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Lexmark Sues 24 Companies Over Toner-Cartridge Patents

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the nothing-like-a-little-rent-seeking dept.

Patents 294

eldavojohn writes "Remember back in 2003, when Lexmark tried to use the DMCA to stop aftermarket toner cartridges from being produced? Well, they're now suing 24 companies for infringing on 15 patents they have on toner cartridges. The article also notes that Lexmark has been filing lawsuits over patent infringement on formulas for their inks."

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Formulas? (4, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 4 years ago | (#33363528)

How can a formula be patented when you can't even copyright a recipe (and that's all ink is, a recipe of dyes)?

As for patents on toner cartridges, I imagine if they were specific enough to get a patent for it (I know, I know, I'm not new around here, I know stupid patents get granted all the time), chances are they wouldn't need to worry about after-market producers.

Re:Formulas? (4, Informative)

finarfinjge (612748) | about 4 years ago | (#33363662)

You don't seem too familiar with the various types of intellectual property and how they are regulated. Copyright is not patent. You can indeed copyright a recipe. You can also patent it. The entire drug industry depends on it. The more specific the patent, the easier it is for someone to make a trivial change to the recipe and outflank the patent. As such, it is advisable to make one's patent application as general as possible. Whether you believe that is bad or good, it is the law. As for the specifics of toner cartridges, I'd be very surprised if any particular cartridge was only covered by one patent.

Cheers

JE

Re:Formulas? (1)

Ollabelle (980205) | about 4 years ago | (#33363714)

Forgive me, but can you indeed copyright a recipe? I thought you couldn't copyright a fact (e.g. the mix of ingredients), but only the process (mix for 30 seconds, then rest). I mean come on, recipes are ripped off constantly.... I'd like some references please, for my own education.

Re:Formulas? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363776)

I think you are correct. See below exert:

How do I protect my recipe?
A mere listing of ingredients is not protected under copyright law. However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a collection of recipes as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection. Note that if you have secret ingredients to a recipe that you do not wish to be revealed, you should not submit your recipe for registration, because applications and deposit copies are public records. See FL 122, Recipes.

Source: U.S. Copyright office [copyright.gov]

Re:Formulas? (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | about 4 years ago | (#33363790)

What amazes me more is that you can patent the business model of making incredibly shitty, slapshod products with pickup rollers that invariably break by the 250th page.

Next they'll have a business model patent on convincing companies like Dell to throw their reputation down the toilet by rebranding the aforementioned shitty products and selling them with their own brand name slapped on.

Re:Formulas? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#33363844)

the facts are not copyrighted, the particular incarnation can be.

So someone else can sell their own recipe book with the same recipe, they just can't copy-paste it from yours.

"substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions," such as a cookbook, can be copyrighted but that a mere list of ingredients cannot receive that protection.

-http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/03/AR2006010300316.html

Re:Formulas? (1)

h00manist (800926) | about 4 years ago | (#33364212)

All kinds of insane stuff can be patented, and it's time open source starts patenting lots of stuff too, because this nonsense isn't going away too soon.

Re:Formulas? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 4 years ago | (#33364406)

Not only can you patent an ink recipe as a method, but you can also patent the ink itself as a composition of matter. Really, this is the sort of thing that patents have traditionally covered for hundreds of years. The real question is whether there's prior art out there that didn't come up during examination.

Lexmark still sells printers? (2, Interesting)

finarfinjge (612748) | about 4 years ago | (#33363530)

I mean really? Every printer of quality I've seen in the last 3 years (and I use the word 'quality' loosely) has been an Xerox, HP or Canon. Maybe they should spend some time building things people want to buy. Could be wrong of course. Often am.

JE

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (5, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33363632)

Yes, Lexmark still sells printers and yes, their printers still cost less than their ink cartridges. And yes, their drivers are as crappy as ever.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (2, Informative)

fluffy99 (870997) | about 4 years ago | (#33363970)

Every single Lexmark printer we've bought in the past 6 years died within 18-months (not by my choice obviously). That's including the cheap inkjets and their bigger workgroup lasers. Most of the inkjets simply melted their power supplies. They also sucked that really expensive ink down really quick.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (1)

Laebshade (643478) | about 4 years ago | (#33364484)

I don't mean to debunk anecdotal evidence with more of the same, but I have a Lexmark z2940 wireless printer here that I just setup to use wireless: downloaded the drivers (running Windows 7), installed them, plugged into the USB cable when prompted to so it could configure the wireless, joined my wireless network with my key, unplugged the USB cable when prompted, then finished the setup. Prints fine using wireless.

Except for the fact that the ink cartridges are either empty or dried up...

