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U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Lexmark Case 220

Posted by Zonk
from the tough-break dept.
wallykeyster writes " The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Lexmark's petition for certiorari in its long and bitter battle against North Carolina-based Static Control Components (SCC). For those out of the loop on this one, Lexmark tried to lock in consumers and lock out competition by adding code to their printers and toner cartridges so that only Lexmark toners would work. SSC defeated their monopolist technology and began selling the off-brand chips to aftermarket toner cartridge makers. As discussed here earlier, in mid-February Lexmark was dealt a defeat by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, who denied Lexmark's request for a rehearing. Other related threads here, here, here, here, and here." The story is on the AP Newswire as well.
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U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Lexmark Case

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @10:56AM (#12746795) Homepage Journal
    It sounds like Lexmark thought they could pull a Nintendo [answers.com] with their authorization chip. Only, there happens to be a few things wrong with their approach:

    • Nintendo had a patent on their authentication chip. This afforded them significantly more protection than the DMCA clauses that Lexmark is attempting to use.
    • Nintendo licensed the chip to third parties, thus negating a need for reverse engineering. Lexmark is attempting to erect an artificial barrier against competitors, which a court is unlikely to find very sporting. (That's why you *always* look to be in a market with a set of *natural* barriers. Then no one can claim that you're being anti-competitive.)
    • The DMCA does not completely rule out reverse engineering. [harvard.edu] It just reigns it in to a razor thin line. The specific clauses actually work against Lexmark due to the issue that no other method has been made available for interoperability.


    The specific clause from the DMCA is thus:
    (f) Reverse Engineering. -

    * (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), a person who has lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of a computer program may circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a particular portion of that program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing those elements of the program that are necessary to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and that have not previously been readily available to the person engaging in the circumvention, to the extent any such acts of identification and analysis do not constitute infringement under this title.
    * (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a)(2) and (b), a person may develop and employ technological means to circumvent a technological measure, or to circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure, in order to enable the identification and analysis under paragraph (1), or for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, if such means are necessary to achieve such interoperability, to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title.

    * (3) The information acquired through the acts permitted under paragraph (1), and the means permitted under paragraph (2), may be made available to others if the person referred to in paragraph (1) or (2), as the case may be, provides such information or means solely for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title or violate applicable law other than this section.

    * (4) For purposes of this subsection, the term ''interoperability'' means the ability of computer programs to exchange information, and of such programs mutually to use the information which has been exchanged.


    I'm not a lawyer (duh), but my reading of this says that the case of Compaq reverse engineering the PC BIOS would have also been legal, as long as they didn't publish their findings. (Which I believe that they did.)

    It's important to understand that Congress intended the DMCA to protect digital anti-theft devices, not stop users from using their own software. The issue at hand is that the law was written before the full implications of computer technology and copyrights were fully understood. The bright side is that the actions of the MPAA, RIAA, and Adobe have gone quite a ways toward demonstrating how the market planned to abuse the law. While I doubt that we'll see the DMCA repealed, I seriously doubt we'll be seeing any new restrictions any time soon.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:09AM (#12746932)
      The scope of the DMCA appears to have been substantially narrowed by a case decided by the Federal Circuit. I'm not a lawyer (2 more months to go), but I think the Chamberlain Group case is a more important decision in terms of DMCA law, than Lexmark. Though the concurrence by Judge Merritt in the 6th Circuit decision in Lexmark goes much farther than the majority opinion did.

      The Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Skylink Technologies, Inc., 381 F.3d 1178 (Fed. Cir. 2004). at Findlaw: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?c ourt=fed&navby=case&no=041118 [findlaw.com]

      Lexmark Int'l, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc. at findlaw: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/6th/0354 00p.pdf [findlaw.com]
    • Perhaps I'm reading it wrong, but doesn't para 3 specifically allow the person who has acquired the information in paras 1 and 2 to publish those findings? From what you've pasted here, I see hardly any prohibitve language except the "as long as it does not constitute infringement" stuff.
      • Again, I'm not a lawyer, but I believe that paragraph 3 is a very tricky restriction to meet. The information you provide to others may violate standard copyright law (e.g. The PC BIOS calls may have been considered a unique work unto themselves, thus a copyrightable thing.), or may violate other restrictions of the DMCA, especially as they relate to the details of the encryption device.
    • I am not sure the patent on the authentication chip had anything to do with it whatsoever.

