Sorry to continue this along, but I do feel the need to correct some misconceptions...
To Schewe's comment about needing to enforce the patent, it's a bit of confusion. A trademark must be enforced or the rights are permanently diluted. A patent can be enforced at the will of the owner. However, a requirement to enforce the patent can be a result of any number of things, including the need to enforce the ITC ruling. We could debate this point endlessly, but this is where I make my living, and I'd find you the proof if it's really important, but I'm too lazy at the moment.
Having said that, to many other people's comments, Epson has a patent. There's no disputing that. They developed a novel technology. They have the right to enforce it. Full stop. If you disagree with the existence of the patent system, that's fine. But it's rather immaterial to the discussion. If you would like to derail the copyright system, once again, it's immaterial to the discussion. Copyright and patent protections are there for reasons. This isn't about big corporate interests actively going out to hose the little guy. This is about a company that has spent a fortune on developping a new technology, and is attempting to recoup their costs and make a profit.
I agree that it appears that Mr. Cone is caught up in a net that wasn't cast for him. But caught up he is. Epson is likely going after the people who are making knock off carts. Their patent protections is one way of doing this. If no one makes the chipped carts, no one can sell the chipped carts with inferior products. If inferior product gets out under their name, their reputation takes a huge hit. In view of that, I understand why Epson is trying to close off the avenues.
Here's the thing that no one seems to want to say out loud: when you bought your printer, you knew the cost of ink. If you thought it was oppressive, why did you buy? Unless it's your business, this is the cost of doing a hobby. If it is your business, then pass the costs along. If neither is appropriate, don't get it and complain.
I'll leave my rant at that. I have to go pack for Australia.