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (1)

Zerth (26112) | about 4 years ago | (#33364626)

Unless you buy dot matrix.

I have a pair of industrial Lexmark wide carriage printers that only cost 40 bucks for a cartridge that last for 40k triple carbonless sheets($2k for the printer, though). Actually came with the circuit layout, diagnostic procedures, and replacement instructions for every piece, including those that need soldering.

Alas, $700 for a motherboard, which I found out after a storm found its way through the onboard serial port. Went for a a $900 refurb instead, as I might be switching to laser in the near future. The carbonless paper is not cheap.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about 4 years ago | (#33363638)

Brother makes good lasers/leds imo.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363700)

Seconded, just make sure you don't accidentally order sewing equipment.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 4 years ago | (#33363806)

Yeah.. I do wish more Linux distros had the drivers in the box... i've got aBrother laser, and an HP LJ4000 (bought used).. the HP was a far smoother experience.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364466)

What shitty distro are you running?

I've had both my Brother HL series running under CUPS since Red Hat 7.3. It did limit you to 300 dpi, but I found Brother's own cupswrapper for use with Fedora Core to enable full 600 dpi mode. After about Fedora 8 (2.5 years ago), I no longer needed that, as CUPS/Foomatic had the proper drivers.

And both printers, plus an HP Photosmart and Canon BJC, are networked via LPD.

I hate to say it, but they "just work" for me...

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (1)

Haeleth (414428) | about 4 years ago | (#33364510)

That's because HP appears to care about Linux. They release real open-source drivers that can be included by all Linux distros, even ones like Debian and Fedora that have very strict rules about licensing.

HP products maybe aren't the best value for money, but anyone who cares about open source drivers should definitely consider taking their custom to one of the few companies that gets it.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364592)

Agreed, I've had a brother printer for almost 5 years now. It's been great.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 4 years ago | (#33364628)

Samsung does as well. I'm very happy with my $100 wifi connectable laser.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 4 years ago | (#33363728)

Perhaps it's precisely because they don't sell many printers anymore that they resort to this.

In any case, it tells me loud and clearly what printer not to buy next.

I'm thinking of retiring my Epson R1800 soon -- any good recommendations for a large format photo quality printer?

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (1)

cynyr (703126) | about 4 years ago | (#33364388)

a cannon or an epson, or an HP.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about 4 years ago | (#33364392)

Unless you do a crazy amount of greater than 8x10 prints you're probably better off with a cheap laser and Walgreens/Costco/etc with a real mini-lab, better quality than any sub $5,000 printer, prints will last a lifetime or more, and it's cheaper per print when you consider all costs.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (2, Informative)

Pax00 (266436) | about 4 years ago | (#33364478)

Canon Pro 9500 Mark II is a great machine.

If you are looking for something larger than this, I don't know but I would still go Canon on for it.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (1)

bloosh (649755) | about 4 years ago | (#33364336)

Have you ever used a HP LaserJet P2015 or P3005? Great printers until just after the warranty expires and you start getting solder joint problems with the formatter board. A quick bake for 8 minutes at 350F in an oven may give you a few more months of use until the problem reappears.

Older HP printers are fantastic. I've got a LaserJet 4 and a couple of 4000's still running fine.

Re:Lexmark still sells printers? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33364604)

My parents recently got an HP all in one, I'm quite impressed with the way it works. Seems to do a decent job with all the tasks I've set it to do, the only annoyance is that the wireless support seems to be a bit flaky, as in it doesn't seem to get along with my open-mesh set up.

Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363564)

Might as well start suing people for making paper compatible with their printers aswell..

inkjet is for suckers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363566)

Inkjet printers suck, get a small B&W laser. Do color prints onlines and ship em.

Evidently you've not shopped for a laser printer (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | about 4 years ago | (#33363716)

Evidently you've not shopped for a laser printer recently. Toner isn't any cheaper. I think they migrated the laser printers to inkjet printer model some time ago. Cost of toner cartridge today can go over a hundred dollars easily. Some manufacturers even have built in page counters on toner cartridges that would refuse to print once certain page count is reached, irrespective of the actual amount of toner remaining in the cartridge.

Re:Evidently you've not shopped for a laser printe (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363780)

Yes, except that the toner cartridges can print 10,000 pages.

Re:Evidently you've not shopped for a laser printe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363968)

Hey Lead Butthead, Toner is cheap. http://www.google.com/products?q=+toner++P1006 [google.com] , Refilled toner is even cheaper. For an HP LaserJet P1006, 6 pack refurb for $80, 1200 pages a wack - works out to ~1.2 cents a page. Inkjets are from 2.3 to 8, and the quality just isn't as good, not to mention messy.

