It can’t be right…

September 24, 2015

…that the Goliaths win every battle and the Davids of this world get trampled on. History has shown us time and again that Lexmark go to court to litigate the small guys out of business. They know that a small business can’t afford to fight them in the courts, so they hit them with the legal claims, offer them a deal and expect them to roll over.

Lexmark is an American-based global player in the printer market, and you can buy their printers in the USA and have them shipped just about anywhere. Same goes for their cartridges, yet they want to frustrate legitimate remanufacturing by saying, “this cartridge wasn’t placed on the market in your country so you can’t remanufacture it”. So that begs the question – how does a legitimate remanufacturer know when and where a cartridge was first sold? The answer is they can’t know, simply because Lexmark doesn’t tell anyone. Call Lexmark and ask them where a cartridge was first sold, and they don’t have a clue; and if they did, would they tell you?Lexmark new logo

So how do they make the accusations? Simple – when you get sued by Lexmark, they want you to divulge your sources of empties. If you bought your empty outside of America, they sue the company that sold the cartridges to you. And so it goes on.

So the lawyers will talk and the judges will judge, and while the legal process runs the costs are mounting, and we hope the judges will see the same common sense that we all see and give a ruling that is effective as David’s slingshot.

Why all the OEM litigation? Simple really – the OEM market is shrinking, and they expect cartridge sales to drop by 55 million units a year by 2018. At the same time the volumes of remanufactured cartridges are stable, even growing a little. This means that as the OEM market continues to shrink, the market share for remanufactured products increases and eats into their profits. Expect more of the same from the OEMs, as they use their dominant market positions to grab as much market share as they can from each other and from the aftermarket.

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AQC Group UK Ltd updates Lexmark toner

September 17, 2015

The Lexmark MS310

The Lexmark MS310

A new formulation for the company’s Lexmark MS/MX310, 410, 510 and 610 toner has “improved yield” and “reduced waste”.

Suggested fill-weights and page yields are “the same as before”, including: 55g for 1,500 pages and 150g for 5,000 pages in the MS/MX310-610; 290g for 10,000 pages in the MS/MX410-610; and 520g for 20,000 pages in the MS/MX510-610.

The toners are available in AQC bags and bottles as well as 10kg bulk packaging, and are designed to operate at 33ppm, 38ppm, 44ppm and 47ppm for the MS310, MS410, MS510 and MS610 printers respectively. These printers feature a resolution of 1,200 x 1,200dpi, alongside automatic duplexing.

AQC Group UK Ltd. noted that “further testing” revealed the “improved yield” and “reduced waste”, adding that this has resulted “in a more refined and efficient toner while retaining the same pricing”.

For more information, visit

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Lexmark resellers to focus on MPS

September 14, 2015

Martin Fairman. Credit: Channel Pro

Martin Fairman. Credit: Channel Pro

The OEM has identified document management as the next area of growth and wants to educate its partners in how to use it to stay strong as shipments and prints decline.

In an interview with CRN, Martin Fairman, Channel Sales Director for Lexmark, said: “We recognise that our market is in decline, so we have got to help our resellers evolve their business by putting the right devices into the client, and figuring out how we then talk to them about document management and streamlining their business processes.”

But thing are still at the “baby steps” stage as conversations are taking place between the OEM and its distributors, and Fairman says resellers are wary of investing in MPS: “A lot of resellers are unsure about investing in the infrastructure needed, from data collection tools, to people going out and doing a site audit. There is a lot of education that we as manufacturers need to offer the market to really lock down what MPS is.”

“There is great savings to be made from it in all areas. The benefit for resellers is that MPS locks them into their customers, which is what we are all trying to do.”

He added that scanned images are said to be the next big thing for the print market, according to analysts such as IDC, but the immediate challenge is to start charging customers for this service, which has ben integrated in existing solutions until now. Fairman said: “Going forward, we need to educate our resellers on how to start charging for scanned images. We [Lexmark] have been giving away scanned images as part of managed print for too long now and this has real tangible value.”


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Lexmark’s printer business set to “suffer”

September 10, 2015

Lexmark's campus in Lexington, Kentucky

Lexmark’s campus in Lexington, Kentucky

A Forbes article surmises that the OEM’s printer segment will suffer “despite growth in MPS” for the half year.

The article notes that the OEM has been focusing on “end-to-end solutions” alongside electronic content management and business process management, but its printers and supplies “generates most of the cash”, and makes up 83 percent “of its estimated value”.

However, due to the “secular downtrend” in printer sales, Lexmark’s business “has suffered with stagnant performance”, and “intense price competition” from other OEMs, alongside “cheap supplies from independent suppliers” – such as remanufacturers – have affected “its printer and supplies revenues”. The article predicts that “these trends will continue” in the second half of 2015”, despite Lexmark’s MPS business’ growth and 22 percent share of the printer business.

