Everybody knows that if you want the highest quality of the printing materials you should buy only genuine cartridges specially developed to reach this goal. The producers represent secret ink and toner formulas which best suit printer’s print head technology. Of course, in everyday printing and in purpose to reduce costs we refill our cartridges in the independent repair shops. Recently this month, Lexmark has turned to the the U.S. Supreme Court with a patent dispute v. Impression Products Inc. wanting to know if a patent holder can dictate how you use a product after you buy it. What in general means that the company wants to prevent or restrict illegal refilling of their cartridges.
Now there is one legal limitation in a patent law called “exhaustion” saying that when you buy a product you can use it as you wish even if it’s patented. It means that you don’t need to address just the authorized mechanic with your Toyota Motor Corp. car or that you can resell your iPhone or that you can put any brand’s batteries in the purchased toothbrush. This bothers patent holders and they are trying to expand their power grab.
The Supreme Court is unlikely to constitute a precedent and restrict the established rules of property. Instead it could cost public a lot of money.