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Lexmark Wins Injunction in Toner Cartridge Suit

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the toner-cartridge-spam-suddenly-more-useful dept.

The Courts 557

goingincirclez writes "Cnet reports that Lexmark has won an injunction against Static Control Components, Inc., which effectively prohibits the manufacture of recycled / third party toner cartidges. Slashdot covered the initial filing of the suit. SCC also has a rebuttal site that definitely warrants checking out. I would like to think that other printer manufacturers won't follow suit, but I'm not that naive. Better start your trust fund for ink cartridges."

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Beter yet... (3, Funny)

esconsult1 (203878) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407659)

Start using Laser Printers.. o wait...

oh no (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407662)

first posts r ghey. lick my l33t ba115.

FP!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407663)

Whoot

In Soviet Russia (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407664)

Suit wins YOU

Lok Tar (-1, Offtopic)

LordKariya (195696) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407667)

Indeed.

Maybe this will end the refill spam (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407672)

How much ink do these spammers think we need? I'd only need that much if I were printing out all of their messages.

This is going to get pathetic (5, Insightful)

jlk_71 (308809) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407674)

I cannot see how this is ever going to turn out good for the consumer. This will enable the makers of printers to almost charge whatever they want for their cartridges.

#jlk

Re:This is going to get pathetic (2)

jglazko (56166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407783)

I was merely annoyed to hear this until I went to a local retailer to buy a black ink cartridge for my Lexmark inkjet. $32.99!!!

It may have been my subjective viewpoint after reading that article, but this price seems exorbitant (or maybe I'm just a cheap b*stard). It also seemed to me to be higher than the price for cartridges for competing printers.

I'm disgusted to think I can buy a basic color inkjet printer for about the cost of color + black cartridges for this one. What a waste of resources.

Re:This is going to get pathetic (5, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407900)

There's a reason those cartridges cost so much. Quality ink is always made from the finest rare Cognac. Since Cognac can cost almost $1000 for a 1 liter bottle, and an inkjet cartridge contains about an ounce of ink, you're actually getting about $30 of cognac, and there's very little markup involved.

(Or maybe I'm getting this backwards. Fine cognac might be expensive because it's made from inkjet ink... I don't remember; I'll have to look it up.)

Re:This is going to get pathetic (0)

mmol_6453 (231450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407940)

So why not have a "fine quality" cartridge and a "budget" cartridge? AFAIK, people only buy 3rd-party cartridges because they're cheaper.

Re:This is going to get pathetic (2, Insightful)

mmol_6453 (231450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407914)

Oddly enough, American law can still come in useful. File a class action suit against Lexmark for price gouging.

Be sure to document the method and cost of designing and manufacturing 3rd-party cartridges.

Re:This is going to get pathetic (3, Insightful)

Berylium (588468) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407805)

This will enable the makers of printers to almost charge whatever they want for their cartridges.

Having worked at Best Buy I can tell you that the markup on toner is how they make their money. Buying at 5% above cost an employee may save a couple bucks on the printer itself, but on ink you save almost half. Not that this is really news to anybody but it's certainly the reason Lexmark doesn't want anyone else selling ink for their printers: it invades their revenue stream.

Re:This is going to get pathetic (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407845)

Isn't it Best Buy's revenue stream you're talking about? Why would Lexmark be interested in keeping Best Buy's margin high?

I guess you could argue that Lexmark has a similar margin to Best Buy, but you've shown no evidence of that here.

Re:This is going to get pathetic (0)

math0ne (567591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407859)

And i think they have already started chargeing "whatever they want." I had to spend 50$ canadian on a lousy cartidge the other day. I spend 20$ on the printer and it came with the cartridge... Looks like i'm going to have to start dealing with refills :(

Re:This is going to get pathetic (1)

poisoneleven (310634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407894)

And to top it off, it's not like you get a full ink cartridge when you buy the damn printer, they stick you with some crap half full "trial" cartridge, for what I don't know. Make sure you like the ink maybe?

:( Grr (1)

FAngel (641209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407675)

Collage fund is right. Watch Lexmark cut the size of the cartridges as well.

Better yet.... (5, Funny)

SpaceCadetTrav (641261) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407678)

Just print everything at work.

