The Tiara (Diamond) Toner Conference is Back

John Shane
 Jun 13, 2013

The Tiara Group Toner 2013 Conference was held June 3rd & 4th, back at its original long time location at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara, CA. This resurrected conference has a long history and several changes in ownership.

It was the Diamond Toner Conference for many years and attracted OEMs, toner and drum producers and a range of suppliers of raw materials such as resins, carrier cores and colorants. Eventually the Tiara Group took over the conference with Art Diamond still serving as chairman. When the recession hit the conference was moved from the Fess Parker Resort to more affordable accommodations in Marina del Rey, CA. But attendance continued to drop and the conference was sold to Pira Research which held the conference once before giving it up.

There was no toner conference in 2012 but for 2013 Art Diamond and the Tiara Group pulled the conference together again returning to the Fess Parker Resort. Read more »

No Change on First Sale for Patented Cartridges

John Shane
 Apr 4, 2013

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Kirtsaeng vs. Wiley, ruled that under US law there is international exhaustion regarding copyright under the first sale doctrine. In terms of copyright, products legally sold outside the US exhaust the copyright in the US. However, the large majority of issues related to the cartridge remanufacturing industry are patent related and not copyright. This decision did not impact patents. However, it is the first step that would need to happen in terms of changes in case law that would impact the cartridge remanufacturing industry based on cases known to be coming down the line. From the point of view of patent exhaustion for cartridges, and whether remanufacturers can legally sell remanufactured cartridges in the US when they are made from cartridges that were  first sold outside the US, or whether they need to track the first sale location at all, Wiley was the first case that remanufacturers needed to answer that question.

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Clover and Canon Settle: What Does it Mean to the Industry?

John Shane
 Oct 12, 2012

On October 9, 2012, Clover Technologies Group, a producer of remanufactured printer cartridges, settled its disputes with Canon in the International Trade Commission and the federal district court in the Southern District of New York pertaining to certain laser printer cartridges, U.S. patent numbers 5,903,803 and 6,128,454. The settlements resulted in Clover’s dismissal from both lawsuits. The terms of the settlement are confidential. Clover will be able to continue to offer its customers and the market its full line of remanufactured laser cartridges, including the HP and Canon models involved in the lawsuits.

Both Clover and Canon regard the settlement as confidential so we can only speculate what this all means for the industry. We suspect that since Clover states that it will continue to manufacture and sell its full line of remanufactured cartridges for use in Canon/HP there is a legal means forward for the whole reman industry. We suspect that non-infringing “no twist” gears are that means.

Those gears have been available for several months and we strongly suspect that the reman industry has been shifting over to those gears, whether the gears are attached to the drums by the remanufacturers or whether the aftermarket drums come with gears pre-installed. There might or might not be some temporary inventory issues if cartridges with twist gears need to come out of inventory.

Notably the Clover press release specifically speaks to remanufactured cartridges, which is Clover’s business. There was no mention of clone (newly made compatible) cartridges. This is not a surprise in itself as Clover is known to shy away from clones, focusing on reman.

But the question remains whether there may be additional issues with Clones that may not be visible to an outside observer.  We would not be shocked if Canon views clones as different from reman. If behind the scenes the gear issue has more power when attached to a clone, the Canon suit could end up being good news in the long term for remanufacturers and OEMs as it is clones that both have the most difficulty competing against.

InfoTrends currently offers relevant research on patent protection for supplies including OEMs and aftermarket: OEMs Protect Supplies through Intellectual Property: Update.

Impressions from Zhuhai China: The GRIGA Conference and RemaxAsia Expo 2010

John Shane
 Oct 6, 2010

I spent four days in Zhuhai, China, which was host to two related events the last week of September. These were the GRIGA Conference and RemaxAsia Expo 2010, both organized by Recycling Times Magazine. The day before the trade show, Saturday Sept 25, was the day of the Global Remanufacturing Industry General Assembly (GRIGA) 2010 conference. Here we had presentations by watchers or participants in the remanufacturing world from almost every continent. Outside Tradeshow Read more »

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