Re:Evidently you've not shopped for a laser printe (1)

Danieljury3 (1809634) | about 4 years ago | (#33363870)

Toner may be more expensive but in the long run its cheaper. I don't do much printing and my old ink-jet seemed to eat ink cartridges irrespective of whether I actually used the damn printer. I'd try to print something and pretty much every colour would be empty even though I had only brought more ink about 10 pages ago. My new B&W laser has already printed more pages than my ink-jet ever has and shows no signs of running out of toner. It apparently has enough toner to last It 2000 pages

Re:Evidently you've not shopped for a laser printe (2, Informative)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 4 years ago | (#33363896)

Evidently you've not shopped for a laser printer recently. Toner isn't any cheaper. I think they migrated the laser printers to inkjet printer model some time ago. Cost of toner cartridge today can go over a hundred dollars easily. Some manufacturers even have built in page counters on toner cartridges that would refuse to print once certain page count is reached, irrespective of the actual amount of toner remaining in the cartridge.

The cost per page for toner is less than the cost per page for ink. For example, this HP ink cartridge [adorama.com] costs 4.4 cents per page, while this HP toner cartridge [adorama.com] costs 1.3 cents per page.

Re:Evidently you've not shopped for a laser printe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364362)

remember refills at Walgreens, Office Max, etc. They are pretty good, and much cheaper for inkjets.

Re:Evidently you've not shopped for a laser printe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364512)

Not to mention toner won't dry out. So if you don't print that frequently, the cost of replacing dry would exceed anything else by quite a lot.

Re:Evidently you've not shopped for a laser printe (1)

afidel (530433) | about 4 years ago | (#33364418)

Toner is CHEAP, third party carts for my Brother are .35c/page, even the Brother carts are only .8c/page, yes that's correct they are less than a penny a page, you'll spend more on the paper than the toner =) Bigger printers are even cheaper per page, but obviously come with a bigger acquisition cost and the cost of a single consumable replacement is more than my printer with 2,500 page starter cart ($99).

Re:inkjet is for suckers. (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 4 years ago | (#33364308)

Some people want good colour prints that are not standard size. I'm curious if lasers are any better at creating good photo quality prints on high end photo paper like can be done on good ink jet printers? Or are ink jets still the way to go?

Re:inkjet is for suckers. (1)

domatic (1128127) | about 4 years ago | (#33364520)

I don't commonly see color Lasers with more than 4 colors: CMYK. And the degree to which they can be proportioned and mixed on the page tends to be less than ink jets too. On the other hand, I commonly see ink jets with 6 or 7 colors and since it is fluids being shot at the page can mix those to more shades than laser will manage.

That said, I still hate ink jets. You may as well just buy another one once the ink runs out and you'll basically find you can run to the drugstore and print color cheaper than what they'll do overall. Even if that isn't true for color photo printing all by itself it is true if you also use the ink jet for things like driving directions or printing out forms. I think you're better off owning a B&W laser and doing color printing at the photo processor. If you MUST print color at home, a color laser is good enough for things that need a bit of color but aren't going in a photo album like a diagram or map.

And I'm restraining myself by not getting started on the pigware drivers that come with inkjets......

Re:inkjet is for suckers. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33364634)

I bought a samsung clx-3175, disobeyed the instructions on maximum weight paper stock (I bought some thick kodak glossy photo print paper, and put it in the paper tray, one sheet at a time, on top of a stack of ordinary paper), and the prints are REALLY nice. The paper makes all the difference.

Print it, frame it, nobody will be able to tell the difference.

Please... (4, Insightful)

Starteck81 (917280) | about 4 years ago | (#33363568)

Their patents are probably nothing more than 'we patented the specifications of cartridges that work with our printers so other companies can't sell cheap 3rd party cartridges' patents.

Re:Please... (1)

jd (1658) | about 4 years ago | (#33364098)

Oh, almost certainly. And possibly any emoticons on the sides of the ink cartridges as well. Ink formulae - that might be a stronger case, provided it is not a trivial derivative of any standard or historic ink. However, an ink formula can't be both patented and trade secret at the same time. That's a no-no. Has anyone actually looked at their ink patents to see if they're violating the patent rules there? (Dumb question - no, nobody has; yes, they are.)

Re:Please... (1)

canajin56 (660655) | about 4 years ago | (#33364500)

Lexmark isn't suing over ink patents, so there's not much to look into. (Never ever believe a single word in a Slashdot summary, they're wrong almost as a rule).

GOOD !! I'M TIRED OF CHEAP INK RIDING COATTAILS !! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363574)

Lexmark, HP, Canon, and Kodak all deserve the money gotten for their ink. It's only fair. I say, and I am sure most of slashdot is with me, what's GOOD FOR LEXMARK IS GOOD FOR CONSUMERS !!