OUR? government (4, Funny)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407682)

Of the people, by the people, for the people?

Oh...fuck the people. They left that one off.

Re:OUR? government (2, Insightful)

dattaway (3088) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407755)

You paid your taxes too willingly. Corporations donate voluntarily to barter favors. Government likes to negotiate. Its how an organism grows most effectively.

Not sure this is the wrong decision (5, Interesting)

Alderete (12656) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407687)

While I'm certainly not a fan of the DMCA, I'm not sure this is a poor decision by the courts, etc. I think that it's probably reasonable for Lexmark to be able to forbid third-parties from selling supplies, if that's a business decision they want to make.

However, I don't think that, even if they ultimately win this case all the way up the line, that this is a winning business strategy. I certainly am not going to buy a printer that is tied exclusively to the manufacturer.

This can't be good publicity for Lexmark; every story is explaining that the manufacturer's supplies are more expensive. That's got to have consumers thinking about buying from HP, or Epson, or whomever.

I think this is a classic case of shooting yourself in the foot, and then sueing for the privilege of doing so again.

Re:Not sure this is the wrong decision (1)

Blondie-Wan (559212) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407746)

I'm not sure I agree with your first paragraph, but I'm definitely in complete agreement with the rest of your post. As it happens, I'm in the market for a printer, and I was exploring various models and options. It's a tough decision; I'm almost grateful to Lexmark for making the decision process easier. Whatever printer I get now, it won't be a Lexmark.

Re:Not sure this is the wrong decision (4, Insightful)

slow_flight (518010) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407761)

And when exactly will you be informed that you are purchasing a printer that has a single supplier for refills? Do you suppose that there will be a big, screaming banner on the box stating that for now and forever you will be raped by overpriced single-source refills? Probably not.

Re:Not sure this is the wrong decision (1)

DonFinch (584056) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407794)

No, but it isn't difficult to look in the ink cartridge section and see if there are cartridges that fit the printer that arent the printer's brand.

OK but... (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407864)

Which printers have a label stating "Buy me because you can buy knock-off ink for cheaper than our own!"?

Re:Not sure this is the wrong decision (1)

SilentTristero (99253) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407881)

Well, if the review mags like CNet/ZDnet start pointing out that aftermarket refills don't work, and marking down those printers for it, that'll have an effect.

- Tristero

Re:Not sure this is the wrong decision (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407765)

While I'm certainly not a fan of the DMCA, I'm not sure this is a poor decision by the courts, etc. I think that it's probably reasonable for Lexmark to be able to forbid third-parties from selling supplies, if that's a business decision they want to make.


No, it's not. It's not reasonable for GM to put an additive in a GM-brand gas, and have GM cars only run on that. It's not reasonable for Lexmark to force you to use lexmark-brand ink.

Now, if they were to say that using 3rd-party ink violated the warranty, and detected that, so if you had a printer gunged up by a cheap knock-off ink they wouldn't replace it, then that's reasonable. But a blanket "you can't use it" isn't.

Re:Not sure this is the wrong decision (4, Insightful)

sweetooth (21075) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407796)

You are joking right? Have you looked at the prices of Epson or HP cartridges? They are horribly expensive just like the Lexmark supplies. Also, if companies like Lexmark are allowed to decide what manufacturers are allowed to sell supplies for thier printers what is to stop car manufacturers from forcing car buyers to purchase specific types of gasoline or oil? Sure it's not a perfect analogy but it's close enough. It should be the consumers right to use whatever supplies they want with thier printer. You did buy it after all. What's the next step? Only being allowed to you Lexmark approved paper in your printer? I'm sure it will only be 100-200% more than the bargain brand that you were using before.

This is exactly why I have an old HP LaserJet 4 Plus that I got off of ebay. Every once in a while the toner cartridge will need to be replaced, but for my needs I fill the cartridge once a year or so with a $14 refill kit. The last ink jet printer I had used ink like crazy, and if you didn't use all the ink up they dried out and you had to prelace them anyway. Color cartridges for the POS were $45 and the black cartridge was $35. I may as well have thrown the printer away and bought a new one every time at those prices.

