back to article Yes, HP will still sue you if you make cartridges for its inkjet printers

HP is trumpeting new victories in its longstanding war against makers of ink cartridges that work in its inkjet printers, having scored recent legal wins in Germany and Poland. The dead-tree-coloring king said on Tuesday that it had closed two separate lawsuits with German firm BestUse, which failed to mount any kind of …

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  1. Grogan

    Very well, HP... I will boycott your products on behalf of everyone I influence. I can't stand a bully... after market ink cartridges are perfectly valid and if it wasn't for that asshole American patent system and them trying to cooerce the whole world into adopting it (If you want to trade with the U.S., you have to abide by their whims) commodities wouldn't be as expensive as they are.

    I have a lot of customers that buy after market ink cartridges, and when I tell them what HP is doing they'll avoid those creeps like Jack the Ripper. They are probably the most prominently marketed brand of a lot of devices here, but not the only.

    I can't stand the layers of bloated shitware consumers have to pollute their computers with to interface with HP products anyway. It's particularly distasteful when someone with an older computer buys an HP printer as a replacement. It shouldn't take all of a computer's resources just to operate a printer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In many cases it is possible to buy a printer use the enclosed print ink, discard the printer, buy a new printer use the enclosed print ink, discard the printer, buy a new....

      Printers are as cheap as chips, the rip off is having to buy mor cartridges.

      1. A n o n y m o u s

        Ever thought that perhaps the printers are subsidised by the cost of the consumables?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Of course they are and everyone here knows it.

          But just because they decide on a business model that requires them to act like scum it doesn't mean people have to respect it.

        2. The Godfather
          WTF?

          Oh yeh?

          In which case, the printers should be free of charge...

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Oh yeh?

            I'm sure that they were tempted to give away the printers, but there are some strange trade laws. I don't remember the exact details, but a printer with the cartridge installed has a different customs tariff than one with the cartridges NOT installed. I imagine that there would be dumping law violations if HP imported printers and gave them away as standard.

        3. Euripides Pants Silver badge

          "Ever thought that perhaps the printers are subsidised by the cost of the consumables?"

          Tough shit on HP then. They set the prices stupidly.

        4. kiwimuso
          FAIL

          Fuck off HP!!!!

          "Ever thought that perhaps the printers are subsidised by the cost of the consumables?"

          So? That's their business proposition is it? That's fine by me, but what they are up to now is NOT fine by me.

          I had an excellent HP 1210 All-in-one printer. Worked beautifully. I took it to UK with me. Sadly it broke down, so based on my experience with them I bought another on, this time a wireless one.

          Although it prints fine and scans OK, it is the biggest heap of shit I have ever come across. Not only does the software not allow you to change the default page size to something that works in 90% (guess) of the world (A4). Correction, it will allow you to change it, but if you go into one of their other icons(?) to say, print a picture, when you return to 'Ordinary, everyday printing' (who thinks up these things), you have to reset the default to A4. When one complains to HP Service desk (an oxymoron if ever I saw one) they tell you that Letter is the same as A4, and all they will tell you is to reinstall the software - over and over and over. The robots don't read anything that is in your emails, just insisting that they are 'pleased to be of assistance' and to kindly reinstall the software - or switch it off and switch it on again. Doesn't do my blood pressure any good I can tell you.

          Not only that, but having returned to New Zealand I find that I can't just go out and buy a cartridge to fit, even an HP cartridge, as I did with my old one one in England. The fuckers have actually regionalised the printers!!! They are getting as bad as the big studios. I can't just buy a cartridge (even proper HP ones) off the shelf as they won't work. Oh no! I've got to waste my time calling HP to have the 'region' changed.

          I spent over an hour pissing about with a service desk agent while nothing they suggested worked. In the end they said they would replace the printer, which on the face of it, sounds fine, except they insisted that I had to give my existing (working) printer to the courier. I told 'em that they will get the old printer back when, and only when, I have the new one installed and working properly. Bad grace but they accepted it. What else could they do. I told the courier the same thing. They came back the next day to collect the old one.

          As of now HP, I will never buy another HP product ever again. To stoop to regionalising printers so that each country can charge their own price for consumables is despicable. Incidentally, one of their agents admitted that's why it was done. Quote "We have to protect our resellers' unquote.

          . Sad really, as it was a damn good printer.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: In many cases it is possible to buy a printer...

        This was very easy with printers (pre-circa 2004?) which didn't have unique id's that Windows recognised (ie. Windows trusted the configuration it had been given). The problem with modern printers (eg. HP) is that Windows (since XP) reads the new printer's id, determines it is different to that it has associated with the existing printer driver and hence insists it is different to the previous totally identical printer and so has to install new drivers...

      3. DJO Silver badge

        If only it were that simple.

        "it is possible to buy a printer use the enclosed print ink, discard the printer, buy a new printer use the enclosed print ink"

        You do know that the cartridges that come with new printers typically hold no more than 25% to 50% of a replacement cartridge so replacing the printer to get the supplied ink is not even slightly cost effective. The printer manufacturers may be evil but they're not stupid.

      4. Vociferous

        Considering that inkjets have a "out of ink" counter which triggers after just some 40-50 pages, that'll still be quite expensive printing.

        Go laser instead.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe it's time for an EU Commission to step in and rap HP over the knuckles for price fixing (the printer cartridges), for inhibiting free trade....

      Oh I forgot, HP are the official suppliers to the EU...

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        I've not bought anything from HP since they decided not to support a scanner on XP (I'd bought it in the days of Win95).

        Can't see me changing my mind any time soon.

      2. cozappz

        Not really, Xerox is the official one.

    3. BillG Silver badge
      IT Angle

      HP installs so much bloatware with their printer drivers that I haven't bought an HP printer for years.