Lexmark on Linux (5, Funny)

Lord Byron II (671689) | about 4 years ago | (#33363596)

I called their tech support after trying to get one of their printers to work on Linux. This was before I found out that they use a non-standard and proprietary way to communicate between computer and printer.

The tech asks me if I'm using Windows XP or Vista. I say I'm using Linux. He's says "Windows Linux?" "No, just Linux." "Oh, okay, Windows 98." From there he proceeded to give me help based off the idea that I was running Microsoft Windows 98 Linux Edition.

Re:Lexmark on Linux (1)

alanebro (1808492) | about 4 years ago | (#33363630)

Can you get me a copy of that OS? Sounds sexy.

Re:Lexmark on Linux (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#33363656)

When people don't understand what you're talking about, they assume stuff and then try to help you anyway [xkcd.com] .

Re:Lexmark on Linux (4, Informative)

Andorin (1624303) | about 4 years ago | (#33363696)

A better link to the comic [xkcd.com] for anyone who views this thread after tonight, when a new comic goes up.

Re:Lexmark on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364036)

The great thing about that cartoon is it came out the same day as the /. story [slashdot.org] about how the national park service was having problems because idiots with cell phones and GPS thought they had all the answers without properly preparing, and kept getting themselves in trouble. Personally, I think ignoring someone trying to give you directions is asking for trouble (unless you've actually already been to the same location).

Most arrogant XKCD I have seen (0, Troll)

traindirector (1001483) | about 4 years ago | (#33364174)

Wow, I don't normally think this after looking at an XKCD comic, but that one is so arrogant and off the mark, in one of the worst ways possible!

Blindly trusting a GPS device's directions, and insultingly disregarding the likely better directions of someone who lives there and is intimately familiar with the best way to get there, shows a total distrust in the intelligence of the person you're visiting. Sure, it's good to have the address and look up the directions yourself, but immediately preferring the automated directions, which often, at least in my experience, have problems, is almost sociopathic in the trust it shows in technology over personal wisdom.

To bring this back to the support desk issue, I think it actually supports the current, often frustrating, script-based approach. What is the ratio of knowledgeable users to arrogant idiots who thinks they're knowledgeable users? You know, the users who don't want to listen to the easy solution that fixes the problem 80% of the time, which would fix it for them, because they're experts and have a tool that often works that they trust in totally, even though they haven't the faintest clue on what they're doing?

Re:Most arrogant XKCD I have seen (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 years ago | (#33364312)

I disagree. Decent GPS units give quite good directions, if you filter them using your head. I may simply be unwilling to spend the time noting every twist-and-turn down. In the old days, people used city maps to look up an address, and presumably you wouldn't consider it insulting. I still have such an archaic map in my car and use it occasionally. It's easier to browse it than the map on the GPS.

If I prefer to use a map, or a GPS, it doesn't mean I'm sociopathic. It may simply mean that I've been around places, and don't need handholding.

Heck, many locals are of a mistaken belief that their own learned ways of getting places are the best. I checked once -- just for the heck of it: the route that I would routinely take from/to the classes at the university turned out to be a leftover from a road construction project from 7 years ago that happened to coincide with me starting to drive myself to uni. The GPS gave me a safer and faster route.

Re:Most arrogant XKCD I have seen (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 4 years ago | (#33364316)

is intimately familiar with the best way to get there

The problem is that "intimately familiar" doesn't mean the same to everyone. Have you ever tried to get directions from someone who hasn't got a clue what streets are named, only that they turn left at the corner with the green gas station, then right at the tree that looks kind of like their grandpa?

The only thing more infuriating is the person who lists every intersection you go straight through. "Next you'll come to Crystal Falls Drive." "So I turn right there?" "No, you keep going straight. After that will be Babbling Brook" ad nauseam.

Good directions are the ones that tell you how far you'll drive and which way you'll turn on what street, including a warning if it's some fucktarded road design like 5-way intersections where there are two different ways to turn left. Better when they happen to mention "oh by the way there's no stop sign for this intersection" Even better when they tell you "if you hit ____ you've gone too far".

I'll give you one thing though: at least even the worst people usually manage to be able to tell you what side of the road they're on.

GPS are only as good as the map data and some time (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 4 years ago | (#33364430)

GPS are only as good as the map data and some time that data does not show
it's a non truck road.
it's been closes off.
the ramps where re routed and you can't go that way any more and you have to take a different way to get there.
They reworked a one way systems map does not show the new way.
A easier and better way is not in the map yet.

and many other things.

Re:Most arrogant XKCD I have seen (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 4 years ago | (#33364440)

only that they turn left at the corner with the green gas station, then right at the tree that looks kind of like their grandpa?