Re:Not sure this is the wrong decision (5, Funny)

Alyeska (611286) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407935)

I may as well have thrown the printer away and bought a new one every time at those prices.

Some time ago, friends of mine here (in AK) began doing just that. They did the math, discovered it was cheaper to buy a new printer from [major membership-type warehouse outlet] each time a cartridge ran out. Perfectly good printers became targets for a wide variety of projectile weapons.

Re:Yes, Windows is a common term (1)

plugger (450839) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407809)

How is it reasonable for Lexmark to forbid others from operating in the refill market? It's not like they are preventing the sale of forged Lexmark products, rather they are trying to stop consumers reusing their cartridges.

Ford cannot stop other manufacturers offering alternative filter elements for their carburettors, for example. Why should a printer manufacturer be any different?

Re:Yes, Windows is a common term (3, Informative)

neitzsche (520188) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407886)

Have you ever had to replace a broken tail-light? Auto manufacturers *are* copyrighting their designs only to prevent competitors from providing inexpensive replacement parts.

Re:Not sure this is the wrong decision (1)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407878)

With the same mentality we could have Car manufactors forbid the use of their cars with 3rd party gas.

Without the right to reverse engineer, we wouldn't have off brands for automobile parts, we wouldn't have AMD CPUs.

Its not Lexmarks decision what people do with their products. The consumer owns them. Once the printer is sold, Lexmark should have not right to tell people what they can or can't do with their products.

Luckily this is only injuction and not a court case ruling. On one hand I want this injuction to stick to show our politicians that DMCA is overly broad and needs to be repealled. On the other hand if congress doesn't repeal it, it may be used as precedence for further court rulings.

Re:Not sure this is the wrong decision (4, Insightful)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407883)

Behold the awesome power of software - Anybody can make 3rd parts 'parts' to fit a commercial product, but just because now you put a 'smart' part in with copyright software it's suddenly a different world! You can't make those w/o a license, you can't even reverse engineer them anymore if there's some kind of 'protective' device you now have to circumvent. It's like I observed long ago about: if a product has a defective part, you can usually legally force the manufacturer to repair or replace it; but now if the product has defective software then pfft, you're screwed.

Re:Not sure this is the wrong decision (1)

horster (516139) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407901)

in other words -

don't you worry about the laws, little one, the market will decide in any case.

defeatism.

it may well be true that in this case the market will punish, and it also may be true that this decision was the correct interpretation of the law, but we should be no less concerned with the result or its ramifications.

think about what the post said, 'I think that it's probably reasonable for Lexmark to be able to forbid third-parties from selling supplies'. no - it is not at all reasonable for one manufacturer to control not only its product but an entire industry around it.

re: Lexmark (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407688)

Damn DMCA...

It is making it legal to challenge competition. This whole situation with Lexmark is a perfect example of them using the DMCA as a way to dicourage competition in the market.

And I just bought a Lexmark printer too, damn.

That's it... (4, Funny)

rnturn (11092) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407691)

...I'm gonna start looking for a used DECwriter for my printing needs. Let's see 'em put some damned chip in a printer ribbon sool.

DIE DMCA! DIE!

Wish HP would create a universal cartridge (5, Interesting)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407694)

I wish HP would create a universal cartridge, that just held ink. The head were separate.

Would keep inc prices low, hence make their products enticing... and they can keep whatever patents they want to themselves.

A cartridge should just hold ink.

Re:Wish HP would create a universal cartridge (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407748)

Ah, but they can't make money that way! This way, like a drug addict or game addict or any addict, they keep you coming back for more! uNF uNF!

Damn companies, screwing the american people...If only we could stop them =P

Re:Wish HP would create a universal cartridge (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407769)

Ink would be cheap, printers would be expensive.

Only reason you can get a good color photo-quality printer for 100 bucks or so is because the printheads are disposable.

If you had seperate heads and cartridges, and one day you're getting white streaks in your printout, do you replace the ink, the heads, or both? It would make it a little bit more of a hassle.

I do agree it would be nice if carts just held ink. Or a built in reservoir on the printer that you just refill from a squeeze bottle (and holds more than 20 pages worth of hi-res color)

Boycott Lexmark (5, Insightful)

kingsqueak (18917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407698)

Simple, don't buy their products any longer. If people stay informed and boycott the manufacturer's that try to rope us into monopolistic situations they might hesitate next time.

