If you own a printer that takes ink cartridges, you're probably not aware of some the problems, profits and legalities that surround these essential items. Printer ink cartridges are absolute necessities in the UK and all over the world. Here are a few interesting facts and figures about ink for printers.

Fact #1: Follow the money. Before you buy that bargain basement brand-name printer, be sure to look into the cost of ink cartridges. Most printer manufacturers sell their printers at or even below cost, which makes them seem amazingly affordable. The real profit for printer makers, however, lies in the sale of printer cartridges. According to one study, the printer ink cartridge business is responsible for $21 billion (US) per year in sales.

Fact #2: Standards. Concerned about the burgeoning cost of printers ink, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have established testing standards for printers. These standards help manufacturers and consumers determine the yield (number of pages) of inkjet cartridges and toner cartridges. This information allows actual cost per page of printing to be calculated.

Fact #3: Legalities. Virtually every major printer manufacturer has been involved in lawsuits regarding the sale and use of re-manufactured inkjet or laser printer ink cartridges. In Japan, Epson won a case with the result that the sale of re-manufactured cartridges is banned. Both Canon and Hewlett-Packard have been involved in lawsuits over both cartridges and alleged unfair competition.

Fact #4: The “single use” concept. In 2005, Lexmark won a suit that gives the company the authority under patent and contract law to enforce the “single use only” policy that's written on the boxes in which their cartridges are packaged. This means that anyone who refills a Lexmark cartridge for reuse could face charges and legal action.

Fact #5: The “prebate” concept. Not all Lexmark cartridges are labelled “single use only.” For these unlabelled items, Lexmark has a program that gives a 20% discount on ink cartridges if consumers return them to Lexmark after a single use. Those who fail to return them are breaking the law and could face legal action if they refill a cartridge, send it to a third-party refiller or simply do not return it to Lexmark.

Those buying printer ink cartridges in the UK and elsewhere are advised to investigate the policies surrounding the reuse or refill of these indispensable items before engaging in this practice.

Source by Shawn Lead