Forbes cites IDC’s recent market results, which saw the global printer market’s shipments fall by six percent, and picks up particularly on the “decline in demand for laser printer[s]” in both single-function and MFP markets, which was “steeper than the industry”. Most OEMs, in response, have “cut the prices on their printers […] in order to compensate for the fall”, and most of the Japanese OEMs “have their manufacturing units in China”, giving them “the leverage to undercut competition on price”.

Lexmark’s laser cartridge manufacturing takes place in the US, Mexico, Poland and China, and “relies on third-party vendors”, with Forbes commenting that “Lexmark might not be able to compete with other players on price” due to this distribution in location and manufacturing. In turn, it claims the OEM will “continue to struggle”, while “commoditisation of printer and toner cartridges” is another area that will “affect supplies revenues”.

This increased commoditisation has “come to [the] fore” with refillers and remanufacturers offering products that users buy to “reduce what they spend on printing”, so supplies revenues for OEMs “have been declining for the past few quarters”. Lexmark’s declines have been “accentuated” by its decision to exit inkjet, and saw a decline from 7.2 cartridges per printer in 2011 to 5.22 cartridges in 2014, with a further decline expected to 4.82 cartridges in 2015.

However, the OEM’s MPS offerings are expected to “give some respite”, as “MPS contracts have increased”, with Forbes noting that it believes MPS will “become the biggest driver of revenue” for Lexmark “going forward”, though revenue is expected to “remain flat” unless it “bags more MPS contracts”, in which case “this figure can be significantly higher”.

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Google and New York Times support Impression Products case

September 7, 2015

The US newspaper’s editorial board believes “American patent law should not be used to prevent consumers from reselling, altering or fixing technology products”, and Google filed a supporting document.

The New York Times' headquarters in New York City

The New York Times’ headquarters in New York City

The newspaper’s editorial discusses Lexmark and US remanufacturer Impression Products’ case, in which the latter is trying to contest the OEM’s use of US patent law to restrict reuse of empty cartridges.

The New York Times piece notes that US patent law “should not be used to prevent consumers from reselling, altering or fixing technology products”, and highlights that the case could “clearly establish this principle”. It points out that the case “raises important questions about the reach of American patent law”, and “how much control a manufacturer can exert after its products have been lawfully sold”.

If Lexmark won, producers could “use patent law to dictate” how patented goods “are used, changed or resold”, and “place restrictions on international trade”. The paper’s view is that “that makes no sense, especially in a world where technology products and components are brought and sold numerous times”, and that this is “why the court should rule in favour of Impression”.

It adds that if OEMs “want to restrict how their products are used, they can lease their goods or sign contracts with business customers”, but using patent law to do this “is fraught with problems”, noting it believes “there is no reason patent owners should be allowed to demand royalties from second or third owners of products who may be unaware of any restrictions”.

google-1200-2Google, Intel and Dell have all filed documents “in support of Impression”, helping the remanufacturer to argue “patent law should not be used to limit the resale of goods and restrict international trade”. Other organisations supporting Impression include public interest groups Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, while pharmaceutical and medical companies, alongside the ISC, have supported Lexmark.

The New York Times concludes that “to encourage innovation, the government gives inventors patents on their creations for a limited time. But patents should not give the manufacturer indefinite control over the product after it has been sold”.

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Patent lawyers slam “baffling” Lexmark case

September 2, 2015

Impression Products' Eric Smith. Credit: Krista Belcher

Impression Products’ Eric Smith. Credit: Krista Belcher

The OEM’s position in the on-going Impression Products case has been described by a legal professional as “illogical”.

Doug Kari, a US lawyer and freelance writer, wrote for ArsTechnicaUK that “in the world according to Lexmark, an eBay user in the U.S. who bought a video game originally sold in Canada could be sued for patent infringement”.

Lexmark’s case against the remanufacturer is that since the toner cartridges it refilled were originally sold overseas they are IP-infringing. Kari says this could apply to “any patent-protected product that was first sold abroad” and that “more ominously, patent holders could stop critically-important supplies from crossing the border”, affecting “hospitals, defense agencies, businesses [and] schools”.

The lawyer filed a brief in support of the defence on behalf of ASCDI (Association of Service and Computer Dealers International), a trade group of over 300 technology companies. It noted that its members “routinely import patent-protected products from overseas to support technology users in the US”, including Lexmark itself, its counsel Sidley Austin, and the Ohio District Court that first took on the case in 2013.

Patent lawyer Ed O’Connor told Kari he decided to take on the case as “Lexmark went after small businesses—I thought that was wrong”, and also because “the illogic of Jazz Photo upset me as a lawyer”. Jazz Photo was a key previous case concerning refurbished single-use Fuji cameras, where the appeals court determined that the products did not infringe Fuji’s patents as the owner “has a right of repair, but this decision was “limited […] to cameras first sold in the US”.