Re:Boycott Lexmark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407919)

Boycott Lexmark? Lexmark is the AOL of printers, you get it because it looks like a good deal. Then when you realize how retarded you were for doing so little research you toss it out. Lexmark isn't planning on repeat customers.

A Rebttal? (4, Funny)

phraktyl (92649) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407702)

Being the responsible /. user I am, I quickly googled for rebttal to shed some light on this obviously new technology. Google, however, pointed out that what the poster meant was *rental*.

So, from the original story, the SCC has a rental site that warrents checking out. I'm not sure how they mean to make a profit on renting out ink cartridges, but more power to them!

Re:A Rebttal? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407774)

"the SCC has a rental site that warrents checking out."

I like how you mock them for a typo and then misspell "warrants", despite the fact that it's spelled correctly in the story, which should make for an easy reference.

Way to go.

You're missing the point (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407711)

Lexmark owns the technology for their printing systems. _They_ developed how ink gets spit out and put on the paper. _They_ are the ones who developed the drivers for their machines.

_They_ did not give permission for anyone else to manufacture a product which will work with their printers. That would mean licensing which is not taking place.

If you don't like a businesses policies, don't buy from them. Don't bitch at them when they're trying to protect something _they_ developed.

Re:You're missing the point (2, Insightful)

umofomia (639418) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407790)

_They_ did not give permission for anyone else to manufacture a product which will work with their printers. That would mean licensing which is not taking place.
But Lexmark doesn't have a patent on their cartridges, so this doesn't apply. Anyone should be able to manufacture a competing product.

Re:You're missing the point (2, Interesting)

sapone (152094) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407824)

And who says that I need approval to produce products that interoperate with the products of another manufacturer? That's so silly, it's as if a hammer manufacturer could force you to buy his (overpriced) nails if you bought his (cheap) hammer. The market just doesn't work that way. Things like this are a recent development, and there is no absolutely no justification for it. When someone sells me something, he gives up his rights on it, and it should be my own choice how and with what I use ist. And it should be other peoples' choice to produce that with which I might want to use the item I bought...

America is a strange country...

Re:You're missing the point (3, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407902)

I hope you use only GM oil filters, GM oil, GM air filters, and none of those illegal third party auto parts in your car.

After all, GM developed their engines.

Printing is sooooo last centery. (3, Insightful)

Znonymous Coward (615009) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407715)

I mean seriously, why do people cling to such an outdated technology? When it comes to documents why not just print to PDF and email it?

Read it on the screen people, not on paper!

Re:Printing is sooooo last centery. (5, Funny)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407757)

Because my monitor is too heavy to bring on the train. And there's no plugs.

I guess I could tape a printout to the monitor, and put the monitor on a cart of some kind... Oh wait, we don't want to print.

I guess I could read the pdf and commit it to memory. D'oh, but another person can't read my mind (at least since I lined my toque with tinfoil).

Well, I'm out of ideas...

Re:Printing is sooooo last centery. (0, Troll)

Znonymous Coward (615009) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407811)

Quit being cheap and buy a notebook.

Re:Printing is sooooo last centery. (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407792)

I dont get email on the shitter..... yet.

Re:Printing is sooooo last centery. (2, Insightful)

Leto2 (113578) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407813)

My first reaction was to mod you down as a troll, but instead I'll reply.

  • It's hard to read a PDF when you printed directions to take with you in your car
  • The embassy that I'm applying for a visa at doesn't take PDFs, just paper
  • While I know that PDF has the capability of editing in place, I still prefer a pen and paper when it comes to proofreading dodumentation
  • The vi quick ref card that I printed and put up next to my monitor is more useful than switching to the webpage everytime I forget an option.

Just 4 things I printed just this morning...

Re:Printing is sooooo last centery. (1)

Znonymous Coward (615009) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407865)

Those are all good points. I guess I'm just thinking in StarTrek terms where everything is done on a PDA like device.

Re:Printing is sooooo last centery. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407855)

centery?

Apparently so is spellcheck.

