill patent infringement

So, you have a Lexmark printer and it's doing OK for you. The cartridges are a bit pricey, though, so you buy one of those ink-refill kits to refill your cartridges yourself. It can be messy if you're not careful, but once you get the hang of it, it's no problem. Pretty saavy, right?

Not anymore, thanks to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Seems the Court has ruled that Lexmark's inclusion of the words "for single use only" on the label means just what it says. While Lexmark was going for language that would preclude a user from giving or selling the cartridge to some other remanufacturer, the Court has rather explicitly made it a patent infringement to do anything but 1) return the empty to Lexmark so they can refill it or 2) toss the cartridge in the trash.

Ladies & gents, between this and Lexmark's failed attempt to put chips in their printers to make them stop working if you used anything but a Lexmark cartridge, I can only recommend that you go with a different brand. Maybe if Lexmark starts seeing their customer base go elsewhere they'll be more likely to work with their customers.