      Don't forget these other important facts:

      * Nintendo is using their DRM technology to protect copyrighted software. Lexmark is using it to lock out competitors from using ink, which is not copyrightable.
      * A gaming console is a mechanism for playing games. The value of a game is contained on the copyrighted media. The game console checks for violations prior to playing the game. A printer is not simply a mechanism
  • by Benanov (583592)
    Well, that's another tooth pulled from the DMCA. Unfortunately the process of judicial review is slow...
    • Note that this does not say anything about the DMCA. The DMCA has not been struck down or restricted. The Court refused to hear an appeal, thereby letting a decision stand which prevented a specific company from collecting in a specific lawsuit about its toner cartridges.

      The Court refuses the vast majority of petitions it gets. It may simply feel that it is too busy, and the case was likely decided correctly. This does not mean that any other parties can ignore the DMCA, and I hope the slashdot populat
      • Well it does create a standing the you cannot be successfully sued due to reverse engineering for interoperability to sell a competing product that does not break copyright.
        • True. But the point is that the Court gave no information about exactly what grounds it refused cert on. It could be that the case looked correct, and they had a big backlog (they always do, and hear maybe 1% in general).

          That said, this should give confidence to refurbished cartridge manufacturers, and maybe printer makers will have to move to a new business model (such as selling both printers and cartridges at a reasonable profit margin, or accepting cartridges for recycling themselves).

        • Well it does create a standing the you cannot be successfully sued due to reverse engineering for interoperability to sell a competing product that does not break copyright.

          The word you're looking for is "precedent," and it only applies in that circuit.
    • Nay! (Score:4, Informative)

      by BlueUnderwear (73957) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:25AM (#12747099)
      Well, that's another tooth pulled from the DMCA. Unfortunately the process of judicial review is slow...

      But eventually it will reach its end. And then the DMCA is gone. That's because your (the US) constitution in on your side. Indeed, the US clearly states that authors and inventors should only be granted "exclusive rights" if that promotes the Progress of Science and useful Arts. That's a good thing.

      Now imagine you had a constitution which would grant intellectual property owners unconditional protection. Imagine, that instead of saying ... to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. it just said intellectual property shall be protected period!

      In that case, you'd be up shit creek without a paddle fighting the DMCA.

      Now imagine you had a choice. Imagine you were asked to either accept such a flawed constitution or to reject it. Would you accept it?

      Now, imagine that Bush threatened to resign if the constitution containing such a paragraph was rejected, saying in no uncertain terms that it would be a matter of common political decency to resign rather than be president of a country where intellectual property would not be protected 100%. Would you still reject the constitution? Or would you be cowed into accepting such a flawed document, for fear of losing your beloved president? Or would you rather rejoice at the prospect of having an easy way to ditch that village idiot ;-)?

      In the next couple of months millions of EU citizens will be offered this choice. Millions of others won't be asked. If you are among the lucky ones that have a referendum, chose wisely. The EU constitution does indeed say, in article II.77.2, that intellectual property shall be protected. Nothing else. No limits to institutional greed. Some still think that it is in their best interest to say yes. Don't be fooled, and read the treaty before you sign it. The French and Dutch already have made up their mind.

      Europe yes, but not with this constitution!

      • Re:Nay! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by misterpies (632880)
        Not the whole story. Unlike the US Constitution, the European Constitution also has consumer protection (II 98) and anti-trust clauses (III-161 to III-169) and the whole needs to be read together.

