Use of empty non-European cartridges
Some manufacturers of printers and inkjet cartridges (also known as Original Equipment Manufacturers or “OEMs”) regularly voice their determination to defend their intellectual property rights and to act against unscrupulous market operators. In terms of intellectual property, each person expects their rights and, notably, their patents to be respected. In particular, OEMs can contest the French or European marketing of remanufactured inkjet cartridges when the empty cartridges are not of European origin.
Precision for non-Eupean empties cartridges sell-out
Why is it not possible to sell, in Europe, an inkjet cartridge remanufactured from an empty inkjet cartridge which was first sold outside Europe?
For many years, the majority of OEM inkjet cartridges have been “regionalised”, i.e. they are only designed for use with certain printer models sold in the same geographical area (e.g. : country or European Economic Area).
The implementation of the principle of regional exhaustion of intellectual property rights means OEMs may not prohibit any other marketing of their cartridges in the territory of the European Economic Area (European Union + Iceland + Norway + Liechtenstein) if they have placed them on the market or have agreed to market them in this territory. As the World Intellectual Property Organization explains, this first marketing in Europe exhausts the intellectual property rights (e.g: a patent) attached to their cartridges. On the other hand, the intellectual property rights of OEMs are maintained when the remanufactured product has been obtained from a cartridge marketed for the first time on a market outside the European Economic Area.
ARMOR OFFICE PRINTING’S POSITION
Armor Office Printing approves the approach taken by OEMs and would like, once again, to reassure and inform our partners and consumers of the compliance of our remanufactured inkjet cartridges with the regulations in force.
Armor Office Printing is convinced that all the actions taken by OEMs will make it possible to re-establish the market on healthy bases with operators who are genuinely concerned by society’s issues such as respect for the environment, health and respect for intellectual property rights.
At Armor Office Printing, we are therefore committed to using and remanufacturing only empty ink jet cartridges placed on a “regional” market by their OEMs, and to market them on the same market.
In addition, we would also like to remind distributors that their liability may be incurred when remanufactured products from “non-regional” markets are put into circulation on their “regional” market. Consequently, they must remain vigilant regarding suppliers offering large volumes of cartridges and attractive prices. The principle of exhaustion of rights tends, on the contrary, to create scarcity and reduce the number of empty cartridges available and, therefore, to increase prices.
It is in this context that we wish to reaffirm our availability to provide our partners with environmentally responsible, quality ink jet cartridges that respect health and the intellectual property rights of every individual. You can, at any time, obtain from your usual sales contact a certificate guaranteeing that we abide by our commitments.
(Source : International Exhaustion and Parallel Importation, World Intellectual Property Organization, https://www.wipo.int/sme)