In this article Lexmark created and patented a micro chip technology on their printer cartridges that only allowed Lexmark to refill their empty toner cartridges. A small company called Static Control Components purchased figured out how to reverse engineer the product so they could refill the cartridges. Lexmark then sued for copyright infringement, but lost! What do you think? Should a company be able to reverse engineer a product to for their personal gain?


Fred said...

If Lexmark patented this technology then I'm pretty sure it would be against the law to reverse engineer the product. That's weird that they lost the case; I wonder what that little company did to pull that off. Maybe they didn't make it clear enough in their legal documents for the copyright protection. Somehow I'm sure this little company found some loop holes.

Eric said...

Ya I agree with Fred they must have found a loop hole somewhere. And if they did than I think they deserve to make money off refilling ink cartridges.

Dr. Tufte said...

-2 on Rex's post and -1 on Fred's and Eric's comment for multiple grammatical and spelling errors.

This is kind of a weird case, isn't it? In general, reverse engineering is not illegal - since the inventor gives the buyer a property right to the item when they sell it to them. Since this was a copyright rather than patent, you have to think that Lexmark used off-the-shelf technology combined in a novel way. This makes me think that copyright was denied because the competitor made a case that Lexmark hadn't done anything original.