OEMs granted refill patents
June 12, 2012
HP and Canon have been awarded refill-related patents, with HP succeeding to protect “a refillable ink tank” and Canon has been awarded a method of recycling.
OEMs HP and Canon have successfully been granted refill patents in relation to both the design of a refillable ink tank and a method of refilling.
HP has been granted patent number EP 2 280 829 B 1, pertaining to “a refillable ink tank for use in a printer”, with the outline of such in figure 1a, and the patent report identifying the structure of the patented tank.
Figure 1a, HP patent outline
What is important to note is that HP will be able to prevent refilling and remanufacturing of a cartridge if it utilises this ink tank.
Canon has been awarded patent number EP 1 430 960 B 1, concerning a process of cartridge recycling, which is of obvious significant consequence to the aftermarket.
The patent is noted as “a method of recycling a process cartridge containing a toner, comprising the steps of: crushing a process cartridge containing a toner to disassemble the process cartridge into main component parts thereof and recovering the toner by suction;
“Separating main component parts containing metal materials from other main component parts;
Figure 1b, Canon patent outline
“Crushing the separated main component parts containing metal materials to disassemble the separated main component parts containing metal materials into metal materials and other materials;
“And separating the metal materials from the other materials for further use.”
Figure 1b features an illustration of the protected process.
While each patent is individually concerning, both set a potentially disruptive precedent for future cases and patent applications.
Neither HP nor Canon has yet to comment.
Brother has recently applied for a number of anti-remanufacturing patents, which will record the number of times a cartridge has been refilled and a sensor that will alert the OEM of efforts to remanufacture or manipulate the innards of a sensor-equipped cartridge.