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Just a Minute: Taking Out the Stick

4 Aug, 2013 By: David Gibbons

Two events during the last month have given cause for me to revisit the printer cartridge clones issue: first, implementation of the US general exclusion order (GEO); and, second, the Focus on Europe Conference in Vienna.

Most of us, including myself, have been very quick to “take the stick” out to those Chinese companies who (and, not all do) steal the intellectual property of the OEMs by simply copying the original cartridge. It’s true these compatible clones are a blot on the copybook of the legitimate aftermarket industry that exercises its right to repair used printer cartridges. It would appear that “copyright” means the “right” to “copy” in the thinking of some perpetrators!

My former homeland, Australia, like so many other countries, has lost its cartridge remanufacturing industry due to clone cartridge imports—which are cheaper than the cost of remanufacturing empty cartridges.

For this reason, I applaud the work being done by ETIRA in Europe to educate supply channels on the legal and technical pitfalls of using clone cartridges. I applaud the recent GEO which will help Canon, HP and all OEMs, as well as all remanufacturers worldwide, claim back some of the market share they lost to clones in the U.S. I applaud the stance of suppliers like Static Control who will not sell components to those making clones.

BUT…what about the “demand” for cloned cartridges? Surely the reason for the “supply” is that there is a “demand”. This is Economics 101. Surely there would not be any “supply”, if there were no “demand!” Should we not be “taking the stick” out to those remanufacturers and distributors who purchase, trade and resell clones? Is this an important part of the equation we have chosen to ignore?

Yes, by all means, “take the stick” to those who are providing the supply, and at such ridiculous prices, too. But let’s get just as tough and fight those who are creating the demand as well. In my view, the latest GEO, and sharp presentations—like that of MSE’s Senior Vice President, Luke Goldberg, at Focus on Europe—will do that.

David Gibbons is an Australian who has been a school principal, TV and radio broadcaster, and also has run his own imaging supplies business. He is currently based in Zhuhai China as a Director of Recycling Times Media in publishing, broadcasting and events. Website http://www.irecyclingtimes.com

About the Author: David Gibbons

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