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Author Topic: Epson court decision- cross posted  (Read 49366 times)
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #40 on: November 06, 2007, 03:47:54 PM »
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Dilip I think that sums it up perfectly.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #41 on: November 06, 2007, 05:42:44 PM »
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Actually no...if you understand IP law, the holder of a patent MUST defend it or loose it...if Epson doesn't defend it's patents on it's ink delivery systems then they will be in the situation where the patents can be held to be invalid.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=150193\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This is incorrect, Mr Schewe. What you describe applies to trademarks, not patents. You do not have to defend patents for them to stay effective. In fact, patents have and are being used retroactively to claim massive damages on technologies in use for years - just google Rambus or SCO.

I trust this is a case of mixed IP laws on your part, but if the originator is an Epson representative instead of you, it is disingenuous at best.
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Schewe
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« Reply #42 on: November 06, 2007, 06:09:21 PM »
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This is incorrect, Mr Schewe. What you describe applies to trademarks, not patents. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=150996\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


My understanding is that patent enforcement is the process of legally maintaining one's patent grant. If an infringed patent is not enforced for a period of time, a patentee may lose the patent grant and the patent becomes unenforceable. Are you saying this is not the case?
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #43 on: November 06, 2007, 10:55:27 PM »
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*chomp*

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? 

*chomp*

Perhaps because they thought they could buy cheap 3rd party ink?
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TylerB
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« Reply #44 on: November 07, 2007, 12:42:24 AM »
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Perhaps because they thought they could buy cheap 3rd party ink?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151036\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I've purchased every Epson I've owned because they were great printers, nearly a dozen I believe.
I then proceeded to put ink in that was apropriate to my needs. In almost every case they were more expensive than Epson ink. RIPs as well, instead of the supplied drivers, another additional expense.

If I can not use the 3rd party inks I need to make prints this good, I won't use an Epson. The OEM inks are inadequate for the print quality I'm after.
Most on this list are interested in a high level of craft, so cheap ink is probably not relevant to this group. That's why I started the thread here.
Tyler
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #45 on: November 07, 2007, 06:23:42 AM »
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I've purchased every Epson I've owned because they were great printers, nearly a dozen I believe.
I then proceeded to put ink in that was apropriate to my needs. In almost every case they were more expensive than Epson ink. RIPs as well, instead of the supplied drivers, another additional expense.

If I can not use the 3rd party inks I need to make prints this good, I won't use an Epson. The OEM inks are inadequate for the print quality I'm after.
Most on this list are interested in a high level of craft, so cheap ink is probably not relevant to this group. That's why I started the thread here.
Tyler
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151038\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's interesting. I am very interested to learn which printer models, third-party inksets and media you are using that are giving you superior quality results to those obtainable from Epson inksets. Could you also briefly describe in what respects the quality is better and how you assess it - is it visual or do you verify your perceptions with measurements? Have you done side-by-side quality comparisons with the same image using different inks?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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RogerW
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« Reply #46 on: November 07, 2007, 06:27:27 AM »
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Now, this is getting interesting!  I too would like to know the maker(s) of these desirable products and how to assess their worth vis-a-vis original maker's ink.
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dilip
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« Reply #47 on: November 07, 2007, 08:02:15 AM »
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My understanding is that patent enforcement is the process of legally maintaining one's patent grant. If an infringed patent is not enforced for a period of time, a patentee may lose the patent grant and the patent becomes unenforceable. Are you saying this is not the case?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151001\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If you don't enforce patent rights within the statue of limitations, you lose the right to retroactively go after the infringing party.  You do not lose any patent rights. However, as I mentioned earlier, it is entirely possible that to ensure the validity of the ITC ruling, Epson has to enforce its rights against everyone.

--dilip
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #48 on: November 07, 2007, 08:15:06 AM »
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If you don't enforce patent rights within the statue of limitations, you lose the right to retroactively go after the infringing party.  You do not lose any patent rights. However, as I mentioned earlier, it is entirely possible that to ensure the validity of the ITC ruling, Epson has to enforce its rights against everyone.