That's how Lassie found Grandpa, you insensitive clod.

Re:Most arrogant XKCD I have seen (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 years ago | (#33364368)

The person giving directions is a prick. A bigger prick than the one asking for the address. Why ignore everything someone is saying? That's being a prick. Answer the question. Then, if there's a known GPS issue, then add in that piece of info. But to ignore what someone is asking and just answering what you think they mean drives me crazy. I'd rather they did me the service of listening to my question and then I get lost, rather than never listening to what I say.

Re:Most arrogant XKCD I have seen (1)

CTU (1844100) | about 4 years ago | (#33364516)

Wow, I don't normally think this after looking at an XKCD comic, but that one is so arrogant and off the mark, in one of the worst ways possible!

Blindly trusting a GPS device's directions, and insultingly disregarding the likely better directions of someone who lives there and is intimately familiar with the best way to get there, shows a total distrust in the intelligence of the person you're visiting. Sure, it's good to have the address and look up the directions yourself, but immediately preferring the automated directions, which often, at least in my experience, have problems, is almost sociopathic in the trust it shows in technology over personal wisdom.

To bring this back to the support desk issue, I think it actually supports the current, often frustrating, script-based approach. What is the ratio of knowledgeable users to arrogant idiots who thinks they're knowledgeable users? You know, the users who don't want to listen to the easy solution that fixes the problem 80% of the time, which would fix it for them, because they're experts and have a tool that often works that they trust in totally, even though they haven't the faintest clue on what they're doing?

Well using a GPS saves a lot of writing down/remembering directions heck even with good directions it is still easy enough to get lost if you don't know the area you are going to GPS units are maps and directions all in one :)

Re:Lexmark on Linux (5, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33363668)

Or, if you're Linus Torvalds, Windows Me.

Re:Lexmark on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364002)

Imagine the rage if only they knew how much of Linux kernel source had been edited in Microsoft Bob.

Re:Lexmark on Linux (1)

oliverthered (187439) | about 4 years ago | (#33364082)

in capitalist America Linus Torvalds, Windows Me.

Re:Lexmark on Linux (1)

oliverthered (187439) | about 4 years ago | (#33364102)

In soviet Russia Bill Gates, GNU you!

copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (0, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33363636)

Different topic, but same exact conversation. [slashdot.org]

Copyrights, patents, all other government regulations need to be abolished as well as any other government control of economy, interest rates, wages laws, every single thing. It's killing the economy, it can't save it. Government is an unproductive destructive force and you can see it in everything it does, this includes copyright and patent laws.

Re:copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (3, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 4 years ago | (#33363722)

All Power to the Glorious Corporation!

Really, do you think that dropping all government regulation of industry is a good thing?

Re:copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (4, Insightful)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 4 years ago | (#33363920)

I really hate this mindset... do you really think that people are powerless? I mean, the only reason that unionization wasn't more effective earlier on is because the corp's used the government to bully strikers. If more consumers were well informed they'd buy smarter... If a telecom pisses you off, you switch, no gov't subsidies, companies die... No bailouts? Car companies compete or die.

I'm a bit more pragmatic than most libertarian minded people, but feel that citizen activism, and civics are part og what a free market is... I do think government has its place though. I do think process and design patents (including all software) should be limited to 5 years, as a special class of patent, that copyright law should return to sanity, 20 years, and renewable once if owned solely by the original owner(s) and all original owners are living persons (not companies) and that trademarks should be used for thier original purpose, not bullying or fair use in comparisons.

Re:copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (2, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 4 years ago | (#33364228)

I really hate this mindset... do you really think that people are powerless?

Certainly not, but at this point they're apathetic and ignorant. Never mind that the GP was suggesting we basically hand the reins of power over to corporations which are way more powerful than any one individual.

If more consumers were well informed they'd buy smarter

Read my above statement.

If a telecom pisses you off, you switch

Because there are so, so many to choose from.

Re:copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33364398)

Certainly not, but at this point they're apathetic and ignorant. Never mind that the GP was suggesting we basically hand the reins of power over to corporations which are way more powerful than any one individual.

You are severely mistaken. The government is ran by banks/insurance companies/military industrial complex/big pharma/food/energy/mining/etc.

They government is completely ran by these corporations. This shouldn't have happened, but it did. So while you are saying I am for corporations taking over, I am arguing the government today consists of corporations already, and those corporations are using government power to keep themselves monopolies and to bail themselves out. What you do not see, is that the US government is bankrupt already NOW, so my proposals here even if will fall on deaf ears, are irrelevant, very soon the government will fail to pay its obligations (of-course it will print the USD into hyper-inflation, it's not actually going to admit it's bankrupt.)

