Nothing irritates me more than carefully prepared propaganda that is designed specifically to misinform and misrepresent industry information for the purpose of benefiting those who have their own agendas. It’s transparent of course to those “in-the-know” and potentially influential to those that are not, but seeking to learn.
There is a lot of nonsense written and said about our industry by those who try and prosper from the falsehoods they propagate.
Let’s take one claim that is repeated time and time again, as a blatant example. “Every cartridge coming out of China is a clone, and patent infringing.” Sound familiar?
Some media and some western remanufacturing companies attempt to influence every cartridge reseller, dealer or wholesaler that it is true. Why? Because they fear losing business to Chinese imported products and they use the “everything from China is a patent infringing clone” defense to fight it.
Such blanket statements are simply untrue. They are fake news. The truth about imaging products exported from China to the West does not help their cause, so it is hoped scaremongering and creating false impressions will urge customers to remain loyal and keep prices stable.
Let’s clear this off the table once and for all. To say every imaging cartridge imported from China is a clone and patent infringing is a lie. Some world-class companies within our industry have made huge investments to build unique patent portfolios and have successfully designed and produced alternative new-built imaging cartridges that are a legitimate work-around alternative to an OEM original product. They are not clones, nor are they patent infringing.
However many of these new-built cartridges have a winning edge that seriously worries the competition, and rightly so. By virtue they are not remanufactured means they do not have a high empty cartridge cost in the bill of materials as do remanufactured cartridges. They do possess a consistently high quality and a lower price point than remanufactured products, and are also “patent safe” in that they do not infringe the OEM patents.
Of course not all compatible cartridges coming out of China are like this. It is probable that most Chinese companies attempting to export imaging cartridges into the US and European markets are infringing and are a “copycat” of the OEM. Such companies should be exposed and sued by the patent holder. Hopefully they will be. But it does not give license to create a false impression that everything from China is bad.
The term “clone “is like a returning bad penny that you never seem to get rid of. The term should be reserved for a new built cartridge that is an exact replica of the OEM in all respects. It follows, therefore, that if a new built cartridge is not an exact replica of the original OEM, it is not a clone. An Aftermarket toner is not a “clone” toners, as often reported, since many differences are evident in the formulations, which for the most part are “secret recipes” rather than patented formulations. Patents that exist in the toner area are more to do with how it is manufactured than the finished toner powder itself. When looking at toner powder, how can you tell if it was manufactured in a way that infringed someone’s patent?
Fake news is probably here to stay. When the facts don’t suit the argument, sell fake news. It’s like telling lies convincingly: some will be fooled some of the time, but not everyone will be fooled all the time.
There are now three choices and each is here to stay. 1. OEM genuine originals; 2. Remanufactured; and 3. New built non-infringing compatibles. The pros and cons of each will win or lose customers. However, the facts will prevail, not the fake news.
Potentially, the cheaper, non-infringing New built compatible cartridges could see the Aftermarket double its market share within 5 years. That volume increase will come from the OEM’s share and from those mainstream remanufacturers who do not transition. Both the OEMs and Remanufacturers are seriously worried and some with are desperately creating a false picture.
As Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but verify.”