New York Times Speaks Out on Current Patent Law Battle

The Editorial Board of one of the best known newspapers in the United States has weighed in on the battle over patent rights on used printer cartridges.

An editorial published in The New York Times on September 7 says patent law shouldn’t block the sale of used tech products, like printer cartridges.

Nineteen journalists at the prestigious daily, who make up the Editorial Board, have the primary responsibility to write The Times’ editorials, which represent the voice of the board, its editor and the publisher.

According to The Times, “American patent law should not be used to prevent consumers from reselling, altering or fixing technology products.”

The editorial cites the federal appeals court which will hear a case commencing October 2, that could clearly establish this principle. The Lexmark International v. Impression Products, which is before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, involves what happens to used toner cartridges used in laser printers.

The Editorial argues “this case raises important questions about the reach of American patent law and how much control a manufacturer can exert after its products have been lawfully sold. Taken to their logical conclusion, Lexmark’s arguments would mean that producers could use patent law to dictate how things like computers, printers and other patented goods are used, changed or resold and place restrictions on international trade.”

“That makes no sense,” argues The Times. “In a world where technology products and components are brought and sold numerous times.” The Times goes on to say “The court should rule in favor of Impression.”

The Times reports “public-interest groups like Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and technology companies like Google, Intel and Dell have filed briefs in support of Impression, arguing that patent law should not be used to limit the resale of goods and restrict international trade.”

The article concludes saying, “patents should not give the manufacturer indefinite control over the product after it has been sold.”

You can read the full editorial at:

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