But you see, the government is NOT your economy, it's sucking out the value and force from economy, but it is not your economy.

Your economy are not large monopoly powers either, they are only using your government as long as they can take the last pennies out of this piggy bank. They will take the rest of the money out very soon, the social security (aren't you glad you paid into it?) the medicare will be gone, etc. At the end an empty shell of an economy cannot be used by large corporations anymore, they will move away to the rest of the world, which is MUCH bigger than US.

US citizens will be left in actual ruins and they will have to rebuild the economy anyway, so then why not start sooner and go through the pain sooner? And all of the regulations that your gov't has out there, is basically just so that the monopolies can stay monopolies longer. So why help them?

You think I am pro-monopoly corporations and against power of the people? Quite the opposite. But your government is NOT the people, it is together with those corporations you don't like.

Re:copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (4, Insightful)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | about 4 years ago | (#33364250)

problem is, the average citizen is NOT well-informed.

it's certainly not for lack of trying! take the RIAA for instance: they've been on a "education" campaign in schools for years now, trying to convince kids that copyright law essentially means the RIAA wins, no ifs, ands, or buts.

or like in health insurance and big pharma, where the average citizen simply lacks the needed specialized education to understand complex medical terminology.

and history has borne out that when a corporation or similar entity has unbridled freedom, they WILL do whatever they want to establish their own economic and political dominance. let's look at Microsoft: they essentially HAD an unregulated monopoly, up until the Fed (and the EU) came and put a stop to it. the government solutions were STILL ineffectual; Microsoft simply adapted (and i'm treading dangerously close to Gates of Borg here), and there's really still no viable OS alternative save Mac OS. it took Apple and Google to knock Microsoft down a peg. and both of those companies have really problematic practices, too.

government regulation is NECESSARY. there's a fine balance, but leave corporations alone and they WILL abuse the people. stockholders don't care so long as they make profit. with government, at least we can vote abusive politicians out, no capital required.

Re:copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (2, Insightful)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 4 years ago | (#33364446)

Yeah, but if copyright and patent law were far saner, we'd probably be far better off, if MS didn't make the concessions needed to compete with open-source it'd be far worse... Linus did far more to open up MS than the government ever did, and if it weren't for software patents, would be farther along.

Re:copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (0, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33364192)

Let me put it this way: US economy is dying, it is terminal.

There is nothing that can be done to save the economy at this point, nothing at all.

It will have to be restructured completely, it will be rebuilt as things are always rebuilt - with people saving and then starting their own small businesses and creating jobs and creating products and creating value, which is the real money. Not cash, actual value - products people need to live.

Government will have to shrink dramatically, I mean it will have to become negligible, because government is a non-productive life-sucking, value removing force.

In the process of restructuring people will suffer, there will be shortages, there will be hyper-inflation (created by government printing money to buy back its silly debt, because gov't will not admit it's already bankrupt now, so it will never admit it, so it will print dollar into nothingness.)

So there will be suffering, there will be struggle, etc. At the end people, separate people will restart economy by creating businesses and hiring other people.

However to create a business, you have to save first, otherwise where is the initial capital going to come from?

The large corporations you are complaining about are government created monopolies and they will abandon you, they will abandon the country where they won't be able to make money. My point is that government cannot save you and corporations will not save you. It will have to be people saving themselves, that's the only way.

Right now, as things are, government is standing on the way of restructuring and this shows in everything, from policy on interest rates, to policy on bailing out monopolies, to policy on taxing income, to policy on letting the military industrial complex to rob you of any last resources by waging wars, to policy on patents and copyrights. These policies are in the way of restructuring the economy.

Let me get this straight... (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 4 years ago | (#33364598)

Your proposed solution to our current economic problems is to become a communist nation? (not to be confused with a Communist nation)

-Rick

Re:copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (2, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 4 years ago | (#33364154)

Some of has to go, yes. When people are gaming the system this badly, the system needs to be changed.

Re:copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364224)

This the brings the issue why patents and to lesser extent copyrights were created in the first place:: TRADE SECRETS. Most companies won't even tell you the time of day let alone there all powerful profit center. Lawyers will be replaced by industrial spies and even greater distrust of everything and everyone.
I am not huge fan of the present system as it is quite ill but patents are better for ultimate transparency and provide insight into what companies are doing if you want to look.
 

Re:copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33364274)

But why is government helping corporations or anybody for that matter with 'trade secrets' and basically getting involved in fixing monopolies by killing off competition? That's the question. The answer is of-course because people with money want this and people in gov't are willing to take the bribes and the rest don't understand how they've been just had.

