Lexmark gets sued over Return Program technology

March 30, 2010

When Lexmark came out with the Return Program Inkjet Cartridge, quite a few people in the inkjet remanufacturing industry took note.  The Return Program inkjet cartridges have a built in kill feature that prevents a user or company from refilling and reusing that cartridge.  For Lexmark this is a great money move, because it forces people to buy their cartridges, which means more money from them.  Currently, from what I can tell, there is around 12 or so inkjet models that are Return Program Cartridges.

No one has found a way to get around the electronic aspect of the cartridge.  Now for Lexmark everything is going all good and that, but there was a small problem that arose.  Apparently, Lexmark took the kill feature that they use in their Return Program Cartridges from another company.  On Feburary 22nd, 2010, Advanced Cartridge Technologies (we will call them ACT to save on time) sued Lexmark for patent infrindgement (link).  Apparently ACT has three patent’s that they claim Lexmark is using without permission.

So how does this affect the user, nothing yet.  However, if Lexmark loses (remember court battles can take years), there are two possible outcomes.  1.  This could drive Lexmark under.  ACT is seeking Triple damages.  If Lexmark closes, there goes the supply of cartridges.  (I doubt this could or will happen, but there is that possiblity.)

2.  Lexmark stops the Return Program for Inkjets.  Lexmark has in place for all of their Return Program Inkjet Cartridges a replacement cartridge that technically be refilled called the “A” version.  The problem is that these cartridges cost around $2 more and are hard to find in a retail store.  The lawsuit could stop the sales of Return Program cartridges and force consumers to spend more on already expensive inkjet cartridges.

We are years away from this lawsuit affecting anyone, but it will interesting to see what happens.

And there was one left.

November 4, 2008

This has been the year of price increases for printer cartridges.  First Kodak, then HP, followed by Lexmark, Xerox, and IBM.  I just received word today that Brother, Canon, and Oki are being added to the list.

Oki was kind enough to inform us that prices are going up a flat 5%, but Brother and Canon have not stated a rate of increase yet.

Out of the major players in the inkjet and consumer laser market, this just leaves Epson (we do not consider Dell a player due to the fact that Lexmark makes Dell’s products).  Which in the next couple months, I expect them to increase as well.  While our initial price increase were off a bit, we were right in that there would be a price increase.

The strange thing is that Oil has now dropped around 50% since the high back in July.  I doubt that any of the manufactures will lower their price increases since the drop in oil.  I think they will keep them high to make it better for the shareholders.

Once again at O-ink we have been able to keep our prices on our compatibles and remanufactured cartridges low and have not made any price increases this year.

Lexmark getting out of inkjet printers – Possibly

September 18, 2008

When you talk to people about printers, and what ones they own, Lexmark is usually a typical response.  When you ask them why they bought it, most of the time, the reason is the price.  Lexmark is well known for making cheap printer.  Cheap to buy, but not good printers or cheap to own printers.  Lexmark is on average, the most costliest printer to own over it’s life span.  However, if the resent financial reports mean anything, Lexmark will be exiting the inkjet printer business stage left.

2nd quarter revenue was down 6%.  While their business side grew by 4%, the consumer side was down 21%, which they blame on a slowing pace in the inkjet market.  They also announced they are closing a big factory in Mexico and moving it to a cheaper country.

Rumors are that Lexmark highered a consulting firm that more or less told them to get out of the inkjet printer market or find a way to make it profitable.

Lexmark has yet to produce a single product that I would recommend to a customer or a business.  Yes the printers are cheap, but that is not where the cost are.  Their consumables are the worst on the market and not to mention the most costly.  Their quality and ink lag behind the likes of Canon, HP, and Epson.  And the life span of their products is dismal.

For Lexmark to get out of the inkjet printer industry would be a silent blessing.  Consumers might get mad at the fact there are fewer cheap printers, but you need to look at printers in the long run, not the short hall.  Unless Lexmark makes a dramatic turn around in the quality of their products, they should be done with inkjets in about 2 years, I think.

HP Price increase effective September 1st, 2008

August 7, 2008

As I stated a few months back, prices for consumers will be going up by the end of the year.  First was Kodak and now, HP.

Price Increase Announcement – HP LaserJet Print Cartridges

August 1, 2008

As of September 1, 2008, HP is increasing the list prices on all Mono and Color LaserJet Print Cartridges.