Re:Printing is sooooo last centery. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407887)

Aparently, so is your momma. Bi-otch!

Re:Printing is sooooo last centery. (1)

stonedCoder (650101) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407893)

... and don't forget PDF is AWFUL! acrobat is so damn clunky.

Re:Printing is sooooo last centery. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407929)

Fine then print it out on your precious paper and jack off all over it for all we care.

Open market forces at their finest (1)

mfago (514801) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407716)

Oh wait...nevermind.

In other news: HP buys Gillette

Ink is the only thing that HP makes money on these days. I wouldn't be surprised if inkjets become disposable soon. Gillette has this racket down pat.

Re:Open market forces at their finest (1)

rbolkey (74093) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407781)

HP, at least, already treats their inkjets as disposable. Just try finding new drivers from HP for products that are more than three (estimate) years old.

I have a HP720, which had some special features with the HP driver, but they stopped updating them at win98 (no 2000, ME or XP). Purchased it in 98 when it was still on the top part of the product line.

You can still refill (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407717)

I have a Lexmark Z42, and I generally refill the cartridges with ink 4 or 5 times before the printhead gunks up to the point it needs replacing (black lasts a bit longer).

The printheads are 'disposable', they eventually clog with ink. This makes recycled cartridges worthless to me, since the printhead is oftentimes half gunked, and you get smudges and missing color, etc..

I've tried 3rd party replacement carts, and frankly the quality isnt there. They smear and leave white lines, or dont saturate the page enough..

While I think it sucks that they wont allow 3rd parties to make cartridges, it's no big loss because I've yet to find anything that matches the quality of the originals anyways.

Re:You can still refill (1)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407820)

I wonder if they could be cleaned ultrasonically.

Re:You can still refill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407838)

Epson printers don't have printheads in thier cartridges, just ink. Consider buying one.

As a tradeoff, they go through a cleaning process when you turn them on. Can last upwards of 5 minutes. There's a huge absorbing pad in the bottom of the printer where all the extra ink used for cleaning goes to. It might need replacing after awhile.

Re:You can still refill (1)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407880)


The printheads are 'disposable', they eventually clog with ink.

Try cleaning the print head carefully with a swap and rubbing alcohol. The goop you clean off isn't just ink, it's also paper fibers. An old employer had a Xerox inkjet fax machine. I'd refill the unit and swab the heads. Out of curiosity I put a label on the side of the unit and would "tick" whenver I refilled. The thing had almost reached 40 refills when it started to misfire.

Wouldn't this lend itself to a new business model. (2)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407718)

Create a good printer with an open spec on cartridges and make them refillable (sell the refill kits). It's better for consumers, it's better for the environment and the printer company can still make good profits.

Oh wait, I forgot all businesses (especially HP who makes enormous profit off cartridges) are essentially C. Montgomery Burns. If they could block the sun, they would.

Yes, this is fair... (4, Insightful)

Sgs-Cruz (526085) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407720)

Because paying things like $40 [officedepot.com] (American that is... try like $60 up here in Canada) for a stinking ink cartridge is the most fair thing in the world. As long as there the third-party companies are not using the original companies name on their ink-cartridge, I don't see how they're breaking the law. Ford and GM have all the rights in the world to sell high-priced replacement parts, but people are perfectly free to use cheap Taiwanese replacements. The Big Three combat this using a thing called Marketing.

If the genuine Lexmark ink cartridges are that good, then they shouldn't have a problem convincing people to buy genuine ones. Oh wait... the ink cartridges are only expensive because of an artificial monopoly on replacement parts? Not because they're actually that good? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Good News for Dell (5, Informative)

crow (16139) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407726)

This is good news for Dell. They'll be selling their own printers in about a month, and anything that makes other manufacturers look bad will help them gain marketshare. What will be interesting is to see how Dell plays in the ink cartridge business. Will they try to be like everyone else, or will they try to do to ink prices what they've done to PC prices?

Re:Good News for Dell (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407786)

Is Dell selling their own design of printers are are they just rebadging an existing manufacturer? I know that they were selling Lexmark inkjet printers recently.

Re:Good News for Dell (1)

SwissCheese (571510) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407918)

The Dell printers are indeed rebadged Lexmark's.