We should not care about trade secrets, we shouldn't be in business helping to create monopolies. We should promote any competition that's possible, we should not stand in the way of anybody taking things apart to look how they are built and then building and selling those things themselves, this is part of life, this makes things run more efficiently, every argument against it is basically an argument against competition, it's nonsense.

Re:copyrights, patents, all must be abolished. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 years ago | (#33364338)

Nope. Trade secrets, patents and copyrights are orthogonal concepts, they cover separate issues. Patents used to provide insight -- to the point where HP would publish firmware to their instruments within a patent, these days the ratio of signal to noise is so bad that you can't tell much. Patents and copyrights, in the U.S., were created to provide a time-limited monopoly to further development of useful arts and sciences. Trade secrets are there to protect know-how from being sold out by employees.

Unicorn Blood (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363664)

Its not just for inkjet printers anymore.

One more company takes the patent troll route (1)

skogs (628589) | about 4 years ago | (#33363680)

One more company takes the patent troll route after finding out they are incapable of manufacturing something worth owning in the first place. Unfortunately HP printers are approaching Lexmark quality levels and not the other way around. I hate both companies, but obviously avoid Lexmark like the plague. I usually don't even bother trying to troubleshoot them or buy new roller kits -- I just replace the lexmarks with HPs.

Re:One more company takes the patent troll route (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 4 years ago | (#33363952)

I just don't buy ibk printers... if someone *HAS* to have one (they'd better be printing a few items a week, to keep the ink/jets from clogging), I usually suggest cannon much better long term cost wise. HP Lasers, haven't really had negative issues with, relatively speaking.

uh, let's see, how you say in Engrish... (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 4 years ago | (#33363684)

"Bastardze?"

Same problem as software: compatibilty (5, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 4 years ago | (#33363692)

I usually ignore stories about hardware patents, but this one highlights a problem that exists in software patents: interoperability is essential.

Microsoft can develop a wonky filesystem (FAT), and use their market power to force it on everyone. When they finally realise that 8-letter filenames is a broken idea, they add a fix, patent the fix, and sue people who use the fix.

That fix isn't patentable because it's valuable, it's simply valuable because it's patented. It's an arbitrary idea, not necessarily better than any other solution (of avoiding the problem in the first place!), but it becomes a must-have because it's the idea Microsoft chose to implement.

Same with Word. Microsoft patents a few features in their file format and they're essential. You develop your own file format and patent some features, and they just get avoided by Micrsoft and nobody cares about your patents. How good your patents are, or how they compare to Microsoft's patents, is of no consequence.

And so it is with Lexmark. They make cartridges in a certain way. Might be good, might be wonky. You can patent a better idea, but it's useless because you're not looking for "best", you're looking for "compatible".

swpat.org is a publicly editable wiki, help with developing these arguments is very welcome.

Re:Same problem as software: compatibilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364314)

Wow, now that was random and very odd.

Bullshit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364614)

Microsoft can develop a wonky filesystem (FAT), and use their market power to force it on everyone.

I'm sorry, no, that's not what happened. If you take off your rose colored I*HATE*M$ glasses, you will see that there always have been many alturnatives. People used FAT because it did what they wanted (at the time).

modus operandi du jour (0)

McNihil (612243) | about 4 years ago | (#33363720)

Overheard at Lexmarks recent board meeting: "oh my good our company will soon need to file for Chapter 11... SUE EVERYBODY!!!"

frist 4sOt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363746)

may do, may not the time to meet session and join in which gathers would like to despite the ther3 are only bureaucratic and

A nice advertisement... (2, Interesting)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about 4 years ago | (#33363800)

A nice advertisement for what not to buy, thanks Lexmark.

Anyway, for those looking for alternatives, Brother doesn't chip their cartridges, and the ink is not criminally expensive. Anyone know of other brands?

Another option is to buy a continuous ink system; often these include compatible chips so you can bypass the manufacturer. Though, finding good CIS and quality inks may be somewhat troublesome. Any suggestions here?

Re:A nice advertisement... (2, Informative)

REggert (823158) | about 4 years ago | (#33364046)

I bought a Brother printer a few months ago when my Canon printer became irreparably clogged. It has worked quite well for me so far. The ink even comes in individual per-color cartridges.

Re:A nice advertisement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364076)

wow its sad that this article is what told you to not buy lexmark printers, for me it was the nearly 3 decades of complete shit printers

Re:A nice advertisement... (3, Interesting)

ChefInnocent (667809) | about 4 years ago | (#33364178)

This is probably too much work for many people, but I just told the HP software to ignore the cartridge reading and print anyway. I've been running on "low toner" for over a year now.