  2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    IANAL

    If I buy an HP ink cartridge, the patent for that cartridge has been paid for. If someone refills it with ink and sells it, the patent is still paid for. The concept is called patent exhaustion. The idea is that when a component manufacturer pays a license fee, the product manufacturer, distributor, retailer and customer _should_ be safe from prosecution for that patent. AFAIK, the law is abundantly clear, but the cost of defending against a patent bully is prohibitive.

    If HP want to sell their printers below cost, then is their choice. If HP wants to feel unhappy that people are selling refilled ink cartridges then they are welcome to go into the corner and cry. This sort of granny bashing is not going to earn them any friends.

    1. dan1980

      Re: IANAL

      @Flocke Kroes

      While I don't disagree with you, I believe the particular cases mentioned involve companies making entirely new cartridges, rather than refilling old ones. I believe that was the point of contention around them being called 'remanufactured'.

      If the cartridges themselves contain patented technology and the third-party versions copy that technology (however vaguely you define it) then the claim is sound unless the patent is invalidated.

      I think that's the case, but don't approve of it - they're going backwards. Deliberately. The right way to do things is to make the disposable part as cheap and simple as possible. No plastic box filled with ink should be so complex as to justify a patent so what they do is integrate more functionality inside this component. In the process, they make that component more expensive for the consumer - win-win!!

      1. Phil W

        Re: IANAL

        Indeed, the problem is that "the disposable part" in the case of lots of HP printers includes the print head. Those nozzles are where the engineering and patent worthy stuff really lies, and is also why most HP cartridges cost more than most Epson,Kodak etc cartridges.

        Having the print head be easily replaceable is a great idea, as it is the common cause of death for inkjet printers, however having it as a separate insert in the carriage is a much better design, which a small number of HP and many Kodak printers use.

        Also I've had to bin a huge number of Epson printers because the nozzles have become completely useless and cannot be replaced due to being integrated into the carriage.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IANAL

          I have an old HP Officejet Pro (K550) which has two replaceable heads, which in the entire life of the printer has only happened once for each, despite me using this thing fairly actively as it still beats the living daylights out of the other printers I've bought since (it's stupidly fast printing normal text). I have no idea what triggers the printer to ask for a new head, but it's clearly a very rare event. However, the printer must be at least 6 years old (if not more) and this is where I start having a problem with HP's never expiring patents.

          Shops only stock what they sell, which is logical, nobody wants to tie up funds in unmoving stock. That does, however, mean I have to rely more and more on online and replacement providers because the original "88" cartridges become hard to obtain. In other words, I am pushed towards the replacement providers because HP's original cartridges become hard to obtain - and refillable cartridges with extra ink work out at about 25% of the original printing costs (and it's now actually easy to do as suppliers have been bringing out cartridges that are especially aimed at being refilled).

          What amuses me most is the threat of losing warranty for not using original ink - apart from this not having been tested in any EU court AFAIK (it is debatable if this can be considered a universal excuse to avoid warranty repairs), there is also the tiny matter of economics. Given the fairly massive savings made by using non-original cartridges, it takes less than 10 cartridge refills by replacements to have earned the cost of the printer back, so the (alleged) "risk" is worth it.

          If HP wants to address the problems of replacement cartridges properly, it has but to do what the MPAA has discovered as the most effective measure to fight piracy: lower prices. I know that means less expensive lunches for the executives, but if you don't listen to what a market is telling you, maybe you *deserve* less profit. HP makes good kit, and that's the reason I buy it. But it has to stay economically viable or any client will do the sums.

        2. CliveM

          Re: IANAL

          Having the print head be easily replaceable is a great idea, as it is the common cause of death for inkjet printers, however having it as a separate insert in the carriage is a much better design, which a small number of HP and many Kodak printers use.

          It's a nice idea in principle but if they're only needed once in a blue moon they soon get regarded as "spares" instead of "consumables" - you lose the widespread distribution and pricing goes up even further. Laser toner fuser units have a finite life expectancy and so did dot matrix print heads. Both are/were designed to be easily replaceable but in practice that rarely happens. If a fuser unit goes the savings are so small over a new printer that going for the completely new device is generally a no-brainer over fixing a printer with 100,000 pages on the clock. Dot matrix heads, even while they were still in their prime, were almost as pricey even if you did somehow manage to track down a supplier.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: IANAL

            >Having the print head be easily replaceable is a great idea, ....

            >

            > It's a nice idea in principle but if they're only needed once in a blue moon

            > they soon get regarded as "spares" instead of "consumables"

            A few years back I had a conversation with HP support and they regarded print heads as being "parts" and hence part of the printer and covered by the printer's extended warranty. So they would replace them free (!!!) if they had failed within warranty; naturally you had to confirm you had only used HP inks...

            Yes replacement print heads are generally not stocked by high street and consumer focused suppliers and yes they do tend to be relatively expensive (for my printer equivalent to one complete set of HP ink cartridges); but if the printer you are using is relatively expensive the cost isn't so bad.

  3. etabeta
    Stop

    Very easy solution: NEVER purchase anything made by HP. Before purchasing any printer I always check the availability of alternative firmware so chip-less cartridges may be used.

    1. Shades

      I've never heard of that before, sounds interesting. Care to elaborate, or at least point in the right direction?

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      re: NEVER purchase anything made by HP

      Whilst I have many issues with more recent HP printers and their associated software, I would be cautious about dismissing them. They are one of the few printer vendors that don't (yet) go to excessive lengths to make it very difficult to use refilled and/or re-manufactured cartridges. (Although in saying that I'm really disappointed that they have seemingly stopped selling printers such as the Officejet 8000/8500 series which could be readily adapted to use a continuous ink system.)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: NEVER purchase anything made by HP

          Kodak? Good luck on that one. If you see one, it's old stock.

          http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/printing/3401145/kodak-stop-making-selling-printers/

          http://www.pcworld.com/article/2011054/kodak-printers-are-gone-but-the-ink-sells-on.html

      2. dan1980

        Re: re: NEVER purchase anything made by HP

        @Rolad6

        The Officejet 8000/8500 series . . .

