*NEWS*RULING RESTORES CANON’S INK PROFITS

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*NEWS*RULING RESTORES CANON’S INK PROFITS

 user 2006-02-07 at 10:30:00 am Views: 82
  • #14073

    Ruling restores Canon line of profit
    An appellate court decision Tuesday restored Canon’s control over the market of ink cartridges for its home-use printers.
    The
    Intellectual Property High Court ordered Recycle Assist Co. to stop
    selling recycled Canon cartridges for home-use inkjet printers, saying
    the products infringe on Canon patents.
    The Tokyo District Court
    earlier ruled for the defendant in Canon’s suit against the recycling
    company. The defendant plans to appeal to the supreme court.
    Inkjet printers are a small part of Canon’s operations, but the business is profitable.
    Analysts
    estimate that combined domestic sales of inkjet printers and
    consumables represented a mere 2 percent of Canon’s consolidated sales
    for the year ended in December.
    Moreover, recycled products
    accounted for only 6.1 percent of the nation’s ink cartridge market in
    2005, according to market researcher BCN Inc.
    Still, sales of recycled products are growing.
    More
    important, if the Intellectual Property High Court had upheld the lower
    court decision, it would have been construed as approval for
    third-party recycling of consumables for office-use printers and
    copiers, which were not covered in the suit.
    For Canon and other manufacturers of printers and copiers, consumables are highly profitable.
    Margins on cartridges for home-use inkjet printers, for example, are estimated to be as much as 25 to 30 percent.
    Critics
    say Canon is earning huge profits from cartridges while keeping printer
    prices low. They also say Canon is not disclosing sufficient
    information on profits from consumables.
    In Tuesday’s ruling, the Intellectual Property High Court declared that recycled products should be promoted.
    Canon, which started as a camera maker, entered the office equipment sector in the 1960s.
    While
    barring entry of newcomers in the consumables market, Canon has used
    the hefty profits to finance development of high value-added products.
    In
    2003, the Fair Trade Commission searched Canon’s office on suspicion
    that it had modified specifications of its toner cartridges for
    office-use printers to prevent other companies from entering the
    business.
    Canon had installed electronic parts on the cartridges,
    which prevented them from being recycled. The FTC ruled, however, that
    the modifications were not illegal.