|This article is outdated. (October 2012)|
Compatible ink (or compatible toner) is manufactured by third party manufacturers and is designed to work in designated printers without infringing on patents of printer manufacturers. Compatible inks and toners may come in a variety of packaging including sealed plastic wraps or taped plastic wraps. Regardless of packaging, compatible products are generally priced lower than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) brand inks and toners. While there has been considerable debate and litigation involving the ink and toner patents of printer manufacturers, third party manufacturers continue to thrive. Manufacturers of compatible ink and toner products currently control about 25% the ink and toner market well over $8 Billion annually.
Compatible ink is manufactured for several types of machines including fax machines, laser printers, inkjet printers, multifunction printers, and copiers. Aside from compatible products, three other sources of consumables are also available to supply these machines, including OEM brand ink and toner, remanufactured toner and ink cartridges, and refilled ink and toner cartridges. Compatible ink manufacturers differentiate their product by using all new parts, whereas other ink replacements recycle used OEM parts.
Independent testing on compatible ink shows little or no difference in quality between compatible and OEM products.
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