        Never, in my life, have I been filled with such IT rage as the first time I dealt with one of those abominations. Unless it was the second (and subsequent) times I have been forced to configure, reconfigure, uninstall, clean, reinstall (thrice sequentially) and wrangle that truly hateful software package.

        As a printer, it seemed to be acceptable and certainly as a value proposition on paper it appeared quite handsomely appointed and a good fit for small offices. But, as a package, it was, well, less handsome.

        That it takes 300MB of software to enable network scanning is annoying. That that software takes three quarters of an hour to install (and about as long to uninstall) is insane. That the software is buggy and requires re-installation every other week seals that printer as worst I have ever seen.

        That said, those printers were a good little earner for my company (one 'fix' took over 3 hours of uninstalls, updated downloads and re-installs) but the resulting TCO* meant that, even for an office of just 3 people, a rental agreement on a 'proper' machine was a much better option.

        God I hated those printers! (Hourly-rates not withstanding : )

        * - Bingo!

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: re: NEVER purchase anything made by HP @dan1980

          Yes the 8500/8000 was a wake up call - having not had to buy a printer for many years due to the reliability of my old HP All-in-1 and printers.

          Fortunately HP did it will extended support, so after several returns and some firmware updates all settled down and it has been a stable device for some years now (we've got 8 of them currently on the network). The 8500 along with all the comments on HP's forum about other printers and the software (standardised across the range) certainly caused me to look more seriously at the competition.

          As for the software, yes agree HP certainly took a wrong turning. trying to install drivers for 8500, 8500a and 8600 on Windows 7 and 8 requires care and attention.

    3. NumptyScrub

      quote: "Before purchasing any printer I always check the availability of alternative firmware so chip-less cartridges may be used."

      Just be careful you are not inadvertently breaking the law; the deliberate circumvention of technical protection mechanisms has been deemed an offense in certain jurisdictions, and it could be argued that firmware that checks for "legitimate" cartridges is a technical protection mechanism, and thus replacing said firmware is a deliberate circumvention.

      Not that I don't agree with you, but vaguely worded legislation that is zealously applied by big corporations can be exceedingly painful if it is decided that someone has infringed :(

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        I think he means bulk ink printing etc. We have an epson 2400, epson 1900 and epson 360 all on bulk ink tanks. We use a flash program to reset the counters on the printers so that you can keep printing when the printer thinks it is supposed to be dead (we have external waste bottles too so the pad doesnt get used).

        I never could find a reliable HP method that would work as well as the bulk ink tanks.

        We have an old canon IP4000 that has easily refillable cartridges (it has an optical sensor shining into each cartridge, not a chip) and the head carriage can be replaced.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        We could always call it jailbreaking... Perhaps Obama could stamp his approval on this like he did to Apple?

  4. Goat Jam

    Thanks HP

    For reminding me why I never buy any of your products.

  5. Schultz

    I thought a recent court case went the other way

    I remember reading about HP loosing a lawsuit against some third party ink supplier in Germany recently. Either my memory turns bad, or it's the typical case of HP publicising the cases where it "closes ... lawsuits" without an actual legal review to distract from a not-so-clear legal situation.

    1. swissrobin

      Re: I thought a recent court case went the other way

      Forget landfill Android ... landfill inkjet printers ... their current pricing model is so daft that you would be forgiven for thinking that it is indeed cheaper to throw away the whole printer and just buy a new one each time the ink runs out (as stated above). The EU, ignoring whether they give a crap about this anti-competitive behaviour, should take some note of the number of printers in HP's "recycling" program.

      I wonder if you can build a house out of inkjet printers ...

    2. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: I thought a recent court case went the other way

      "..HP loosing a lawsuit .."

      Really? and after they'd loosed the lawsuit, what was the result?

      Did they lose or wiiiiiin?

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: I thought a recent court case went the other way

      Most copyright/patent infringement lawsuits are settled out of court. It's massively expensive for both sides in attorney's fees and it's generally pretty clear cut whose going to win. Apple and Samsung may battle to the death, but they both have loads of cash (well, Apple does) and the stakes are much higher. This is why you don't see too many of these cases being advertised. Part of the agreements usually require both sides not to talk about the settlement.

  6. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Price Comparison

    Buy a set of "OFFICIAL" replacement toners for most colour lasers and you are looking at ~£250

    Buy a set of "REMANUFACTURED" toners and you are looking at ~£150

    Buy a set of brand new 3rd party toners (from China) and you are looking at ~£100

    Buy toner powder and refill yourself - including chips (from China) and you are looking at ~£25

    I have been a HP customer for many years, but crappy, bloated and badly written software installs, lack of driver updates and now this means I am looking elsewhere for my new printer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Price Comparison

      Yep - am happily running a set of remanufactured CMYK toner cartridges in my HP CLJ - supplied by a UK company ... which cost about 1/3 what a set of 'official' HP cartridges would have cost.

      Other printer grumbles include HP's habit of releasing short lived variants of their printer range, which they drop support for soon after (in my case, the HP CLJ3600n...)

      General HP hardware grumbles include embedded HTTP interfaces which only support older versions of Internet Explorer (eg my switch and router, which I can only manage properly from command line from Linux and Mac machines)

      Lessons learned, I now avoid HP kit.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Meh

    I've had a claim 1 in 3 HP cartridges can't be refilled as they are too borderline to do so.