        So if the EU constitution was passed it would be _unconstitutional_ for companies to engage in competition-distorting practices.

        Remember that there's very little new in the Euro Constitution. Almost all of it - including IP protection and antitrust measures (see e.g. articles 81-86 of the EC treaty) - is lifted
      • Now, imagine that Bush threatened to resign if the constitution containing [a paragraph granting blanket authority to enforce monopolies on works of authorship and inventions] was rejected, saying in no uncertain terms that it would be a matter of common political decency to resign rather than be president of a country where intellectual property would not be protected 100%. [A.] Would you still reject the constitution? Or [B.] would you be cowed into accepting such a flawed document, for fear of losing yo

  • by guyfromindia (812078) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @10:59AM (#12746819) Homepage
    Perhaps someone could manufacture a disposable printer? Then, they dont have to worry about cartridges, etc.. In fact, I find it cheaper to buy a new printer than mess with cartriges (i.e. if I use the Manufacturer's cartridge - not after marktet fillers, etc).. Just a thought...
    • Buy Canon. I love their printers. In reviews, they typically fair better than most and are consitantly high performers.

      Combine that with the fact that their cartridges are cheap. My S540 is an awesome printer for normal documents as well as borderless picture printing. The black ink cartridge is a mere $10. Can't beat it.

      • I agree, I love my Canon F60.
        http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=Mo delDetailAct&fcategoryid=124&modelid=7174 [canon.com]
        Lexmarks clog if you look at them funny. My Canon don't. Four separarate cartridges with no electronics in the cartridges, so cheap to replace.
        • What does it take to fix it when it does clog? I have an HP, and that has the printer head in the cartridge, so there is no clogging problem. Then, on the other hand, the aftermarket ink truly sucks, and I have to buy the original cartridges for to get the print quality I want. Then, on the other other hand, I got my work to buy cartridges for me, so I don't care if they are expensive...

          But enough about HP. How do you replace the printhead on the Canon?
          • Most (if not all) Canons make it easy to replace the head.

            1. Remove Ink Carts.
            2. Move Lever.
            3. Remove Print Head.

            You can buy replacements - probably direct from canon. I've not seen any at any stores (not to say they don't exist...) but at least it's servicable. Epson, on the other hand, had me hopping pissed off because my perfectly good stylus 890 clogged all but the blue at one point... and replacing the head cost as much as a new printer. In addition, you had to basically sledge the printer to
          • modern canon printers have what the call a "lifetime" printhead.

            the modern (starting with the 950/850/550, possibly earlier) lineup does not have printheads which are available to the public. period. if the printhead assembly clogs you are at the mercy of whichever canon tech support monkey you get on the line.
    • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:09AM (#12746933) Homepage
      More trash, that's just what we need!
    • If I were in the market for a printer I'd go the laser route. Toner's dry so it doesn't dry up and clog if you print something every 3 years like I do. I seem to recall that lasers are a lot less expensive per page to print than inkjets are, too, though I forget where I heard that. Last time I checked (About a year ago) you could get a PostScript level 3 laser printer starting around $500. PostScript is an easy set-up with Linux, is a nifty language and you don't have to worry about your printer manufacture
      • If you only need occasional black and white then laser is indeed the best way to go. For moderate to high volume black and white laser is also the way to go. For economy laser is the way to go. Using some examples from work, the cost per page for bubblejet printers was ~$.10/page. Laser was ~$.02/page. Figures for personal use will be a bit different, but not that much. (I buy toner/ink in large quantity for work.)

        To sum up, bubblejet only if you need color and often. For anything else laser is probably

      • You can get Laser printers pretty darn cheap now. Samsung [bestbuy.com] has one for $150 that is proudly proclaimed to work with Linux.
    • A disposable printer has already been made--it's called an Epson. I've had two, and I can't seem to get more than halfway through a cartridge before I need to replace it because it has dried out. I spend more time cleaning than printing (I print maybe once a month). I also don't seem to get decent prints until the third print on the expensive glossy paper.