--dilip
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151078\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Dilip, thanks for the clarification. But I think it shows that fundamentally Jeff was correct, in the sense that the effective protection of your patent rights would be severely diluted if you lose the right to go after infringing parties - kind of defeats the purpose, no?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #49 on: November 07, 2007, 08:45:35 AM »
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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.

--dilip
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=150962\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Of course we all knew the cost of ink.

Sorry, but we live in Walmerica.  Everyone looks to acquire things as cheaply as they can with the possible exception of status oriented luxury items.
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Ron
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« Reply #50 on: November 07, 2007, 09:45:36 AM »
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That's interesting. I am very interested to learn which printer models, third-party inksets and media you are using that are giving you superior quality results to those obtainable from Epson inksets. Could you also briefly describe in what respects the quality is better and how you assess it - is it visual or do you verify your perceptions with measurements? Have you done side-by-side quality comparisons with the same image using different inks?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151070\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
A few years ago at a photo trade fair, right next to Epson's massive stand was a small British company called Marrutt selling CIS and B+W ink sets for Epson printers. Hardly anyone was at the Epson stand as they were all fascinated by the fantastic B+W/Toned prints on display and the CIS features too. The Epson Reps looked less than happy at someone selling better inks for their printers and stealing their thunder too. But they copied the multiple Black inks idea not so long after.
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« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2007, 09:50:45 AM »
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Sorry, but we live in Walmerica.
News to me!  

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Everyone looks to acquire things as cheaply as they can with the possible exception of status oriented luxury items.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151086\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Heck, I want them even cheaper!  
Actually I have no interest in 'status' items and I would only wear brand logos if someone paid me to do so. Paying [over the odds] to advertise someone else's brand is for gullible fools.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2007, 09:50:58 AM by jjj » Logged

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wildstork
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« Reply #52 on: November 07, 2007, 12:10:23 PM »
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Jeff made an excellent point that was probably missed by most here: "Where Epson gets screwed is where unknowning consumers are buying cheap knockoff inks thinking there's no difference from the Epson brand ink...until their printers clog beyond fixing and expect Epson to honor their warantees and fix or replace the printers. That is a hard cost of doing business that is caused by the use of cheap knockoff 3rd party inks. And don't think that that sort of 3rd party ink is equal to or better than the Epson ink...it ain't."

The last line is subjective and may be disputed by those like Tyler, who feel that Jon's third part ink produces better results for him.  Apart from that, there is no doubt that Epson has spent a lot of money repairing printers that were damaged by third party inks.  To ignore this and blame Epson for taking offense (and taking steps to protect their investment) is ludicrous.  The company spent and continues to spend countless millions developing and refining new technologies that have consistently raised the bar on printing standards.  No company has done as much (evidence Epson's market share in fine art printers).

It wasn't long ago that many were posting on the wide format forums that when blocked heads would result from using third party inks (with printers still under warranty), the most prudent course of action was to install Epson cartridges in the machine prior to shipping it back to Epson.  

I think Epson has better things to do than do a chemical analysis on ink in the lines of returned printers so as to ascertain whether or not a third party ink was responsible for the damage.

Thank you, Jeff, for your words of wisdom.
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Roscolo
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« Reply #53 on: November 07, 2007, 01:27:15 PM »
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I think Epson has better things to do than do a chemical analysis on ink in the lines of returned printers so as to ascertain whether or not a third party ink was responsible for the damage.


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151107\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Unfortunately, just like the Dodge / Chrysler example I used earlier regarding testing to make sure customers were using the proper fluid in their transmissions, a company has to do what is necessary to ensure the warranty was not voided. It's not that much different than spending money on lawyers and courts to enforce patents: cost of doing business. Otherwise, I guess that company has to take the customer's word if they aren't prepared to check.

As someone else pointed out, I didn't dump Epson because the Epson printers I have used were cloggy with third party inks, they were quite cloggy with Epson ink.