    Anyone know if this is an UL or for real?

    I'd like to know do HP license there super-duper-nothing-better-anywhere Special Sauce to anyone?

    Because if they don't that's starting look like a monopoly already.

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: I've had a claim 1 in 3 HP cartridges can't be refilled as they are too borderline to do so.

      I've seen one similar effect.

      No 10 and 11 cartridges, used in bigger inkjets like 2500C, have 'empty' flag in the cartridge chip. This will be set when physical pressure inside the cartridge drops too low. Faulty pressure sensors and firmware bugs can set it, too, for the greater amusement. No official reset methods available.

      If you manage to refill the cartridge before the 'empty' flag is set, then it will work. If not, it will report 'ink low' condition forever.

      1. JaitcH
        WTF?

        Re: I've had a claim 1 in 3 HP cartridges can't be refilled as they are too borderline to do so.

        REPLACEMENT CHIPS are available (from China) and are used widely in Canada. Most of the recycling/refill shops know how to get them.

        Buy a Brother printer - last for years and multiple refill sources abound!

        1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          Re: I've had a claim 1 in 3 HP cartridges can't be refilled as they are too borderline to do so.

          Hey, no reason to trip the WTF flag in this case. Of course there are replacement chips and whatnot.

          JS19 just asked whether that claim has any merit. Well, it has, kind of, depending on, etc.

  8. wowfood

    Few things

    1: Never buying an HP printer.

    2: I need to buy a new printer soon anyway. Anyone who can give me recommendations? I'd prefer one with scanner / photocopy capabilities.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Few things

      "I have been a HP customer for many years, but crappy, bloated and badly written software installs, lack of driver updates and now this means I am looking elsewhere for my new printer."

      I gave up on HP printers a few years back, because the low cost printer not only had expensive ink, but also the low cost was reflected in lousy software design. Particularly the install/uninstall/update routines.

      My last inkjet lost most of its 5-in-1 fuctionality when the update install failed, because it couldn't overwrite one of the files from the original install, and it couldn't be deleted either.

      I'm on my second Epson inkjet now. The previous one was getting a bit worn and unreliable after several years good use. I chose a Workforce 3520, because it does the same and more than my previous Epson, and uses the same cartridges. ( so by not wasting the the ones I have spare I pretty much covered the cost of buying the printer).

      1. cynic56

        Re: Few things

        I have an Epson WF-3520. Sorry, but I hate it - especially as it keeps rejecting non-Epson cartridges and inventing other spurious and meaningless erors. Worst printer I have ever had. I'd replace it tomorrow if I knew a make that is happy with own-brand cartridges. Not HP. Not Epson. What's left?

      2. Werner McGoole
        Happy

        Continuous ink supply systems...

        ...are good things to have if you've a little technical skill to set them up, so it's worth seeking out a printer that'll take one. I'm currently using a Canon MG5250 with a CISS and ink is now effectively so cheap I don't have to worry how much I print.

        The downside is the cost of the CISS (about £50 when I bought it) and the fact you'll need a new one if you change printers. So I'm planning on getting an identical printer as a spare.

    2. Mr Spigot

      Re: Few things

      I've owned a Canon MG5350 all-in-one for over a year with good results and no issues.

      Compatible cartridges are cheap and easy to find.

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005I9JQRG

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Few things

      >2: I need to buy a new printer soon anyway

      Well if you use a lot of ink, hence why the cost of ink is a concern, I would suggest you select one for which you can attach a reasonable quality continuous ink supply system (CISS) to.

      Over the last few years, I've used the printers listed here (www.cityinkexpress.co.uk) to guide my shopping list and have become a satisfied customer.

      1. Salts

        Re: Few things

        I have also used the CISS from city ink and they are really good, if you print a lot they pay for themselves very quickly.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Few things

      My wife has a brilliant Canon ML-somethingorother, which has an integrated flatbed scanner with copy function.

      It cost a fraction of what my HP CLJ did and does a very good job. I only still use the HP because I already own it, its network shared via JetDirect and prints marginally faster than the canon.

      If I didn't already have the HP CLJ, I suspect we'd be perfectly happy with the Canon, as although its USB only I would simply share it from my Mac workstation over the network.

    5. Wade Burchette

      Re: Few things

      I really like the Brother brand printers. They suck at photographs, but are otherwise rock-solid. Plus, Brother is not part of the ink cartel and so ink and toner are cheaper than the rest. They are new to the ink game, but not to lasers. In my opinion, they have the best laser printers on the market. Their color laser all-in-ones are big and very heavy, but it should last a long time.

      If you want to print lots of photographs then an expensive Epson printer with Epson paper is the way to go. Epson ink uses piezo crystals. I believe they are the only one that does, which is why generic photo paper does not work well with Epson printers. I would not get a lower-end Epson, only the expensive Epson photo printers. On some of the models, you can get a good deal on the ink at amazon.com.

      I've been shying away from HP printers for a long time now because their quality has gone in the toilet of late. Bloated drivers with junk I do not want or need. Why does the driver included a Bing toolbar? And it seems they just stop working far too often. This just seals the deal.

      1. Vociferous

        Re: Few things

        > I really like the Brother brand printers.

        At least a couple of years ago Brother was the only manufacturer who's inkjets did NOT have an automatic "out of ink" counter which, regardless of actual ink levels, triggered low ink warnings after X pages printed.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Few things

      Brother laser. Can't vouch for their ink jet, but their multifunction lasers are great.

      - Inexpensive to purchase.

      - Reasonably priced consumables.

      - Great driver support.

      - Reliable (in the family we have 4 that have never given problems.)