As part of HP’s normal portfolio management, the company regularly reviews pricing. In response to rising production and supply chain costs, HP is now adjusting the price of HP LaserJet toner cartridges by five (5%) percent. This price increase will affect a total of 156 products.

NOTE: The following cartridges had their prices recently increased and will be excluded from the September 1st 5% price increase: 92274A, C3903A, C4092A, C3909A, C3909X, C3906A, C3906AG, 92298A and 92298X.

HP LaserJet print cartridges will continue to provide superior value, reliability and high-quality output. From pioneering the desktop printing industry to its new smart print supplies system, HP is committed to developing products and services that meet its customers’ needs.


Price Increase Announcement – HP Inkjet Cartridges and Print Heads

August 1, 2008

As of September 1, 2008, HP is increasing by approximately 5-6% the list prices on Inkjet Cartridges and Print Heads.

As part of HP’s normal portfolio management, the company regularly reviews pricing. In response to rising production and supply chain costs, HP is now adjusting the price of HP Inkjet cartridges and print heads.

HP Inkjet cartridges and print heads will continue to provide superior value, reliability and high-quality output. From pioneering the desktop printing industry to its new smart print supplies system, HP is committed to developing products and services that meet its customers’ needs.

So if you need or use actual HP cartridges, best stock up a little bit prior to September 1st.  However, be aware that some places might increase prices prior to the deadline.

While we at O-ink try our best to keep prices low for our customers, with HP increasing all of their prices, we will unfortunately be increasing our prices as well on September 1st.

The above quotes were forwarded from HP through our supplier and of course all of HP’s copyright stuff “© Copyright Hewlett-Packard Company 2001 All Rights Reserved.” for the quotes I used.

Just so I do not get sued.

Please keep in mind that O-ink’s prices for the remanufactured cartridges will not be going up, in fact in the last month, some of them have went down.  Here is the link for HP Inkjet cartridges.

New Products

June 26, 2008

Once again, it is time to update what are some of the new products at O-ink‘s Website and our two stores.

First up – Pitney Bowes USPS Branded Postage Meter Cartridges – These are the official Pitney Bowes cartridges.  Now in stock and ready to ship.

Next – As mentioned in previous post, replacement cartridges for the new Kodak printers.

Next – HP 60XL cartridges.  O-ink does not sell the standard, as they are not economical.  Both the black and color are in-stock.

Finally – HP CB540 Series.  While we ranted about these in the past on the bad economics, we are still selling them.

Oil prices and printer cartridge cost

May 8, 2008

Everyone and their brother/sister has been watching oil prices go up and up and up.  There seems to be no end.  With higher oil prices, means higher fuel cost, which in turns means higher prices for almost everything.  However, most people just look at the fuel prices.  Here at our St. Johns store, fuel prices are around $3.69 for unleaded today.  But what about the other products of oil, mainly, plastics.

Yes that wonderful non-degrading product we use daily is made out of oil.  I recently read an article that stated that a laser toner cartridge on average has between 1/2 to 1 gallon of oil in the creation process, while Inkjet cartridges are around 1-3 quarts.  This can add up over time.  The question is when will companies like HP, Lexmark, and Canon pass on the cost of the plastics on to consumers.  I would guess it is only a matter of time and here are the factors.

  1. Cartridges are their money makers, even for a large company like HP.  So if their margins slip, they want to keep investors happy, they would raise prices.
  2. Shipping cost have increased.  We have all seen this in food, gas, and everyday purchases.
  3. The cartridge bodies are made from plastic – Plastic is made from oil.  It only makes sense that the prices would increase.

I am GUESSING that by the end of the year, if oil prices increase like they have been, that printer cartridges could see an increase in 5-10% for OEM or brand name cartridges.

However, using recycled and refilled printer cartridges should not see as big of increase for one main reason, we are not making new cartridge bodies.  We use the shell they made and add ink to it and make it work.  Which is why I promote using refilled and recycled cartridges.  Visit our website to see all of our refilled printer cartridges.

Earth Day Coupon

April 22, 2008

In celebration for Earth Day, O-ink is offering a 10% off coupon until April 27th for the following items.

Computer cables, replacement inkjet and toner cartridges, fax film.

Visit our website at www.oinkinkstore.com and use the coupon earthday.

Help everyone by recycling, not just on earth day but every day of the year.