On Tuesday, a scary case reached a surprisingly positive outcome in the Supreme Court of the United States. Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. was seven-year-long standoff between a small business and an international corporation and stood to upend the world of consumer rights, especially for tech and pharmaceutical companies. Guess what: the little guy won.
At its core, Impression v. Lexmark was a tricky patent case. Impression Products, a 25-employee outlet, built its business by buying used printer cartridges, refilling them, and reselling them to consumers. This introduced some welcome competition into the otherwise twisted and monopolistic world of consumer printers and, as a result, made it possible for consumers to save some coin. Obviously, the massive printer empire that is Lexmark did not like this and started suing small companies like Impression a few years ago, based on an idiosyncratic piece of patent law. Impression, the only …
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