    7. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Few things

      Bought a wireless Samsung colour laser last year which has gone through a few reams of paper and still nowhere near emptied any of the four CMYK toner cartridges. Toner ain't cheap, but lasts longer than ink, and you have no wastage with the 'head cleaning'. IIRC there are plenty of 'alternative' suppliers to the official cartridges that are either remanufactured or cheap Chinese rip-offs.

      For B+W printing, I use an old Samsung ML-4500 which has been going for years. It turns out about 10k pages per toner cartridge, which can be refilled or obtained as remanufactured items.

      Note that you can't refill a toner catridge forever, as the transfer drum wears out eventually, and the process is very messy - best put plenty of newspaper down first!

    8. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Few things

      Wowfood. Buy a separate scanner and printer. You will be able to get better quality for both items. My scanner software has a little utility that let's it operate just like a photocopier. I have an HP monochrome Laserjet 4100 that I picked up used for a couple of hundred bucks with all of the options (liquidation of a mortgage lender that went bust) and it's been dead reliable. Color stuff I send out for. The photo printing shop I use has printers I'll never justify the price of. Still need colour? Get a good laser. The cartridges are more, but the cost per page is much less as you get many more pages out of the toner carts on average.

  9. Scott Broukell
    Meh

    What!

    You mean there's coloured ink in there and stuff - I thought the machine was just designed to just fold A4 sheets in ever more intricate, wrinkled and bizarre ways. Learn sunnink evry day dun'tcha!

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Go

      Re: What!

      Printer Origami. For some reason none of the manufacturers ever mentions that capability.

  10. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    oh c'mon

    unless you live under a rock, it should be plenty obvious that the current pricing model of cheap ink printers actively discourages from actually using them to print anything. These devices are meant as a office decoration, not as printers!

    If you want to actually print anything, you need to perform due diligence on the cost of refill and this will most likely direct you to either more expensive models (e.g. some Epsons) or to laser printers.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: oh c'mon

      So true.

      While I abhor practises such as putting chips into things which don't need them, it does keep HP afloat - I think that is probably a good thing on balance. I'd hate to live in a Dell & Lenovo world.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: oh c'mon

      "If you want to actually print anything, you need to perform due diligence on the cost of refill and this will most likely direct you to either more expensive models (e.g. some Epsons) or to laser printers."

      The same principle applies to laser printers. HP lasers are cheap to buy, expensive to operate.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: oh c'mon

        should have explicitly excluded HP, then ;) I use Brother printer, and while full set of standard colour toners isn't exactly cheap, it is cheaper per page than ink printers and also trivial to override "new toner required" error which tends to trigger early.

  11. Bartholomew

    Perfectly legal monopolies

    The profit margin per cartridge is from 100% to 1000% (even factoring in recovering all R&D costs, 10+ years in extremely intense light boxes to research ink fading) - loads of money to pay the fricking lawyers themselves. It is just bullying, to keep the little guys down, and the market monopoly and patent portfolio strong. No licensing of the patents to the little guys because they have nothing HP can plunder in a cross patenting deal.

    It may not be fair, but it is how a large multinational keep the little guys out of the game. As a consumer I vote with my wallet, and refuse to buy their products.

  12. Drew 11

    HP remains committed to ensuring that printer ink costs way more than petrol.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Flame

      Just so you know

      Gathering Unicorn poo, separating it into the pigments required for CMY inks and preparing it so that it doesn't clog up the jet nozzles more often than every third sheet IS more expensive than drilling a hole in the earth, cooking the stuff that comes out and catching the fumes.

  13. Skrrp

    And this is why I buy Brother

    Canon are ok too.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: And this is why I buy Brother

      Brother, Canon Samsung or even HP or even Apple (Do they still make Printers?!)... As long as its Laser!

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: And this is why I buy Brother

        The Apple laser printers were repackaged HP engines. Not sure about the inkjets. Apple has been out of selling printers for ages.

  14. Atonnis

    I thought and rethought and stumbled...

    ....and after stuttering over what I wanted to say and how much I wanted to say about their products, software and services, I ended up at the simple conclusion:

    Fuck HP.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

    They screwed me, they screwed my customer.

    Nuff said really.

  16. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Redundant boycott

    Hmmm... I'm already boycotting HP due to their string of annoying CEOs, and anti-consumer policies.

    This makes it a dual-redundant boycott of HP printers.

  17. Rottenham

    The primary means for an American company to make money today is the lawsuit. There's something to be proud of, eh? We are becoming a nation of lawyers. Ugh.

  18. Tromos

    Given up on inkjets

    I've tried inkjet technology a couple of times in the past. My printer usage is fairly light and I may occasionally go a week without needing to print anything. With inkjets, it usually then requires depleting any ink cartridges that are installed and wasting a ream of paper to get the nozzles unblocked. Switched to (non-HP) laser and never looked back.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Given up on inkjets

      A-men! :-D

      I would like to add something to this comment, but, you've said it all. Laser is the way to go.

      1. jason 7

        Yep amazing....

        ...that people still buy inkjets.

        I've pretty much managed to move all my folks over to laser. If they want to print a photo once a year they email it to Snappysnaps(?) for £2 or whatever. Results are usually better.

        I've just told all my customers I will not support wi-fi inkjet issues either. Driving out 15 miles there and back again to type the WPA key back into a £40 printer isn't really worth it for anyone.

        Mostly junk.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yep amazing.... erm, you need to rethink that.

          After my HP printer died, I considered lasers - but it's simply not worth it.

          Far too expensive to run for the home user with a family - so I went for an Epson Workforce printer - which is a full duplex inkjet with large cartridges that don't break the bank to replace and overall much cheaper than a colour laser.

          In my case the inkjet is attached to a network switch so no faffing around with WPA keys and you can print wirelessly from a laptop via the router's wireless connection.

