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Brian Slesinsky
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Harmless Science Experiment
Harmless Science Experiment

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Supreme Court to Rule on Refilled Toner Cartridges

"Can a company that sold you something use its patent on that product to control how you choose to use after you buy it?"

It seems odd that, given all the momentous legal and political battles going on in Washington at the moment, the Supreme Court on Tuesday (3/21/17) decided to hear a court case between Lexmark (a printer manufacturer) and Impression Products (a provider of refilled Lexmark toner cartridges). However, the SCOTUS decision could drastically expand the scope of patents in the United States and establish a legal precedent with broad implications.

At issue is whether a patent holder has a 'right' to legally dictate how purchasers of their products can use them after the sale. In the case under review, Impressions is helping consumers by refilling used Lexmark toner cartridges and selling them more cheaply back to the public.

While a patent provides the holder a limited-time monopoly on sales of an innovation in order to encourage innovation, it hardly seems appropriate that a patent holder could prevent customers from extending the life of already sold products. I think the broader implications of the SCOTUS ruling in Lexmark's favor would be an immediate increase in consumer costs across many industries -- hardly what Americans need at the moment.

It will be worth keeping an eye out for the outcome of this court case, because it could affect far more than the price of toner cartridges...

#Patents #PatentExhaustion #Consumer

Posted SUN Mar 26, 2017 (11:49 am)

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From the article: "Google 'debating Trump supporters is', and [...] it’s page after page of 'debating Trump supporters is pointless', 'debating Trump supporters is a waste of time', and 'debating Trump supporters is like [funny metaphor for thing that doesn’t work]'. The overall picture you get is of a world full of Trump supporters and opponents debating on every street corner, until finally, after months of banging their heads against the wall, everyone collectively decided it was futile.

"Yet I have the opposite impression. Somehow we’ve managed to be a sharply polarized country [...] with essentially no debate taking place."



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Quote from the scientist in the article: "In terms of mouse work we are pretty much done, we could look at specific age-related diseases eg osteoporosis, but we should now prepare for clinical translation."

But: "The use of this peptide in patients is a long way away."

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From the article: "farmers throughout America's heartland have started hacking their equipment with firmware that's cracked in Eastern Europe and traded on invite-only, paid online forums."

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From the article: "[S]ince it began linking bonuses to diversity hiring, Intel has met or exceeded its goals. In 2015, 43 percent of new hires were women and underrepresented minorities, three percentage points above its target. Last year, it upped its goal to 45 percent of new hires, and met it. These changes weren’t just happening at the entry level: 40 percent of new vice presidents were women and underrepresented minorities. Intel’s U.S. workforce in 2014 was just 23.5 percent female. By the middle of last year, the percentage had risen two points, to 25.4 percent."

[...]

"[T]he idea has history: PepsiCo did something similar starting in the early 2000s. When, in the second year, the company didn’t meet its goal of 50 percent diversity hires, executive bonuses suffered. But eventually the company’s workforce did become more diverse. From 2001 to 2006, the representation of women and minorities among executives increased from 34 percent to 45 percent."

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From the article: "Napa County pays its farmworkers $41,940 a year, the highest in California."

[...]

"Already, strawberry growers in Ventura are experimenting with robots that plant seedlings, and growers in Central Coast counties are culling, weeding and even harvesting heads of lettuce with machines. At the outer edge, engineers are trying to teach machines to pick fruit."
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