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ETIRA files opposition to Canon patent

October 20, 2014

An image from the patent document

An image from the patent document

The trade association has filed an official opposition at the European Patent Office against Canon’s granted patent, EP 1 536 207, which concerns remanufacturing techniques.

The patent, EP 1 536 297 B1, was granted to the OEM on 8 January this year – The Recycler reported on it in March – and refers to a process cartridge as well as the “mounting method” and “replacing method of a photosensitive drum”, with the document giving detail of the process of replacing the drum – an operation that remanufacturers of toner cartridges undertake and which could affect them with this particular cartridge.

The patent document first discusses the “connecting member” and the holes that are provided in the drum shaft for it to sit in, with the document even covering the actual turning of the connecting member as “perpendicular to a longitudinal direction of the drum shaft”, with the openings and “flanges” also documented.

It then discusses the method of “pulling out the drum shaft”, including the openings in the drum frame and the direction in which it can be turned to be removed or installed. The patent even goes on to cover the input of a replacement drum and its mounting on the drum frame, with each step until completion covered in the document.

The Recycler reported in July that ETIRA was going to look into the patent, which it said “seeks to monopolise” remanufacturing techniques, and added of its official opposition that “patents on remanufacturing are a permanent nuisance for our industry. ETIRA does not support them if they render the legitimate activity of remanufacturing cartridges impossible”.

ETIRA noted that “following an in-depth assessment” by its experts and a law firm, the association concluded that “this is a patent which is worth fighting on behalf of the entire industry”, with the official opposition filed earlier this month.

The 180 claims in the patent, ETIRA noted in July, are “yet another example of the ridiculous approach followed by the EPO that we have seen in this industry: after 10 years of deliberations, the patent grants a monopoly on technical effects that were around at the time of application or would have easily been thought of by an expert. But the EPO is often more interested in collecting registration fees than in promoting innovation or connecting to developments in the real world”.

You can view the patent in full here.

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One response to “ETIRA files opposition to Canon patent”

  1. Zoltan Matyas says:

    Huge thumbs up for ETIRA for this!
    Having our association opposing the patent officially is without a doubt positive and in my opinion shows unity and a solid maturing industry in the background capable of standing up for its right to exist.
    Thank you!

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