          Long live the inkjet... and yes, it would be nice if colour lasers became more affordable.

          1. jason 7

            Re: Yep amazing.... erm, you need to rethink that.

            Well all I can say is I've moved many of my domestics over to lasers and the feedback has been great. I tell them the costs before they go that route but they all agree.

            None of them would go back to crappy inkjets now.

            For a lot of domestics they don't need colour printing so a £80 laser with a 1500-2000 print toner lasts them 4+ years and then they can either buy anther toner for £50 or just buy another laser this time for £70. Much better than inkjets that 'expire' as and when the like with 60% of the ink still in it.

            Crappy inkjet is crappy. Plus why do people still need to print so much at home? I often ask those that say they need colour printing how many photos etc. they have printed in the past year.

            "Ermmm hmmmmm none I suppose!" is the usual answer.

            Perception and reality.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Yep amazing.... erm, you need to rethink that.

              Jason 7 - Small children love to print stuff. If people don't want to go broke buying cartridges, they need to lock the printer when the kiddies are home from school.

          2. Michael Habel Silver badge

            Re: Yep amazing.... erm, you need to rethink that.

            Yes even a modest Laser Printer is gonna be at least twice as expensive as an Inkclogger. But you make back those "Costs" in Prints. Plus they never dry out and require you to blow half the Tank just to knock off the One piece of Correspondence you need to be Printed without the urge to chuck the blasted thing half way across the Room!

            So I have no idea what your talking about. If you think Laser is that much more expensive in the LONG TERM... You'd do well to take another look again!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Yep amazing.... erm, you need to rethink that.

              Think about colour printing - we've moved forward from the old black and white days.

              Not all colour prints are photos! (and lasers ain't great at photo printers).

              Colours lasers - far too expensive - and the toner cartridges are a big expense when they do need to be replaced.

              Long term - inkjets rule for medium runs of colour printing for home use.

              And just how much electricity do those lasers use? Fusers are hot - and hot needs pennies to make hot.

              Oh, and how much more do you need to pay for a duplexing unit for a laser...

              I did the maths - it didn't add up for lasers.

              1. jason 7

                Re: Yep amazing.... erm, you need to rethink that.

                Never mentioned using colour lasers for home. But nevermind. Also I'd say we've mostly moved on from actually needing to print in the first place. I see it as a sign of faliure if I have to print something nowadays.

                Bottom line is for most people, if honest, a decent mono laser gives them less hassle, lower costs and better overall printing than the usual crappy £50 or less (or higher) inkjet.

                In 20 years of computing I've yet to have a need for a printout that HAS to be in colour at home. Those flight bookings, invoices and Pizza Express coupons just dont need it.

                "Oh oh its that one day of the year I want to do a colour print on my inkjet! Oh the cartridges have dried up/expired/run out (delete as applicable)!"

                Medium runs of colour printing at home? What are you doing counterfeiting?

                Plus you can get ethernet capable mono lasers with Duplex if you really need it for just over £100.

                Makes inkjets look like toys.

              2. Michael Habel Silver badge

                Re: Yep amazing.... erm, you need to rethink that.

                Thats the Problem right there I never had any use for a Photo Inkjet Printer save to goof off on the One or Two small Projects I did. While the other 98% of the Time I need to work with good 'ol bog standard B&W Text. So a Laser is a no brainer. If I still actually cared for Printing my own Photos I'd get a Canon Selphy. If that was (or is still to small for you), Then I would think about getting a Plotter. But, I'm threw with A4 Inkjet Money Traps!

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Given up on inkjets

      I've tried inkjet technology a couple of times in the past. My printer usage is fairly light and I may occasionally go a week without needing to print anything. With inkjets, it usually then requires depleting any ink cartridges that are installed and wasting a ream of paper to get the nozzles unblocked. Switched to (non-HP) laser and never looked back.

      THIS so this right here! Inkjets can BURN!!

  19. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    OK HP,

    You have a patent on the ink-spraying bit of the cartrideg, which is all fair and good, but how in Satan's glorious name do you justify preventing the cartridges from being refilled. It's not like you have a patent on the concept of ink... yet.

    On a similar note, while queueing in the local Royal Mail delivery office to collect a parcel the other day, I noticed a sign in there claiming that they have trademarked the colour red:

    "Royal Mail, the Royal Mail Cruciform, the colour red and SmartStamp are all registered trademarks of Royal Mail Group plc"

  20. Hans 1 Silver badge

    Sad really, because they have very good Linux support ... if you look at the size of a driver for a new model (that uses a driver that has not yet ended up in your distro), it is, what, a 5kb file or something, not 200Mb like the windows equivalent and it does not need three reboots to install.

    I had a Deskjet 930 back in the day, in the end I had to take it to the tip when the mechanics inside gave up after about 10 years of not-so-frequent but good service.

    Not only should you boycott HP for their ink practices, you should also boycott HP because they have slain Tru64, Palm, are about to do the same with VMS, embraced iTanic ... you want more reasons?

    As for printing alternatives, Canon have even lousier printer/scanner software developers than HP ... Brother are crap, too, the other day I had to look up the procedure to reset the page count on the interwebs because it refused to work, YMMV. I avoid printing at all costs and when I have to, go to some student printing shop. The Brother printer I have is something I inherited via the partner who used to print a lot with it ... cartridges are relatively cheap at 7 euro a color, I think in the cartridges world that is cheap, of course, if you consider you could get a gallon of ink for that money in some ink outlets, it is a total ripoff ...

    Considering those prices, I would not be the least surprised if there were not some price fixing going on between the big manufacturers, but hey, if some gvt body successfully sues them, the prices will hike even more to cover the legal expenses of the manufacturers, so ... cough up please, thanks!