Also, I'll never forget sending a printer to an Epson repair tech, who then called to tell me he needed to do some diagnostics and there was not enough ink in the printer to do the test. I said, "you're the Epson tech, surely you have some ink carts." He said he had the ink carts, but I would have to buy them (at a premium, of course). I told him he should get it from Epson. For all I know, the printer is going to be irreparable - do the diagnostics, then we'll talk about buying more ink considering how much ink was wasted doing nozzle checks and head cleanings prior to getting moved to repair status. Nope, he actually expected me to go out and buy some ink carts and send them to him (or buy them at an outrageous inflated price from him) so he could do the diagnostics on a printer under warranty! I followed up with Epson and after 2 hours of phone calls and hold time, an EXCEPTION was made for me and they would send the ink carts to me, and then I would have to send the ink to the repair tech. Gee, that was an efficient idea, so THEN I had to get Epson tech to call the repair tech so that he would know some more ink was on the way, and only then would he put the ink in the printer (which I needed back) to do diagnostics.

From what I witnessed just in that one Epson transaction, Epson has more to be concerned about in their business than patent enforcement. I agree...Epson has A LOT more to work on than analyzing ink.

Official end of rant.

Addendum: that event was a few years ago, but look at the impression it left. Listening, Epson?
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feppe
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« Reply #54 on: November 07, 2007, 02:41:29 PM »
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If you don't enforce patent rights within the statue of limitations, you lose the right to retroactively go after the infringing party.  You do not lose any patent rights. However, as I mentioned earlier, it is entirely possible that to ensure the validity of the ITC ruling, Epson has to enforce its rights against everyone.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151078\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

IANAL, but there are numerous cases where a patent was left undefended for years on end, and someone used these patented technologies for years, only to get successfully sued later - but within the 20-year patent period. Rambus case is the best I know. So in that sense retroactivity is not lost.

I haven't read the ITC ruling, so this might be a different issue than a straightforward patent ruling. So you might be completely right.

But to reiterate: patents don't need to be defended to stay effective. Trademarks have to be vigorously defended. That's why Xerox paid for full-spread advertisements talking solely about "xeroxing" being an improper way to talk about copying, as that will dilute the trademark.

And to recap: consumers lose and lawyers win. And I'll argue that Epson is on the losing side in the long run, as well. The dying throes many music publishers are in, directly as a result of clinging to outdated revenue sources should give pause to Epson shareholders.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #55 on: November 07, 2007, 03:20:51 PM »
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And I'll argue that Epson is on the losing side in the long run, as well. The dying throes many music publishers are in, directly as a result of clinging to outdated revenue sources should give pause to Epson shareholders.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151135\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It really amuses me how so many people on the internet know more about what's best for Epson's commercial strategy than Epson does, eventhough they are the ones in the business and with the most to lose from getting it wrong.

Just as a matter of interest I consulted the summary data for the economic model I keep on my 4800. Let's assume I'm an average 4800 user (i.e. many other people print more or less than I do, but I'm "average"). I'm in CAD. The machine was 2450, and I've used about 4800 ml of ink worth 2300. All this is before taxes. Forgetting paper here, that mean's the printer has generated revenues of 4750 of which a portion nets-back to Epson (remember there's distribution, transportation, etc. etc. before you get the netback from the consumer to the factory wall). Let us assume this machine has now achieved the "average" life-cycle Epson expects in terms of the time period over which it must recuperate all its costs and make a satisfactory rate of return on the printer (in fact many enterprises require much shorter return periods than this.) Under these assumptions, therefore, Epson needs 4750 from this machine over two years. They can get it two ways - charging for the machine or charging for the consumables. Let us say they bought into all the gratuitous advice they get over the internet and cut the price of ink in half. That means - on average - 2300/2, or 1150 would be added to the price of the printer. This is a zero-sum game after all, because Epson ain't swimming in excess profit (read their latest Annual Report). So add 1150 to 2450, and they'e be charging 3600 for the printer. What do you think would happen to printer sales? What risk would they be taking that HP or Canon will undersell them on the printer - then they wouldn't even have the option of make-up from the ink. You see, even from this simple example, the main point here is that business strategy is a bit complicated. Not that internet jabber is all that much different from alot of economics which gets practiced - we have a standing bane in the profession about "planning without numbers".  
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #56 on: November 07, 2007, 04:36:16 PM »
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Also don't forget that "Epson" here in the US (where the ITC finding applies) is really Epson America, a subsidiary of Seiko/Epson Japan but with the flexibility not shown in a lot of Japanese subsidiaries. They do a lot of stuff independent of Japan.