      I typically buy a printer based on ink cartridge cost. But that is not the only factor in the equation. So, I'll probably pay more money up front and get
    • A blog article I read ages ago came up with a printer strategy, based on a 2400x1200 Lexmark printer that cost $35 (black ink refill $30, colour refill $33):

      - buy the cheapest inkjet that comes with cartridges
      - when the ink runs out, donate the printer to your local school and buy a new printer

      You get a tax credit for the donation, the school gets near new equipment, and you save on ink.
  • It seems to me that everytime you buy 4 printer cartridges, you've already paid the price for a new printer (inkjets). So why not just build a printer with a really large cartridge size and then expect people to throw the entire printer away. Make the cartidge non-removable of course... but then again I am not in the printer business and last I heard HP is still chugging along...
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor f . n et> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:17AM (#12747013)
      Because that would ruin the Gilette business model. Printer manufacturers are subsidizing the cost of the printer with the cost of the ink (more expensive than Dom). That's why they deliberately package half-tanks in with the printers.

      Inkjet printing is a subscription business. You pay a small amount upfront ("printer cost", though if you get it on special, usually nil). Periodically, you "renew" your subscription by buying ink. Refilling used to be a problem, but with chips like these, well, it's not a simple 5-minute job anyone can do with a syringe anymore.

      Same goes with most consoles and games. Razors and blades. Cable TV boxes. Cell phones. etc.

      That doesn't mean there aren't options. Besides 3rd parties, there are companies that make modified ink tanks that draw their ink from external reservoirs (with half-liters of ink). Slightly big and unwieldy, but works for those poster-prints printer manufacturers always want you to do. (Do those ink cartridges contain enough ink to do a regular poster print without running out halfway through?).

    • It seems to me that everytime you buy 4 printer cartridges, you've already paid the price for a new printer (inkjets). So why not just build a printer with a really large cartridge size and then expect people to throw the entire printer away. Make the cartidge non-removable of course... but then again I am not in the printer business and last I heard HP is still chugging along...

      I have thought from time to time about the idea of designing a printer that would take bulk ink. Make to either accept a new 30
  • by supernova87a (532540) <kepler1.hotmail@com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:10AM (#12746941)
    The Supreme Court gets probably 100x more petitions per year than it could ever choose to hear. So being denied a hearing by the Supreme Court is not in itself particularly revealing about the merit of any one case.

    However, you can be sure that when the court does take a case, that it involves all of the following: 1) a fundamental question of law, 2) that is being inconsistently decided by lower courts, and 3) that is ripe for adjudication by the Court (based on sufficient instances of the problem to guide them).

    So, this particular case could have failed for any number of reasons. It probably does not involve any spectacular question of law -- the lower courts are well-equipped to decide the issue. So it is not so much a stinging defeat for this company, as it is a final forclosure of legal options in a matter that was already practically resolved.

    Any lawyer who tells you that "we'll take this all the way to the Supreme Court" and expects to even get it heard, is full of it.
    • by tweek (18111) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:20AM (#12747037) Homepage Journal
      I would suggest that everyone pick up a copy of Sandra Day O'Connor's book "The Majesty of the Law" as well as William H. Rehnquist's "The Supreme Court". These are some really amazing insights into the opertation of SCOTUS.

      The W.H.R. book especially covers the process and how cases actually get before the court. He also covers some of the background of the cases he was involved in. Amazingly enough both books are fairly non-partisan and Rehnquist makes the point that many a president has made the mistake of thinking an appointee would be a backdoor into the Supreme Court when it has rarely turned out that way. He discusses court packing attempts as well which seems pretty relevant.
      • by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:19PM (#12747873) Homepage Journal
        The recent medical marijuana decision was interesting because of the dissenters.

        O'Connor, Rehnquist and Thomas dissented on the ground of States Rights.

        The others, including Scalia(!) ruled that medical marijuana (grown for one's self, in one's home, not taken out of state) can be regulated under the Interstate Commerce Clause.

