HP Announces Instant Ink Program in North America

Barbara Richards
 Sep 28, 2013

Several years ago HP conducted a limited pilot program on HP Instant Ink and InfoTrends provided a brief overview of the program.

HP plans to roll out the expanded Instant Ink Program in North America with several retail partners within the next few weeks and more stores will be going online as time goes on. According to HP, the new plan will directly address customers’ pain points and concerns. HP hopes to move from a transactional supply model to a subscription model with this new program.

Figure 1: HP Instant Ink Highlights

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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.

ExpoRecilador Brings the Mexican Supplies Aftermarket Together

David Ramos
 Sep 24, 2012

ExpoRecilador, held August 30-31, 2012 at Expo Reforma in Mexico’s Distrito Federal, is an annual event in Mexico for independent office equipment dealers, aftermarket resellers/distributors, and ink/toner cartridge remanufacturers. The forum was created to provide information to maximize a company’s efforts in growing market share, launching growth initiatives, and learning trends impacting the aftermarket and remanufacturing industry. The aftermarket industry (like many others) is constantly moving and developing. ExpoRecilador is focused on keeping Mexican companies up to date with specific aftermarket industries movements in a setting and venue to view the latest developments and new market niches in the Mexican market.

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The Opportunity for Supplies in Latin America

Other Posts
 Jun 27, 2012

In April 2012, InfoTrends conducted a Web-based survey in specific regions of Latin America, including Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. This Multi-Client study offers an in-depth view of the supplies market in Latin America, including consumers’ preferences about supplies and aftermarket activities. In conducting this survey, we hoped to gain a better understanding of the dynamics within this market, which include widespread supplies counterfeiting and heavy use of refill services for supplies. A total of 600 home respondents and 900 office respondents qualified for participation in this survey, with respondents from Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina being equally represented (200 each for home; 300 each for office).

HP Pilots Instant Ink Program

Other Posts
 Nov 29, 2011

In October, HP announced a new ink delivery pilot service, Instant Ink, and a pilot with Condé Nast for digital content distribution for some of their magazines.  Instant Ink will automatically deliver replacement original HP ink to customers at home or work when needed for HP’s newest announced ePrinters. HP estimates that users can receive up to 50% annual savings on ink cartridge purchases for one monthly fee. Read more »

ITC Issues General Exclusion Order for Certain Lexmark Toner Cartridges

Other Posts
 Nov 16, 2011

In September, the International Trade Commission issued a notice to terminate the investigation in Certain Toner Cartridges and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-740) with a finding of a violation of Section 337. The Commission further determined to issue a general exclusion order (GEO) and cease and desist orders (CDOs). A GEO prohibits the unlicensed entry into the U.S. of toner cartridges and components that infringe certain claims of the asserted Lexmark patents by any company. CDOs are directed at the domestically-based respondents that defaulted and foreign-based defaulting respondents which produce the same result in that these companies cannot import or sell the affected products into the United States either.  In the world of ITC complaints this decision by the ITC could be viewed as a “slam dunk.”  Read more »

Korean Trade Commission Acquits Companies in Canon Supply Patent Cases

Other Posts
 Nov 15, 2011

Two news services reported that South Korea’s state trade commission acquitted local laser printer parts companies of violating patent rights claimed by Canon Inc. regarding gears for photoconductor drums used in toner cartridges. The decision was reached after a review of claims made by all companies involved, as well as onsite inspections and technical evaluations by independent experts, according to the Korea Trade Commission (KTC). Canon had hoped that the KTC would stop the companies from manufacturing and exporting the drums which Canon considered to infringe for aftermarket use. Read more »

ITC Issues Another General Exclusion Order for Certain Inkjet Cartridges

Other Posts
 Nov 11, 2011

In October, the International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a notice of final determination finding a violation of Section 337, issuing a general exclusion order (GEO), and terminating the investigation in Certain Inkjet Cartridges with Printheads and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-723). With this general exclusion, three major vendors, HP, Epson, and Lexmark, now have general exclusion orders to help curb primarily new build products entering the United States from any source that affect certain claims of their supplies patents. The table below details all of these complaints with patents and products affected. Read more »

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