US Supreme Court rules in favor of inks August 21 2017, 6 Comments

May 30, 2017, in the Supreme Court of the United States, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, together with 7 Associate Justices, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan hold that printer makers give up their patent rights upon the first sale of product, domestically or overseas.

sam ink supreme court justices

Chief Justice John G. Roberts: "Take a shop that restores and sells used cars. The business works because the shop can rest assured that, so long as those bringing in the cars own them, the shop is free to repair and resell those vehicles. That smooth flow of commerce would sputter if companies that make the thousands of parts that go into a vehicle could keep their patent rights after the first sale. Those companies might, for instance, restrict resale rights and sue the shop owner for patent infringement. And even if they refrained from imposing such restrictions, the very threat of patent liability would force the shop to invest in efforts to protect itself from hidden lawsuits. Either way, extending the patent rights beyond the first sale would clog the channels of commerce, with little benefit from the extra control that the patentees retain. And advances in technology, along with increasingly complex supply chains, magnify the problem."

Courtesy of SAM★INK®.

* Wikipedia Reference


Printer makers cannot legally force customers to purchase supplies exclusively from them.  Such "tying agreement" is unlawful and violates provisions of the US Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act.

In a US landmark 1936 case, the Supreme Court ruled that IBM could not terminate a customer's data processing machine lease if the customer chose to use tabulating cards from other manufacturers.  The more recent Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act title 15, Section 2303 specifically prohibits a manufacturer from conditioning a written or implied warranty on the use of its own branded products except under very restrictive circumstances.

In 2013-September.  Collins Inkjet filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, alleges that Kodak engaged in anticompetitive conduct by illegally tying the sale of Kodak print heads to the sale of Kodak inks, as well as unfair competition and deceptive practices due to statements Kodak made about the characteristics of the two firm's inks.  Tying the purchase of Kodak printer spare parts to Kodak's inks is a violation of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act.

2014-March-10th.  United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Federal Judge Michael Ryan Barrett ruled in favor of Collins Inkjet and granted an injunction against Kodak.

2015-March.  Kodak appealed to her home state of New York but ... New York Sixth Circuit Judge John M. Rogers again ruled in favor of Collins Inkjet and upheld the injunction against Kodak.

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