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Epson vs. The World of Remanufactured Ink Cartridges

There has been a lot of activity in the world of remanufactured ink cartridges. Epson has filed various patent lawsuits against 24 distributors and retailers including the big names like Staples & NineStar, 123InkJets. Remember the Print-Rite-branded Epson-compatibles?

Manufacturers of after-market Epsons now fall in a different category. Distributors have certain rules they have to follow:

This summarizes the Court Order called a "General Exclusion Order and Cease and Desist Order". The order does not bar imports or resale of non-infringing cartridges, like non-infringing refilled cartridges. Resellers should be cautious, however, to avoid liability by noting the following legal parameters:

1) Refilling an infringing cartridge, like an infringing aftermarket cartridge, still results in another infringing cartridge.
2) Refilled cartridges that were Epson branded cartridges must have been first sold by Epson to consumers in the United States. A "first sale" exception to patent law allows the resale of refilled patented devices that were first sold in the United States by the patent holder. Cartridges that were first sold by Epson to consumers outside the United States and refilled by a third party still infringe Epson's patents. Epson officials have observed that some suppliers commingle cartridges first sold by Epson in the United States with cartridges first sold to consumers outside the United States in identical packaging, so resellers cannot reliably avoid liability for patent infringement.
3) The refilling process must be limited to legally permissible repair to restore the cartridge to usable condition, but the cartridges cannot be completely reconstructed. Legally permissible repair includes refilling the ink, resetting the IC chip, removing or covering Epson labels, and repackaging.
4) Refilled cartridges must be prominently described at point of sale and on packaging as "refilled" or "remanufactured." Any Epson trademarks must be removed so consumers cannot be misled into believing that the cartridges were refilled or approved by Epson.

We understand Epson has rights to their product designs, all 750 of them. But why the hell are they so expensive? This is why manufacturers have created compatibles. Be fair, sell Epson printers at a fair price, not at cost or at a loss, in order for them to gouge consumers on their ink cartridges.

Well, Epson has taken their ink cartridge business back, or a piece of it. We at InkCloners.com sell what the industry now calls "remanufactured" Epson ink cartridges. Our term cloned ink cartridges encompasses remanufactured and compatible or knock-off products.