Lexmark’s Business Trick to Thwart Third-Party Manufacturers from Selling Remanufactured and Refilled Products

The major brands of printer manufacturer, including Canon, Epson, Hewlett-Packard and Lexmark, are at bad terms with third party printer ink manufacturer. In fact, Lexmark inkjet  cartridges has taken legal action against third-party makers of cartridge clone for suspected patent violations. Meanwhile, second-tier ink cartridge manufacturers claim that they simply offer consumers a plethora of choices at prices that are typically 70 to 80% less than what major vendors charge.

Generally, when a cartridge runs out of ink or toner, it can easily be refilled by a third-party remanufacturer. Consumers can also have their cartridges remanufactured because it costs less than purchasing a brand new cartridge. The fact is that remanufacturing means fewer sales of Lexmark’s original cartridges, so Lexmark has intended to discourage third-party remanufacturer and encourage selling new cartridges in place of remanufactured ones, or refilling of toner cartridges.

In order to secure its position and to improve its sales in the toner cartridge market, Lexmark has developed and sold toner cartridges with two systems that consisted of -a customer agreement and a tricky technological measure. Lexmark offered their customers a choice that they could buy a new toner cartridge for their printer at reduced price only on the condition that they returned the empty, run out cartridge to Lexmark itself, or they have to pay a high amount to buy a new cartridge that could be refilled without returning it Lexmark once it is empty.

Lexmark has attempted to suppress the aftermarket cartridge makers by integrating a microchip inside its laser toner cartridges.  If a Lexmark printer doesn’t identify the chip inside a cartridge, it won’t work.

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