ETIRA Addressed Threats & Opportunities

At the 2014 RT Imaging Summit Zhuhai, Vincent Van Dijk, Secretary General of ETIRA, addressed the threats and opportunities facing the European industry and discussed why new-built cartridges are so dangerous.

In his speech, Vincent addressed the key problem that European cartridge remanufacturers face today: the heavy competition from patent-infringing new-built cartridges. These products have been flowing to Europe for about 6 to 7 years, and their market sale prices are becoming lower all the time. Sometimes these 100% new products are even cheaper than the empty OEM cartridges. Therefore, remanufacturing is no longer economically viable.

Vincent told the attendees, we have seen exponential growth in SE Asia new-built imports. Also, the market share of patent-infringing new-built products in East-Europe has reached 40-60%, even larger than OEMs’. The major reason for the growth is the low prices of new-built products at only a few dollars, much lower than 3-4 years ago. But these products may easily cause OEM patent infringement issues and chemical properties’ issues (compliance with REACH rules). Plus, consumers will have bad experience by using non-OEM new-built products always with non-constant quality, which makes them go back to OEM rather than not to other remanufactured or new-built. Non-OEM infringing new-built products cannot be remanufactured; once used, they are thrown away, turning a burden for the environment.

In addition, the printer manufacturers do not accept this any longer. In the past few months, they have taken strong legal action against many companies that infringe OEM patents. ETIRA thinks that even more legal actions are coming and the recent actions taken by Canon are just the beginning.

Further, Vincent pointed out the risks that businesses run when selling patent-infringing cartridges in European markets. “Virtually every cartridge model will have one or more patents registered on it, at any given time at any given moment. If you are not in Europe, it will be very hard to assess the exact patent situation of your product in the various European markets, and the risk of being sued is always there,” said Vincent.

“RT Imaging Summit Zhuhai 2014 provided us an opportunity to showcase ETIRA to an audience which we normally do not reach: the exporters in China who send many of their products to Europe,” opined Vincent.

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