Re:Good News for Dell (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407849)

Dell? Home of the $200 128MB memory upgrade? Don't count on Dell selling cheap ink.

Re:Good News for Dell (1)

sweetooth (21075) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407899)

I thought Dell was getting thier printers manufactured by Lexmark?

Regardless, Dell over prices EVERYTHING, I don't see how ink would be any differant.

Fair play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407728)

I want to buy a printer and I want to pay for it. Then I want to buy ink from an manufacturer that has an attractive price.

What printer should I buy?

Re:Fair play (1)

Znonymous Coward (615009) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407785)

If you have M$ windows, try this: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/main.html

If you have Mac OS X this functionally is already included. http://www.apple.com/macosx/jaguar/quartzextreme.h tml

Who owns what? (1)

$beirdo (318326) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407731)

Once again, I believe that when I buy something, I own it. Does this now mean that if I build my own toner cartridge it's illegal for me to install it in my own printer?

How long until it's illegal to run my own code on my own hardware?

Don't Print (1)

Mars Hill (583512) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407732)

Honestly, printing has become useless. Just email everything, deliver PDFs, or if worse occurs, use public printing services for 5 cents a page. Waste not want not.

Re:Don't Print (0)

st0rmcold (614019) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407856)

Hehe, don't expect public service printing to stay at same price if the cartridges go up my friend, it's a domino effect.

I'll never buy another lexmark printer (5, Interesting)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407736)

I bought their Optra C710 color laser about a year. I thought I was getting a deal at $1200, but it is the worst printer I have ever owned.

It came with all toner cartridges only 25% filled. This was not mentioned anywhere on the box or on the web site where I ordered.

The printer has actually functioned maybe half of the time that we've owned it. Two on-site service calls later, and we're still having problems:

  • Why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam?
  • "Coating roll life warning" and "transfer belt warning" come up all the time, even right after fresh ones are installed
  • Duplexing option jams on every 100th sheet
  • Print often seems to stick to the transfer belt and gets "ghosted" onto subsequent pages
  • The printer just disappears from the network at least once per day and needs a hard reboot


In contrast, our HP laserjet has NEVER missed a beat. Look I know this is not a representative sample or anything, but there are clearly DESIGN flaws with this printer and it should not be on the market. Even after multiple service calls it does not work.

Re:I'll never buy another lexmark printer (0)

freeefalln (541648) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407801)

Why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam?

Did anyone else automatically get a mental picture of Samir from Office Space when they read that?

Re:I'll never buy another lexmark printer (1)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407913)


It came with all toner cartridges only 25% filled.

Actually that's not uncommon. Many manufacturers give the purchaser a small amount of ink|toner so they can start using the printer immediately and avoid the sticker-shock of a new cartridge.

Never! (1)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407739)

I refuse to pay these exorbitant ink prices! Fortunately my HP is old enough that the cartridge isn't chipped.

I'll drill holes in the cartridge and buy ink in bulk if I have to.

At work, we use arrays of inkjet cartridges to print names and addresses on high-volume web presses. They line up four of them, pull of the ink reservoir, and snap on a tube running to a bucket of ink. Works great.

This is really lame... (4, Insightful)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407744)

The suit is being filed under the DMCA because they circumvented the sensor on the printer.

How the hell do these toner cartridges affect the printer manufacturer's copyright? DMCA is supposed to be about protecting so-called intellectual property. That clearly is NOT the use to which it is being put here.

What's next? My "Check Engine Soon" light will be programmed to come on from time to time and the on-board computer will make the car run badly until the proper "reset" signal is used? And don't try to figure out the reset code yourself - you'd be in violation of the DMCA!

Don't buy a volvo.... (1)

Ummagumma (137757) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407873)

What's next? My "Check Engine Soon" light will be programmed to come on from time to time and the on-board computer will make the car run badly until the proper "reset" signal is used? And don't try to figure out the reset code yourself - you'd be in violation of the DMCA!

Let me guess, you own a late model Volvo? I would *swear* mine did this to me from time to time - I'd have to take it in, they would reset the light, and give me some BS story about some small stupid (and probably non-existant) problem...