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Linux Support

      My Samsung SCX-3205W (Mono Laser Multifunction WiFi Printer), also has wonderful Linux support too. But I think the installs are a bit bigger then 5kb though...

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Coat

      "I would not be the least surprised if there were not some price fixing going on between the big manufacturers". Exactly my feeling too, also I think they have some sort of a timer forcing you to change without reason.

  21. Steve Graham

    What HP printers are really good at...

    I live in an isolated house in the country. One Saturday morning, I turned on my laptop and saw an additional wifi ESSID, showing 60% signal. An HP Photosmart printer.

    My nearest neighbours' house is at least 250m away. I can only assume they'd just turned on a new printer, with a pretty impressive wifi range.

  22. Trollslayer Silver badge

    And this is the reason

    I avoid HP.

    My Epson R300 still works, it caps the cartridges correctly so I can come back after six months and use it.

    Much longer and I may have to replace a cartridge at the exorbitant price of less that £2.50.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: And this is the reason

      My Epson R300 still works, it caps the cartridges correctly so I can come back after six months and use it.

      Just pray that they'll still make your Cartridges for another Year, or so. I had a nice Epson Photo Stylus 1200EX a while back. I was even able to get 3erd Party Photo Ink for it too. Then Canon went and killed off that Cartridge, and the 3erd Party also stopped making them. Even though it did make nice Prints. Even with the cheap Ink. It was still an Inkjet Printer that you had to either use or loose. And I only print stuff as, and when needed. So of course in those times I actually needed to print something I couldn't. Not with out blowing though 20+ Sheets or Paper, and god knows how much Ink to just to get that One blipping Print out.

      As to the question of Power consumption. It may well be true that the Laser eats a tad more then a Inkjet. But, I don't need to, nor do I want to run my Printer 24/7. I power it on when, and as needed it warms up about as quick as any Inkjet I've ever had. Run the Print Job then power it off again. I'm sure it total cost in electricity is still lower then when I have to fight a over sh--ty Inkjet just to get the same amount of work done.

  23. MJI Silver badge

    Tried a few and ended up with

    Latest Newish Canon.

    1st printer Epson heads failed big time guzzled expensive ink.

    2nd printer Older Canon, spare parts more expensive than new printer, head went after a lot of use. Wear & Tear.

    Kept with Canon due to ink prices, found genuine ink at similar prices to pattern inks and in seperate cartridges. So cheap to run.

  24. ISYS

    HP print management software

    I have an HP Multi Function Laserjet - Apart from the appalling noise it makes at random times of the day when it suddenly decides to 'calibrate' itself it is providing me with some amusement.

    I should explain I work from home and the printer is used several times a day. For some months now it has been tellling me that the toner is low in all four of the cartridges - the black one since before the summer. The pop-up messages are getting more and more stressy as it is convinced that I should have shelled out at least £50 per cartridge by now.

    I am waiting to see what will happen first, I actually run out of toner or the pop up has a complete breakdown.

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: HP print management software

      Our HP Pro 100 MFP was whining about empty colour toners from January 2013 until November 2013, ditto the black, they claim to be empty when still over 1/2 full.

      Advice on the tech forums is to set the empty warning to 1% to minimise the annoying pop-ups, and then ignore the pop-ups until the print quality starts to fall.

      BTW I have a hideously expensive 6890 that I bought WEEKS before Win7 was released - HP have NEVER updated the drivers for it, so I have a choice of XP or Vista.

      The software is so bad that if I try to do a print head clean or calibration and the ink level is too low, it BSODs the computer.

      It is a damned good quality printer for all that, photos and text are superb, and it is as fast as most sub-£250 lasers; but time moves on and my XP box is getting arthritic, so I need something that will work on my Win7 box.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: HP print management software

        @Ian Emery

        Try this for the HP DeskJet 6890: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareCategory?os=4063&lc=en&cc=us&dlc=en&sw_lang=&product=467982#N185

        Assuming you are talking about the deskjet model. Sorry, as much as I like to bash HP and Windows, this time they have drivers even for w8.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sadly all manufactures are the same. I bought a Canon scanner (it was cheaper than buying a USB cable alone), it worked well on XP but Canon would not make a driver for Vista/Win7. They want you to bin the scanner and buy a new one. Never again.

  26. dave 81
    FAIL

    Not going to save them.

    Who the fuck buys HP now days anyway? God awful software and drivers, expensive ink.. Nuff said.

  27. streeeeetch

    Horrible People

    I contracted to HP for a few years as a field agent fixing stuff. The staff turnover was appalling - so much so that you never knew who'd be on the phone when you called the office. They treated both staff and contractors like poo.

    We were always puzzled because despite their fairly ruthless strategies internally and externally they always seemed to somehow have such a squeaky clean image. Such is the power of marketing I suppose.

    We came to the conclusion that HP = Horrible People. More of the same then.

  28. Spogfrawn

    Brother every time

    I've used HP at work - top notch but terrifyingly expensive to feed. For home I researched inkjets without chipped carts. That left me with Brother! Bought a Brother MFC465CN AIO machine about 4? yrs ago, used weekly but not daily, I have never bought a Brother branded cart, only ever using cheapo ones which are always <£10 for a set of CMYK, and usually includes a free 'K' too.

    Printer has never given me any grief. Neighbour bought a later model after seeing mine, daughter got one for uni - all 3 still going strong

    They cost a bit more than the usual HP/Epson/Lexmark/Canon loss-leader brands but well worth it! As someone else said photo quality is poor but you can easily use a snappysnaps or boots store or whatever for photos

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Always had HP printers, then had an HP C309a - never again will I buy HP printers...

    ... so now have an Epson.

    HP used to make good, reliable and economical printers - then they got greedy.

