Blog Banner and Thumbnail Image - What Printer Companies Don't Want You To Know

You may or may not be aware that many printer manufacturers not only make printers; they also make their own paper. Canon, HP, Epson, and many others sell regular 8.5 x 11" paper under their OEM (original equipment manufacturer) brand names, and they of course "recommend" using their paper with their printers.

But how many of us actually pay more for paper just because it has the name of our printer brand on it? Some might; but the majority of us know that we can buy much less expensive paper and get the same quality prints.

However, what if the printer companies didn't just "recommend" that you use their paper? What if they required it? What if they could tell when you loaded a blank sheet of paper made by any other brand, and then refused to print, claiming the paper was "incompatible"?

Sounds crazy, right?

Well, that's exactly what many printer companies do when it comes to ink.

Just like paper, the printer companies make their own ink, and charge huge premiums for it.

Knowledge is Power

Unfortunately, not all consumers are savvy enough to know that they don't have to buy ink from the printer companies just as they don't have to buy the printer companies' paper. The average customer assumes that if the printer takes "HP 61 XL Black Ink Cartridges", then they have to buy HP 61 XL Black Ink Cartridges made by HP, instead of less expensive aftermarket versions.

What the printer companies don't tell you is that there are many companies that make compatible or "generic" ink cartridges that work just as well as the name brand cartridges, but cost a fraction of the price.

The printer companies are more than happy to keep this a secret. In fact, their business model depends on it.

Razors and Blades

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Printer companies use what's called the “razor and blades” business model. This refers to shaving product companies that discovered the best way to make the most money was to sell the razor handles very cheaply or at a loss, and then make up the difference (and more) by selling the blades at an inflated price.

Printer companies use a similar model, selling printers at rock-bottom prices and then making huge profits by selling extremely overpriced ink to unsuspecting customers.

With over 80% of printer customers buying OEM ink, this adds up to billions of dollars in profits for the printer companies every year!

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Just by knowing that there are less expensive options than OEM ink puts you ahead of the game. Buying aftermarket compatible and remanufactured ink from, where we offer excellent quality products at prices far lower than those of the brand name inks, is the best way to save money, and fight back against the printer brands' exorbitant prices.

The Printer Empire Strikes Back Against Affordable Printer Ink

The printer companies, of course, hate that high quality, low cost compatible and remanufactured ink cartridges are available to consumers; and they've tried all sorts of ways to trick consumers into spending more on their overpriced ink.

From unnecessary firmware updates that simply prevent the use of compatible cartridges, to "alerts" that claim compatible ink will damage your printer, the printer companies have tried their best to prevent you from being able to choose to save on your ink.

Read on to find out how some of the biggest printer companies in the world have tried, and failed, to keep you from using less expensive compatible and remanufactured ink cartridges.


In an effort to prevent the use of remanufactured toner cartridges, Lexmark initially initiated a slew of unsuccessful copyright and patent lawsuits against manufacturers of third-party compatible ink cartridges.

Lexmark claimed that manufacturers were infringing on Lexmark's patent on the cartridges by refurbishing and reselling them without permission and outside the limits of Lexmark's service agreement with end-users. In other words, Lexmark was claiming that its patent rights extended beyond the initial cartridge sale to include future resales.

The practical question is how much power Lexmark or any other firm has over what you do with the products you purchase. This discussion isn't just about printer cartridges. How do you know you own a car when you buy it? What exactly does ownership entitle you to do with your property?

Freedom To Tinker

These issues are part of a larger debate about the "right to repair", or "freedom to tinker," as some experts refer to it. The idea is that if you acquire something, you should be able to do whatever you want with it, including selling it, modifying it, and even destroying it. However, certain businesses, like automobile manufacturers, have attempted to curtail this flexibility.