Ink Usage (1)

lilbudda (625254) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407751)

The same people who complain about the cost of ink are the same people who buy SUVs and complain about the cost of gas. Print in draft mode people, that's what it's there for.

So this is an opportunity for a Lexmark competitor (1)

rindeee (530084) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407762)

While I am sure HP won't do this, a Minolta or the like could sell their wares based on the fact that inexspensive third party cartridges are available for them. As a prospective buyer, I would definitely see this as a plus. Lexmark's doing this is like Ford making you buy Ford branded gasoline or tires for your car. It's crap, it's a step backward and it'll hurt them in the long run.

That'll put the hurt on (1)

vizualizr (462581) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407772)

That news could seriously impact my habit of printing and obsessively compulsively filing hard copies of every Slashdot story I read.

this is ridiculous! (2, Insightful)

countzer0interrupt (628930) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407778)

"In other news, General Motors win a successful injunction against Michelin for producing replacement tyres for their cars. Now only GM's proprietary brands may be used..."

Surely this must be anti-competitive? If a company providing the hardware has exclusive rights over parts needed to use that hardware, then they have a monopoly in the sense they can charge WTF they like for those consumables. It's ludicrous.

But then again, maybe market forces will decide this one... people will usually move away from the restrictive rip-off brands, as long as there is an alternative.

rebttal or rebuttal (1)

gokulpod (558749) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407814)

rebuttal : the act of rebutting especially in a legal suit; also : argument or proof that rebuts

Great... (1)

QwkHyenA (207573) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407817)

If this works just right, within a few years you'll be required to go to your original car dealership to have them replace tires & windshield wipers.

Oh no! (3, Funny)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407821)

The lowest quality brand of printer on the market has decided that people can't copy their cartridges!

What's next?

Will it be illegal to make generic versions of RC Cola?

Illegal to make work-alikes to "No-Ad" sunblock?

No one will be able to make anything that looks like a Ford Pinto [bob2000.com] ? Or one of these cars? [uglycars.co.uk]

What is this world coming to!

Well, at least I can still buy Tandy 5000 [attrition.org] compatible computers.

DMCA prevents recycling, refilling (1)

skintigh2 (456496) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407825)

Gotta love it. What a great law. Anyway, here is another article about it: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/29526.html Sorry, for some reason html formatting wont work.

A wet dream for firms to build artificial monopoly (3, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407831)

Exepect such chips to appear in every kind of items where you have consummable, or additional part needed. Now that a judgement has been upholded that you can use the DMCA to stamp out somebody making a cheaper replacement, you can artificially make your own monopoly. Buy Ford Tire ? We have this new chip we check for air pressure in it ! Secure and stuff. You want to replace it ? Oh, bad luck you have to do it at our condition in a ford garage. Oh, and don't try to put another tire the car won't start (security check on tire pressure fail).

We do not live in republic or democracy we live in a Corporatocracy.

Toner and Ink Cartridge spam (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407841)

from the toner-cartridge-spam-suddenly-more-useful dept.

Yeah, I'm just looking forward to that, let me tell you. There was some great parody of this kind of thing in Bloom County, years ago [Dr. Oliver's Cat Sweat Hair Tonic] where a cheap commodity goes through the roof due to restricted supply. I suppose this injunction will lead to buying printer ink kits through the mail, from Mexico or Canada, disguised as urinalysis kits to skirt the DMCA.

now wait just a minute! (1)

germinatoras (465782) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407850)

I'm not one to support the DMCA, but to "...start a trust fund" for toner cartriages? Give me a break. I mean, come on - there's still plenty of competiton out there for laser printers in the first place. Even if you are the owner of a Lexmark printer, they still have a reason to keep costs reasonable so that you won't jump ship to an HP LaserJet.

Having said that, I think that SSC's reply is very reasonable and worth supporting. They are asking for specific exemption to the DMCA which would really help independent research or cloning for competing products in specific instances.

Re:now wait just a minute! (0)

math0ne (567591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407890)

I don't know man what do you consider reasonable, lexmark inkjet carts are 50$ canadian at staples... that seems pretty unreasonable.

Microsoft may want to get into inkjet printer biz. (0)

zymano (581466) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407866)

After this ruling, why not?

