I think this is interesting just on a surface level, as toner runs like water and print companies charge ludicrous prices for first-party cartridges, but we have a case here where the verdict could have consequences on practically any purchased product. Lexmark is suing a company and claiming patent infringement for making non-official cartridges, and if they win, it could mean that companies would have increased control of what someone could do with a product even after purchase.
A corporate squabble over printer toner cartridges doesn’t sound particularly glamorous, and the phrase "patent exhaustion" is probably already causing your eyes to glaze over. However, these otherwise boring topics are the crux of a Supreme Court case that will answer a question with far-reaching impact for all consumers: Can a company that sold you something use its patent on that product to control how you choose to use after you buy it? The case in question is Impression Products, Inc v Lexmark International, Inc, came before the nation’s highest court on Tuesday. As with many SCOTUS disputes, Lexmark is a devil-in-the-details case that could have wide-ranging implications for basically everyone who ever buys anything — so, all of us.