Re:A nice advertisement... (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 4 years ago | (#33364256)

I was able to use after market cartridges in my (former) Epson printer. However it gave up the ghost after about 6 years... it was a high end model (11x17) used often in preprint or for photographic art and even by wedding photographers. Still... the after market cartridges worked great and the colours were fine... and were way cheaper than brand name. I got rid of it a year ago so I'm not sure what the deal is with newer models.

Re:A nice advertisement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364488)

I had a Brother all-in-one device with some problems. Feeling angry and helpless, I sent a really long rant to the company complaining of the issue and stating that I would abandon their company forever and advise colleagues to do the same. I even went to far as to threaten to put a railroad spike through the device and keep it in the front of my office so show it off as an example of a bad product. To my surprise, they agreed that my situation was unfair, and sent me a newer model of printer by courier and also some free ink. I was very pleasantly surprised. Those guys are alright.

Complete the limerick ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363842)

There once was a seller of toner ...

Re:Complete the limerick ... (5, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | about 4 years ago | (#33363996)

There once was a seller of toner
Who said to a purchasing moaner
"If you like it or not
This lock-in we've got
Will give all the lawyers a boner."

http://christianlouboutintime (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363854)

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The Magnusson Moss Warranty Act does not let them (2, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 4 years ago | (#33363894)

The Magnusson Moss Warranty Act does not let them void the Warranty so they just try this BS to lock out the 3rd party stuff.

What if a car maker pulled this on a radio interface so you are locked in to there radio and can't install your own. What about remote starters?
In car DVD and TV systems?

Manufacturers not resellers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33363906)

Should they not be going after the manufacturers of said inks and cartridges and not those who are importing and/or selling them?

Patent 1 (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#33363964)

You cannot sell your 'fake' inkt with less than a 2000% profit... And even then we will lose a 1000%... Seriously printer inkt is not more expensive than gold. It just isn't no matter what they let you pay for it. For this very reason I never buy inkt. We have come in the absurd situation that is quite a lot cheaper to just buy a new printer with the 1000 pages worth of filling you get with it.

Re:Patent 1 (3, Informative)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about 4 years ago | (#33364058)

Well they have have their inkt and make it as expensive as they want but all everybody else cares about is ink. They really need to lower the price of the ink, maybe even charge a bit more for printers.

christian louboutin pumps (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364004)

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New Title: 24 Reasons Not To Buy A Lexmark (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33364022)

After all, that's what it boils down to.

Can't beat the competition - sue them. What this tells me is that Lexmark doesn't have a good enough value proposition on their replacement toners. If they offered even close to equal value to the knockoffs, or the knockoffs had a bad rep for damaging people's printers, there wouldn't be a problem.

Morons (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364206)

While I agree that it sucks that Lexmark (and most other printer manufacturers) put chips in their printers and discourage 3rd party consumables, I will say this: there is a good reason for it. I can count on one hand the number of Branded ink/toner cartridges I've ever seen go bad. When someone buys easter egg coloring ink for $3 a gallon and puts it in their Lexmark printer, or a "remanufactured" cartridge that has 3 million pages on it and is filled with shredded tires by blind people in China, guess who gets blamed when the print quality gets messed up? Certainly not "ch3ap1nk4le$$" on ebay. No, it's Lexmark. Shitty toner cartridges have caused more problems with printers than manufacturing defects, probably by 10x or so. Lexmark (and the rest of them) have a real reason for wanting to do this. What they should do is drop the prices on the consumables and sell the Total Cost of Ownership, not the retail price. Then nobody would need to make remanufactured carts.

They should also sell the carts with a "core charge". Send back your carts, get a $50 credit.

Hint: when you buy a printer, look at the cost of consumables per page BEFORE you buy it. That $99 color laser printer probably isn't a deal when you factor in the $500 it will take to replace the toner. But the $250 printer just might be.

(Also, all printers are crap these days. Nobody competes on quality anymore, just on specs. There is a reason those old Laserjets were $2500, and that's because they were made of cast iron.)

(Although I will say the Lexmark C53x series is pretty damned good.)

Re:Morons (1)

afidel (530433) | about 4 years ago | (#33364550)

LJ4250's have been pretty damn reliable for us, probably more so than any printer HP made since the LJ4, and they are freaking fast little buggers. They're not cheap at ~$1,000 to start, but for a business they are fairly negligible. I wish HP's scanner and finishers didn't suck so badly so we could get rid of our Xerox MFP's.

young women (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33364474)

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Summary in Typo (1)

canajin56 (660655) | about 4 years ago | (#33364476)

The article also notes that Lexmark has been filing lawsuits over patent infringement on formulas for their inks

The article also notes that HP has been filing lawsuits over ink patents.

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