Does OSAMA work at the patent office?

What a sad state of affairs (1)

saphena (322272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407868)

It's at times like this that I take some comfort in not being american.

The DMCA is increasingly bringing the entire concept of Law into disrepute, challenging even the USPTO's unenviable reputation for crass stupidity.

How can anyone build a framework of laws which, on the one hand (anti-trust), tries to constrain monopolies and, on the other hand (DMCA), protects those very monopolies from the inadequacy of their own protection mechanisms?

As, I believe, I've said before, the DMCA is an absurd proposition in the first place, it appears to work as follows:-

Corporation X owns some intellectual property Y.
X asserts either copyright and/or patent rights to Y thereby making it illegal for others to "steal".
Not everyone else is law-abiding so X devises a technical mechanism Z to prevent theft.
Some law-breakers are smarter than X and find a way round Z.
The DMCA makes it illegal for the law breakers, who ignored the first law, to bypass Z.

Problem solved? Will all the law-breakers suddenly think "oh, this'll mean breaking two laws not one, so I won't do it!"

I don't think so. My only real worry though is that we'll probably have similar acts of legal stupidity here in the UK sooner or later.

From their rebuttal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5407874)

"Computer programs embedded in a machine or product and which cannot be copied during the ordinary operation or use of the machine or product."

Sweet. So not only are they pushing to allow third party toner cartriges, they're also in favor of mod chips.

Stockpiling old hardware (1)

n1ywb (555767) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407884)

Who says that old computer is junk? The day may come when you can't buy a new computer without DRM and case screws with RFID tags that notify the manufacturer whenever you take the cover off. I guess I'll hang on to my old LaserJet III.

On the up side, maybe if this law becomes widespread, I won't get any more toner cartradge spam.

Why did they want these two categories exempted? (1)

Sydney Weidman (187981) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407921)

I'm not sure I understand how these points relate directly to the printer cartridge issue. Is there anyone who can enlighten me?

This one, for instance, seems to refer to computer programs that cannot be copied. What does copying computer programs during the ordinary operation of a machine have to do with printer technology?

  • Computer programs embedded in a machine or product and which cannot be copied during the ordinary operation or use of the machine or product.

This one seems even more obscure. Why would it be important that the programs do not otherwise control the performance, display or reproduction of copyrighted works? Does this draw a distinction between software or firmware that is capable of the display of proprietary information for the purposes of reverse engineering, and software which is only used to perform a compatible function without aiding in reverse engineering? Gah!! I am obviously not a lawyer. Anyone else know?

  • Computer programs embedded in a machine or product connected thereto, but that do not otherwise control the performance, display or reproduction of copyrighted works that have an independent economic significance.

Its stupid, but... (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407928)

I think this is incredibly dumb on Lexmark's part; as if I'm legally obligated to uphold their business model.

Nonetheless, I think the smartest thing to do at this point is to stop buying lexmark printers.

If some of you work for small or large companies, just pass over Lexmark and choose HP, Xerox, or a host of other companies that aren't doing this kind of crazy, self-defeating costly nonsense.

If money is the only thing a company understands, then don't give them any more.

Lexmark Shooting Itself In the Foot, Really... (2, Interesting)

ausoleil (322752) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407931)

...right now, they are concerned about the cash cow of their printers. They specifically designed a machine that requires their own cartridges and then candied it over with claims of higher quality, etc. Even the average consumer knows better than that -- they created a system that hides behind litigation to protect their market share.

That's fine, but the market will have the last word -- for example, I will not buy a Lexmark printer. It won't be because of a political statement of any kind but rather one based on practicality -- they have increased their total cost of ownership to the point where it doesn't make sense for me to go and purchase their gear.

If ongoing consumables gets to be unreasonable, due to a legally mandated monopoly, people will move away from existing installations as well.

Dot Matrix! (4, Funny)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#5407946)

I'm telling you man, it's the printer of the future! You don't have to replace ink! It tells you when your printing has start, and finished through an excellent system of horrible screeching! You can buy a box of paper and never have to reload a tray! Plus, you get alot of extra strips of paper with the perforated tracks, which you can use to make nests for some of the local fauna!

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