Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Epson Leaves Customers with No Choice

The other day Epson won another trial against third-party manufacturers that produce compatible ink cartridges for Epson printers. Epson sued a list of defendants for patent infringement based on two patents: 7,008,053 and 7,011,397 (the first patent describes the cartridge, the other one deals with ink flow method). The judge ruled that 24 companies did violate Epson’s patents and banned they from importing and selling cartridges in US.

Filing the complaint with the US International Trade Commission in February of 2006, Epson accused side ink cartridge manufacturers of their products coming close to Epson’s design. Since then, many companies from Germany, Hong Kong, Korea and US decided to settle, not to fight, and stop importing aftermarket ink cartridges for Epson's printers.

Sure, the Epson reps claim they pursue unfair competition, and that they will take whatever actions necessary to protect Epson’s patents, blah-blah-blah, and Epson has been successful in its efforts to do so. Business model of inkjet printer manufacturers has long been selling cheap printers and making profit on original cartridges, it is make sense to keep the third party companies away from consumables market, since printer ink is a $32 billion market worldwide.

Given all that, no doubt Epson’s going to be persistent in taking away compatible ink cartridges manufacturers. So, soon we may have no choice but to use only costly original inks for Epson printers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been purchasing ink carts for my Epson 760's 860's and 1160's from a wholesaler for under $1 each for black and less than $2 each for color carts, and I anm already carefully saving all my aftermarket carts to simply refill with bulk ink if all the aftermarket suppliers are put out of business. Also, I'll never buy another Epson product again.