Eric Smith, owner of Impression Products, has decided to not to settle in the case while other defendants have, in hopes the Jazz Photo decision will be overruled by the Federal Circuit. He moved from selling compatible typewriter ribbons into remanufacturing ink cartridge in the 1990s, working with virgin cartridges that had never been refilled, irrelevant of where they had first been sold.


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Uninet unveils toner for Lexmark and Xerox cartridges

August 28, 2015

Lexmark's T640

Lexmark’s T640

Toner and components have been released for remanufacturing cartridges used in a range of Lexmark and Xerox printers.

The products have been produced for Lexmark’s C792 and X792 and the T640 series, as well as for the Xerox Phaser 6020, 6022 and 6010 and the WorkCentre 6027, 6025 and 6015.

Cartridges for the Lexmark C792 are presented in high-yield versions, with an estimated yield of 20,000 pages, and in standard 6,000-page versions, and is “similar to earlier Lexmark colour C700-series cartridges”.

The Xerox Phaser toner cartridges are rated at 2,000 pages for black and 1,000 for colour and as small devices “provide a simple solution to remanufacturers who offer refills”. They are easy to remanufacture, as you “just need to replace [the] toner and chip”, with print speeds of 10ppm and 18ppm for the 6020 and 6022 respectively and 10ppm and 18ppm for the WorkCentre 6025 and 6027 models respectively.

UniNet has also released multipurpose Absolute Black toner for Lexmark’s T640 series, including the T630, T620 and T520 monochrome families, a toner formulation “qualified to work in more than 100 engines”. The company said that the toner maintains the page yields of dedicated toner and has “outstanding print quality, and the highest density on the market”.

For more information, visit

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AQC Group UK launches Lexmark replacement toner

August 27, 2015

The toner manufacturer has produced colour toner for a range of Lexmark cartridges.

Lexmark CS310n

Lexmark CS310n

The toners include replacements for Lexmark’s CS/CX310, 410 and 510 toners, with AQC noting that “thorough testing” has revealed a “high adhesion rate” of around 98.33 percent, alongside a “consistent image density” of 1.24. This has resulted in “rich text and bold, colourful image reproduction”, with the printers using the toners featuring automatic duplex printing, dual core processors and a print resolution of 1,200dpi x 1,200dpi.

AQC added that the new toners are available in bottles and 10 kilogramme bulk packaging, with page yields and suggested fill-weights provided. These include: 35g CMYK, 1,000 pages, low yield; 45g CMY/65g K, 2,000 to 2,500 pages, standard yield; and 55g CMY/95g K, 3,000 to 4,000 pages, high yield.

The toner manufacturer commented: “AQC Group UK offers exceptional toner quality for cartridge remanufacturers who are looking to offer their customers a cheaper alternative to the OEM without compromising on quality and transfer efficiency. At AQC Group UK, orders are picked and packed within 24 hours and extensive technical support is available for all their customers.”

For more information, visit

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ISC backs Lexmark case against US remanufacturer

August 27, 2015

ISC-logoThe OEM coalition filed a ‘friend of the court’ document in the Impression Products case to uphold legislation allowing OEMs to prevent re-importation of patented products intended for sale abroad.

The eventual ruling is set to significantly affect the US remanufacturing industry, as Impression Products is seeking for previous rulings to be overturned, which would mean companies selling remanufactured cartridges in the USA could use empties from across the world. The ISC move aims to help uphold legislation allowing IP holders to prevent re-importation of patent products intended for sale abroad.

The ISC’s amicus or ‘friend of the court’ document includes “legal and policy rationales for this position”, adding that OEMs in the imaging supplies industry “must wage a constant battle” against IP infringers as there is “relatively easy access to use patented goods to create an illegal aftermarket”.

The three judges overseeing the case called for a rare full-bench hearing of all 17 USFC (United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) judges in April 2015.

Coalition members include Brother, Canon USA, Epson America, Samsung America, Toshiba America and Xerox.






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Lexmark paves HQ car park with recycled toner

August 21, 2015

Lexmark asphaltThe parking lot on the OEM’s Lexington campus in Kentucky is the first commercial use in the USA of TonerPave, a product which uses Lexmark toner powder to create asphalt.

More than 9,000 pounds of toner from recycled printer cartridges went into the resurfacing material, developed by Australian-based cartridge recyclers Close the Loop, The Lane Report reported. TonerPave was created by in collaboration with Downer EDI, who has been using the product to resurface roads in Sydney, Australia.

Close the Loop is now working on the next generation of TonerPave, which hopes to further advance its sustainability and performance through incorporating rubber from recycled tires.

John Gagel, Corporate Manager of Sustainability at Lexmark, said: “TonerPave is an efficient and effective manner in which to recycle toner. We’re now demonstrating that we have a solution that can be utilized in a sustainable manner. It’s part of the circular economy.”

Dean Vukovic, Director of Business Development at Close the Loop, commented: “We are able to provide a product that does not increase the raw material cost of laying asphalt pavement. This is the model we have successfully built in Australia and expect no different in the U.S. market.”


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