        Just thought it was an interesting side note, given the parent post.
        • by tweek (18111) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:30PM (#12748024) Homepage Journal
          One of the interesting points that each book I mentioned makes is that appointees almost never tow the presidential party line.

          They cite a few reasons:

          1) Rule of Law and the Constitution defies party lines. Or at least it should. It's the difference between a democracy and a republic. In a democracy, majority rules but in a republic, the law rules. I'm sure there are plenty of judges out there who don't and won't ever get this difference and will use SCOTUS as an attempt to make laws but they soon learn that it won't fly with SCOTUS. I get worried when I hear the Supreme Court mentioning public opinion as a basis for a ruling because it means that we inch closer to a doomed democracy.

          2) SCOTUS justices are beholden to no man and they will long outlive the president who appointed them. W.H.R. cites several examples of this in his book and makes a grand point about it. He himself was appointed by Nixon and has long outlived that man's career.
        • I wasn't surprised to see Thomas and Scalia split on this one.

          Scalia's knee tends to jerk right on anything involving "police safety." That's a bit of a stretch here, but not a huge one.

          I am surprised to see O'Connor in the dissent, though. Rehnquist isn't surprising, and Scalia was expected.

          hawk, esq.
    • So, this particular case could have failed for any number of reasons. It probably does not involve any spectacular question of law -- the lower courts are well-equipped to decide the issue.

      I don't disagree with the gist of your post, but the fact that this case was a test of the limits of the DMCA means that the SCOTUS likely would have gotten involved had they disagreed with the Appeals Court.

      So it is not so much a stinging defeat for this company, as it is a final forclosure of legal options in a mat

  • by xiando (770382) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:14AM (#12746988) Homepage Journal
    It's my printer, I want to use what ever ink I want.. With a chip that prevents me from using the type of products I want together with their products they make me feel like I am renting their printers under some very rude terms, not buying them with the rights that normally follow a purchase. It is almost as bad as a DVD player not wanting to play any kind of DVD you put into it.. oh wait, that IS the case with zone-enabled DVD players..
    • Why do you think the DMCA exists?

      Not to protect the government, but to protect companies in their artificial scarcity rules.

      Cars, for example. Some engines can only be read/serviced by proprietary software. Software that is probably found at the dealer, which is known for being too expensive.

      Before, someone would just crack their encryptation, and release a module to service machines to make them able to communicate.

      Now they have to wonder if they're going to get sued to hell and back, and would just
    • It works like that for mobile phones and nobody complains. (or course mobile phones can easily prevent you from using a different network operator).

      You can buy a mobile phone with a subscription. Your phone is stuck to a certain operator for a year or 2, and you get it cheaper than if you buy it on your own.

      Similarly printer resellers could chose to sell 2 types of printers. The ones with the 'ink renting' for a limited time, and the full price one.

      Not sure if would work though.

      Ad vita eternam vendor lo
      • True, but while companies certainly can put whatever features they want in their products, the GP's point is that the company should not be able to sue those who help you get around the features of your product. Summary: restrictive features=bad but OK; being able to make the government enforce your restrictive features=very bad.
  • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:15AM (#12746992) Homepage Journal

    This will start us down a dangerous, slippery slope: first SSC will start making cartridges for all Lexmark and other printers. Then people will start using those $9 refill kits instead of buying new cartridges that cost O(new printer).

    The next generation of our youth will think nothing of using free software instead of paying for the commercial kind. People may even start bicycling or - brace yourself - walking to work. Civilization will come to a halt.

    </irony>

    Every once in a while, my faith in The System gets a little boost.

