At least in the UK, it seems that Epson is waging successful legal battles against third party cartridge resllers marketing Epson-compatible products that according to Epson may infringe on Epson's intellectual property rights. This link is of interest:http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/91636/updated-...e-reseller.html
I wonder to what extent the same is happening in other countries, and what the implications will be for competition in the market. I personally wouldn't run these third-party materials through my printer - preferring to stick with the real thing - tried and proven - but many other people do. I also wonder whether it has any implications for firms which have, with genuine independence, developed and manufacture inks for use in Epson printers that don't infringe on Epson's rights.
There are of course good commercial and technical reasons for having a regime of intellectual property rights, but sometimes there is a fine line between policies and practices that protect innovation and those that frustrate the intended benefits of competitive markets.