HP ink cartridges have made the main news headlines this week as a USA legal court case has began.
HP are being sued in the US by a Georgian women who believes the HP ink cartridge is programmed to instruct the printer of low ink levels, therefore needing a replacement even when there is still sufficient ink levels to continue printing. Every ink cartridge and inkjet cartridge contains a chip which has many tasks, one of which is to share the ink level readings of that ink cartridge. The printer will then inform the user, who can then purchase a new inkjet cartridge to complete the print job.
The controversial issue arises with the claim that the chip’s are designed to stop working according to specific time scales rather than ink levels remaining in the inkjet cartridge.
The Georgian women states that this technology has been in place from February 2001 in all ink cartridges and toner cartridges that HP have manufactured. She is seeking damages for the losses in HP ink cartridges she has purchased from the date mentioned. As a business owner these costs would be substantial. Printer running costs can be very high as we all know.
We are seeing more and more cases going through the legal system from both sides of the argument. OEM ink cartridge manufacturers have been sueing third party inkjet cartridge manufacturers for copyright breach. Third party ink cartridge producers have increase their share in the market which has not been welcome by brands such as Epson, HP, Dell, Brother and Canon. Lexmark have been successful in securing injunctions that prevented third party inkjet cartridges manufacturers from developing cartridges for some of their printers. But these were only temporary injunctions which only delay the problem for Lexmark.
Epson and HP have managed to stop rival manufacturers from developing chips for their ink cartridges, which effectively means the whole inkjet cartridge. Despite these small victories for the OEM producers they are losing the war. Compatible inkjet cartridges and re-manufactured ink cartridges account for 30% of the market. A big increase in the general usage may will come as a worrying statistic for all the OEM brands. This figure is only likely to increase as the global recession continues. Price over rules quality in such times, therefore compatible ink cartridges will be the more attractive option for business owners and directors.