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Printer Supplies: Getting it Right

4 Sep, 2014 By: David Gibbons

A battle of ideology has begun over the definition of “clone” printer cartridges. The Recycler trade magazine—one of the printer cartridge industry’s finest with more than 260 editions under its belt—“is definitely pro-remanufacturing.” That’s good. However, they have lumped all other aftermarket products together—legal and illegal, non-infringing and infringing—indicating: “As to the difference between a clone and a patent-free new cartridge, who really cares?”

But actually, many do care – the OEM, the recharger, the dealer and the distributor.

Some exhibitors—who believe they have non-infringing, new-built products to sell—are asking themselves, “Will the Frankfurt RemanExpo@PaperWorld be a somewhat hostile environment come January?”

I, too, denounce the wrongful copying of an OEM’s intellectual property, particularly when these offensive products are dumped onto markets at lower-than-cost prices. And those who sell off aftermarket products (both remanufactured and new built) as fake OEM brands, deserve to be caught and jailed (the OEMs are inviting the legitimate aftermarket—those who remanufacture and manufacture non-infringing cartridges and components—to join the Imaging Supplies Coalition’s fight against fraudulent, counterfeit compatibles in Las Vegas this September 15-16).

However, there has been an aftermarket shake-up with the global Canon lawsuits and complaints this year. It’s apparent that there is no Get Out of Jail Free card for remanufacturers who are using patent infringing, new-built components just because they are running a “right-to-rebuild” business. Clearly, both remanufacturers and manufacturers of new-built cartridges must respect the intellectual property of the OEMs.

Acknowledge a change

There needs to be some change in our thinking about the aftermarket.  Both the OEMs and the aftermarket clearly acknowledge the right for each other to exist.  However, the aftermarket is currently divided into remanufactured products and “cloned” products.

It’s clear now that both may be infringing.

The aftermarket should be more correctly divided into legal, non-infringing products (which includes both remanufactured and legal new-built) and illegal, infringing products (which also includes remanufactured and new-built).

Let’s get rid of the “clone” label which is both legally inaccurate and confusing. Dolly the sheep must be bleating in her grave.  It’s time we get it right.  There needs to be some change in our thinking about the aftermarket. 

David Gibbons is Director, Publisher & Producer for the Recycling Times Media Corporation, based in China.  Recycling Times magazine is in English, Spanish and Chinese monthly, in addition, more information, and on their annual trade shows RemaxAsia in China, and RT Imaging Summit in the USA, may be found at http://www.irecyclingtimes.com

About the Author: David Gibbons

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