How to reset HP ink cartridge expiration DRM

There is a (so far) minor publicity and legal storm surrounding the fact that HP ink cartridge have a feature which enforces an expiration date for the cartridge. Aside from bad publicity and user frustration, there has also been some legal action recently drawing additional attention to the issue.

In the meantime, there are methods for working around these features for now.

(via boingboing)

Summary from CoCo:

… two ways to fix the problem that presumably work are easily found online: …

1) Remove and reinsert the battery of the printer’s memory chip
2) Preemptive: Change the parameters of the printer driver

In the broader view, there’s an interesting problem here. HP and others make a healthy margin on ink cartridges. There are some legitimate reasons for encouraging users to use fresh cartridges, but virtually no user benefit from having this enforced for them. Perhaps a shareware-style “nag screen” reminding people that their cartridge were out of date every time they printed something would be perceived as somewhere between annoying-but-tolerable to actually appreciated.

In my personal experience with my reliable HP OfficeJet G95, I find myself wishing I knew exactly when the ink was actually going to run out (so I can safely start printing a long, colorful document), but I am also quite happy to leave the cartridges in place when the low ink warning goes on, since I find I can print and copy dozens of pages before it starts streaking, and many more usable pages for “draft” quality output if I put up with modest banding and streaking in the output. I also find a stray ink cartridge in a cabinet or storage drawer from time to time which has aged beyond its official expiration date, and am happy to use it, with no ill effect. It would be annoying if the cartridge simply refused to work, which is what appears to be happening to customers with more recent products than the ones I have.

There is substantial IP in the actual ink cartridges themselves, so they’re in no immediate danger of being cloned and commoditized. At the same time, the printer market is maturing enough that more players are able to print “good enough” vs “really good” or “excellent” output without investing as heavily as HP, resulting in a lower unit cost and cost per print.

So consumers, SMEs, and corporate purchasers have more choices than they used to, and some of them are starting to ask: What benefit does an expiration chip have to the user?

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