    • by xiando (770382)
      "instead of buying new cartridges that cost O(new printer)." You make a very interesting point. The last time I bought a printer I almost bought two because I noticed that the printer cost less than the color and black cartridges it came with when sold separately. I almost feel stupid I didn't buy two printers, but then again I know that printers will still be cheaper than two ink cartridges the next time I go empty anyway. Why? They are all doing it. Canon, HP, Lexmark and all other major brands for that m
      • i remember a few years ago seeing someone at best buy or circuit city (can't remember which offhand) buying 5 printers at the friday after thanksgiving sale. the printers, with black and color cartridges, were on sale for something like $20 or $30 each. i asked him why he wanted 5 printers, and he told me that it was just so much cheaper to pay $30 for a printer and 2 cartridges than $30 each for 1 cartridge. the printers were pretty much disposable/one-time-use.
      • by hawk (1151)
        Last time I checked, however, the cartridges that came with my printer held half or less what the regular cartridges did, making it cheapere to buy cartridges.

        hawk
        • Last time I checked, however, the cartridges that came with my printer held half or less what the regular cartridges did, making it cheapere to buy cartridges.

          My Epson r200 came with a full set of ink. It's cost was $25 more than a full set of ink not on sale. With rebates which I didn't bother to get in this case, the cost would be a little bit more than the ink.

          My Canon ip3000 came with a full set. After the rebate the cost is a tiny bit more than the ink. But the Epson was kauput and it's cost was
  • "Monpoly" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    There's nothing monopolistic about what Lexmark did. You people sure like to throw that term around though - it doesn't mean what you think it does.
    • Re:"Monpoly" (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The term "monopoly" wouldn't refer to the printer part of their business, but would refer to the ink part of their business. They were trying to monopolize the sale of ink for their printers. Granted... they weren't trying to monopolize the sale of all ink, but then they aren't in the position to do that.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:22AM (#12747065)
    Lets just hope this signals the ultimate end of putting chips to artificially limit lifetime and comaptability in ink cartridges.

    HP do the same thing just to enable ludicrous overpricing on their ink cartridges. I'd love to see HP get forced to charge fair prices because of now legalised fair competition.
  • by eniac79 (767137) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:24AM (#12747091)
    What Lexmark is trying to do is protect their revenue stream. Replacement cartridges have always been the money-maker for printer manufacturers. IMO, Lexmark also makes inferior products, so their products themselves are unlikely to bite into HP's large marketshare.

    Printer companies HATE aftermarket cartridges. Lexmark wants to kill that competition via lawsuits. HP does it a smarter (albeit similarly devious) way. Make your cartridges incompatible by constantly releasing new printer models with new cartridge interfaces. The latest HP inkjet models with the HP 94/95/96/97 cartriges are just the latest example of this tactic.

    • HP does it a smarter (albeit similarly devious) way. Make your cartridges incompatible by constantly releasing new printer models with new cartridge interfaces.

      All that does is delays the onset of generic competition. Unless they put serious levels of obfuscation into the cartridges (smartcards with challenge/response designed to resist reverse-engineering, for instance) it won't take long to duplicate any design. Sure, the generic company now has to support 100 models of cartridges instead of 10, but t
    • HP does it a smarter (albeit similarly devious) way. Make your cartridges incompatible by constantly releasing new printer models with new cartridge interfaces. The latest HP inkjet models with the HP 94/95/96/97 cartriges are just the latest example of this tactic.

      The big thing I noticed is my HP 95 printer uses a $60 color cart ($35 for the half full economy version) where my HP722c uses a 2 pack color cart ($43) for the same size cart. Needless to say, their old printer is competiting with the new pri
    • I hope the inventor of the loss leading business model is roasting simultaneously in all the circles of Dante's inferno. Espcially the guy who started the damn give away the razor and overcharge for the blades crap. He should be given the worlds worst case of acne, forced to shave and splace lemon juice on for aftershave.

      Why in gods name can't the printer companies just make a freakin printer, charge a reasonable profit for their effort and do the same with replacement ink. If they would do that there woul
      • Why in gods name can't the printer companies just make a freakin printer, charge a reasonable profit for their effort and do the same with replacement ink.

