There are a number of cases out there that talk about patented products. With the internet, it has gotten a lot harder to try and figure out what is legally acceptable and what isn’t. That being said, one of the biggest issues that has been going on is about printer ink – Lexmark is currently suing Impression, mainly because Impression is refilling cartridges that are empty and then selling them for a lot less than they would have otherwise been sold.
This has started a lot of controversy because the argument that Lexmark is using is that Impression is, in short, using their product in order to bring forward their own product, which means that they’re using the patented product as a form of distribution. As a result, Lexmark has decided to sue and say that they’re going against their patent. At this point in time, the case hasn’t been totally dealt with, but it’s still something that is going to have a large impact when everything has been said and done in the end.
This, however, brings up a lot of questions about the used electronics and games market. If you’re taking items that were patented in one way or another, and then redistributing them, is that breaking the patent for your own financial gain? If Lexmark wins this case, a lot of different places that base their income on selling fixed models of electronics may have some problems. It may even mean trouble for places like GameStop, where they pride themselves in making sure that anything and everything that they have is available in some sort of used form. Even though it’s unlikely the video game industry would go after GameStop (they have a great relationship and GameStop does tons of promotions and still sells lots of new items), it’s still something that may come up.
So, what do you think? Do you think that Lexmark may have a case based on the fact that their cartridges are being sold again with Impression’s product inside of them? Or do you think that it’s going to be difficult for their argument to hold a decent amount of water? It’s an interesting debate to consider, and it’s a conversation that we need to have as more and more companies are starting to make money off of repairing and reselling patented products, specifically ones that are in the electronics category.