Fascinating Recent Supreme Court Ruling

Do we really own our stuff? The recent supreme court patent ruling has huge implications for consumers. Not the least of which are, cell phones, cars, and online services.

About time for printer manufacturers to be rapped on the knuckles. In my opinion, this isn't even the most glaring abuse in the printer marketplace..

It is a very interesting ruling on issues of the type we have discussed here in another thread. 7 of the justices went with the majority and only Justice Ginsberg dissented (in part). Justice Gorsuch did not participate.

Whether it will result in any net gain for consumers or not is hard to say. Companies know there is more than one way to skin a cat and those that stay in business tend to be able to switch approaches to keep shareholders happy. The theory certainly suggests that court actions, which are effectively a form of regulation, simply increase costs--and we all know who ends up paying for that.

Do away with the printer maker's ink cartridge monopoly and the cost of my $20, $25, and $50 printer's will certainly go way up. I've found that, for my printing needs, it has been cheaper to buy new printers that come with cartridges or toner that is sufficient to print enough pages to make their cost much cheaper that buying replacement cartridges or toner. My $50 printer, for example, came with enough toner to print about 1200 pages, or so the say, and I will probably donate this printer to the thrift shop when it runs out of toner, which will also be the fate of the other printers. Since I do not print much, this set up will be good for several years. But if the Robber Baron's ink cartridge dynasty is curtailed soon, then my workaround plan will come to an end, and this will hurt the thrift shops business. But as Oldbooks1 has pointed out, profitable companies will find a way to extract their ounce of flesh no matter what. By the way, ways to hack or get around the smart cartridges evil settings or coding can be found on the internet, if one is inclined to spend hours trying to save a few bucks. The internet is a lovely place.

I think the printer/ink business is what is known as a joint product, a bit like a sheep which produces both wool and mutton.

The farmer could not care whether the buyer is interested in the wool or the meat. He will happily sell you the animal for the wool alone at $x and throw in the meat for free or sell you the meat for $x and throw in the wool for free.

The ruling itself, in this case, focused on a narrow issue of patentee rights and was not an effort by SCOTUS to address broad issues of consumer protection.


Exactly: the printer/ink business has been pulling the wool over people's eyes for some time now.