        Because they don't make enough money that way. Yes, a company could come along and do that, and charge a fair price for ink cartridges. The aftermarket ones likely wouldn't exist for that printer. But at the consumer end, most people look at the price of the printer itself. Considering ongoing costs is very much a niche corner of the market. At the
    • The latest HP inkjet models with the HP 94/95/96/97 cartriges are just the latest example of this tactic.

      I'm not up on current HPs. I know that the HP 94 black has a yield of 450p and will fit into printers that also accept the HP 96 with an 800p yield. What I don't know is if the lower priced printers that say the replacement ink is HP 94 will accept the 96 black.

      Does HPs lock the lower end printers to the cart that has a higher cost per page?
  • Yes, Lexmark are a bunch on scum-sucking bottom-feeders just like almost every other money-grabbing corporation out there.

    But the fact is that any idiot that goes to his local PC store and buys a printer without doing some research first deserves all he/she gets, quite frankly.

    In these days of the Internet, there is no excuse for getting ripped off as the number of sites out there reviewing hardware, software, movies, CDs, etc, etc, means that it's quite easy to get good information prior to making any

    • So if you've bought a printer without researching the prices of cartridges and the quality/prices of third-party cartridges, that's your fault.

      Good point. It's not quite complete however. Quanity of ink and page yield are important in figuring the cost per page. There is some deception out there (not a lie, deception)

      HP sells two versions of it's 78 cart. The $35 half full economy version and the high capacity $60 version. The website lists the estimated page yield.

      Doing my homework I checked it ou
    • The problem comes when every printer manufacturer starts doing this. There are a limited number of big name printer companies. Xerox, HP, Epson, Canon, Lexmark. If the courts say it's ok, all of these manufacturers will decide this method is THE solution to making money. As it is now, most of them see that the protection will usually be defeated, and third party sellers will continue.

      Another problem is that most people don't get to research their printer before they buy it. Often, you get them when you
  • by inmate (804874) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:55AM (#12747546) Homepage
    i have just one thing to say,

    NEVER BUY A LEXMARK!

    in addition to being an inferior printer, they also don't fly very well. i threw mine out of our 3rd story window and was quite dissapointed by its aerodynamics.

  • by JoelMC (877117)
    Look at the posts yesterday about DVD Decrypter being shut-down...then compare that the supreme court not hearing this case on Lexmark's behalf. It seems that DVD Decrypter isn't even as bad as SSC, but they've been bullied literally to death. SSC found a way to "crack" Lexmark's trade secret, and then sold it off to Lexmark competitors. How can that not stand up, but "some company" can attack on the grounds of DRM violation?

    • How can that not stand up, but "some company" can attack on the grounds of DRM violation?

      You can argue that to copy a disc that is protected always violates the copyright. I don't agree with personaly, but the arguement is stronger because we are talking about material that costs millions of dollars to produce. You don't need a Disney DVD player to buy DVDs.

      Lexmark doesn't have a copyright on colored liquid, nor apparently do they have the right to force you to buy your colored liquid from them. And l
  • The SCOTUS refusing to hear this appeal has good and bad aspects. On the one hand Lexmark's abuse of the DMCA is at an end. On the other hand, the SCOTUS did not undertake a full review of the case and rule on the constitutionality of the issues at hand with respect to that fundamentally deficient law.

    So far so good, I guess. They could have reviewed the case and said, "Oh yeah, you can use the DMCA to do that!"
  • So basically lexmark didn't buy off enough people to get their way is what this is saying? Because this lawsuit has just as much merit as every other one that "went down without a fight".
  • I am disappointed that I will not be able to boycott Lexmark printers -- I already won't buy Lexmark because I think that they are pieces of shit.
  • From the /. story: "The story is on the AP Newswire [yahoo.com] as well.".

    The Associated Press may have a story along these lines, but the link currently pointed to by Slashdot will not take you to that story. That link, copied from /.'s front page, takes the reader to a Static Control Components press release which happens to be carried on Yahoo! (a site that also happens to carry copies of AP wire stories).

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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