    The C309a was the worst computer-related buying decision that I have ever made. So bad that I vowed never to buy an HP printer again. The thing was unreliable, and drank ink - it cost me many times more in ink than the printer itself.

    So, after it finally died, I bought an Epson WP-4535 - not 100% reliable, but better than the C309a. It doesn't drink ink, and the cartridges are much larger and much more reasonably priced.

    So I don't particularly care that HP are 'protecting their revenue' as they won't be getting any of my money again.

    If you don't like HP, walk away.

    (Pity really as their servers are really quite good - oops, I forgot, they are Compaq, aren't they.)

  30. ben_myers

    Why buy HP inkjet printers?

    These lawsuits and their outcomes simply allow HP to have a special inkjet printer accessory that attaches itself to your credit card for regular payments. I have customers who have bought the latest greatest HP all-in-one printers and they complain about how often they need to buy inkjet cartridges, how few pages each cartridge prints, and how expensive the damned cartridges are.

    How about a class action lawsuit against HP for gouging the owners of its inkjet printers, maybe possibly providing inaccurate information about how many pages each cartridge prints, and making even expensive printers out of cheap flimsy plastic.

    I do not sell inkjet printers, only giving advice to people who might listen. I do not sell inkjet printers because many of the manufacturers follow HP's lead: not much ink for a lot of money.

    Oh, yes, the networking part of these HP all-in-one printer-scanner-copier devices that does everything except cure warts and shine your shoes. The networking part of the setup forces use of a DHCP-assigned IP address, never giving someone with a modicum of intelligence the opportunity to assign a printer its fixed IP address, like most of us here in the real world.

    Meg, are you reading this?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Why buy HP inkjet printers?

      "Oh, yes, the networking part of these HP all-in-one printer-scanner-copier devices that does everything except cure warts and shine your shoes. The networking part of the setup forces use of a DHCP-assigned IP address, never giving someone with a modicum of intelligence the opportunity to assign a printer its fixed IP address, like most of us here in the real world."

      Are you sure? Whilst the HP out-of-the-box default is to ask for a DHCP assigned IP address, a fixed/permanent IP address can be be set via the device's in-built webserver.

  31. Hans 1 Silver badge

    >Oh, yes, the networking part of these HP all-in-one printer-scanner-copier devices that does everything except cure warts and shine your shoes. The networking part of the setup forces use of a DHCP-assigned IP address, never giving someone with a modicum of intelligence the opportunity to assign a printer its fixed IP address, like most of us here in the real world.

    Even the DSL router I have, ISP-provided, allows me to set "permanent leases" as it calls them to devices on the network - what are you using ?

    The bloke/gall who came up with "permanent lease" as a name for the feature should be shot.

  32. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Thank Zarquon (or Cthulhu) I moved to Laser Printing, and so don't have to pony up an Arm, and a Leg every time I need to knock off a few Prints of something. InkJet Printers were kinda cool in the 90s. It's a shame that Companies like HP and Lexmark had to run it into the Ground though. As for me... I will not ever be buying another InkJet Printer ever again!

  33. Mr. Fatuous

    Never forget

    They killed Palm too.

    The b@stards.

  34. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Is your laser telling you to replace toner?

    I don't use my printer that often in these days of e-everything, but I have a spare toner cartridge just in case. I have a search saved on eBay to notify me when a toner cart is listed under a certain price. I've disabled it at the moment as the installed cart is still going strong and I have the spare so I don't need another one yet. I'd hate to own 4 or 5 and only to have the printer flip on its back and twitch.

    Time is your friend. Keep searches out for spare toner long before you need it and there is a good chance you will score.

  35. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @The Officejet 8000/8500 series: I wholeheartedly agree. Between the utterly unreliable hardware, the thimble-sized ink cartridges, and the bloated software suite, this printer that looked like a great deal at first was a real turd. I finally wrote off the $80 I spent on this piece of junk for the satisfaction of violently hurling it into a dumpster. (skip for you UK readers)

    With some users at our company having bought these wonders for home use, I've discovered that the software causes nothing but problems: Slow machines, conflicts with other apps, and in a couple of cases a "ghost" printer that proved impossible to delete without scouring the registry.

    I recently purchased a color laser printer (Canon) and will never suffer another inkjet again. Simon was right... (BOFH)

    And "HP Customer Participation Program" wins the award for the most Orwellian software name.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got out of funding the ink cartels

    Last colour inkjet? 2009. Epson model, wouldn't play with perfectly decent 3rd party cartridges, so I refused to buy replacements and vowed never to buy other again.

    I asked myself one question - do I really, really need colour printing? The overwhelming majority of the time, the answer is 'no', so I ponied up for a mono laser.

    I write a lot, but even with that going on, I reckon I spend about £50 on toner every 2 years, no more. Compare that to an outlay of likely £300 on ink, and it's an easy choice.

    And the print jobs look more professional from a laser anyway.

  37. jason 7

    I remember once before the turn of the century...

    ... we were a small 5 man IT team that used to look after the (then) small mobile workforce and other oddities within a huge global financial company. We got in some new HP inkjets for the sales guys to use at home so we installed a couple on some Windows 3.1 desktops (Pre NT4/Y2K remember) to check they printed okay and the setup was easy enough.

    Okay all done back in the boxes they go. 24 hours later the guys from the big IT dept go crazy as they find something is bringing the network to its knees.

    Turns out tucked away in the HP drivers install was a 'really useful' printer network app that thought it really clever to hunt out all the other HP printers on the network for sharing purposes.

    Unfortunately it was rather 'noisy' in its approach on a 16Mb Token Ring network. So we had to hack the drivers around to get rid of that.

    Luckily about a year or so alter we got all new kit with locked down PCs/Laptops and a proper product testing team. Fun times though!

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