Also don't forget there are two distinct business models at Epson. One is the razor/razor blade model of selling commodity prices printers at a near loss (pretty sure they are not actually sold at a complete loss) and then consumables which equates to selling the razor cheap and marking up the blades and the Epson Pro printers. There is a world of differences between both the manufacturing and distribution. Each Epson Pro printer is literally hand assembled and tested and not passed unless the Delta E difference in 2 or under. Andrew and I tested a variety of 3800s when doing the EFP profiles and the 3800s were within a Delta E of about .6.

The ITC effort is directed towards going after the razor/razor blade model where people buy Epson printers and then are convinced that cheapo 3rd party inks are "just as good" or are buying bootleg knockoff copies. The companies selling the cheapos and knockoffs are are using ink carts that are being cheaply manufactured that violate Epson patents...

How can this possibly considered good for the consumer?

I have no doubt that Cone's K7 B&W inkset can do things that genuine Epson K3 inks can't with regards to B&W printing. It would therefore behoove Cone to enter into negotiations with Epson to make sure that a viable market niche isn't destroyed by incidental contact to the 3rd party knockoff artists.

On the other hand, his ConeColor inks don't seem to be aimed at any real shortcomings in Epson K3 inks other than cost and some sort of half-hearted attempt at playing the "Green Card". If he has data that indicates that Epson ink manufacturing is engaged in toxic manufacturing I would like to see it. Course, he doesn't actually provide any data to back up the toxic claims...so it just seems to boil down to cost savings. Course, the flip-side is that to the best of my knowledge there also isn't any data to back up any longevity claims other than the statement "greatest amount of fade resistance".

But again, he was not a named company in the proceedings (that I can tell) that resulted in the ITC finding.
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feppe
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« Reply #57 on: November 07, 2007, 04:38:34 PM »
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It really amuses me how so many people on the internet know more about what's best for Epson's commercial strategy than Epson does, eventhough they are the ones in the business and with the most to lose from getting it wrong.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151148\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

As for my credentials (I don't think it's relevant but people on the internets seem to require that even if the reasoning is sound): degree in Economics, and I work in finance for a Global Fortune 500 company in an unrelated field.

Nevertheless, what I said has very little to do with numbers, or your peripherally relevant anecdote. The fact is that the business model is getting outdated. Whenever a business has to use courts to cling to their revenue stream, that's almost always a sign of a dying business model. If the only way you can assure sales is by beating your competitors to submission through courts, and/or by locking your customers in, you have already lost the war. That's because your competitors will come up with better, faster and/or cheaper ways to produce the same results - witness HP and Canon entering Epson's turf -, or customers going for other products in disgust - witness rise of Linux despite it being arguably inferior to Windows.

I heard and posted here about this case a few months back, and am not touching Epson even if they come up with a 3D printer complete with life-size Angelina Jolie samples. I haven't heard any compelling argument which would justify Epson's rabid attack. Sure, it might make sense legally. Hell, it might even be in accordance with patents - which I fully support although they are given out too easily these days. That doesn't mean it's a good, or even a decent, base for a business.

If I was an Epson shareholder, I'd be freaked out by Epson potentially alienating their low-end customers, which I assume to be a major portion of their sales despite all the talk about their high-end products here. Also, by refusing their customers buying cheaper ink they are effectively denying themselves the ability to ride the price curve (of printers), ie. people who can't afford to print with Epson inks don't buy Epson printers - so instead of selling a printer but no ink to those customers, Epson loses all of those customers. Finally, Epson is paying a lot of money to lawyers, money that could be spent on R&D to fix the infamous clogging issues, better B&W printing workflow, or some novel printing tech.

And don't even get me started how DOA the industry's business model is: selling printers at a discount, while jacking up the price of ink to higher levels than the finest cognacs. Some MBA read a chapter on customer lock-in at school and thought creating an artificial but unsustainable monopoly would make for a great business model for an entire industry. That's why they now need to bring in trained attack lawyers to protect it, while exposing themselves to the next company which is smart enough to avoid the same mistakes.

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The ITC effort is directed towards going after the razor/razor blade model where people buy Epson printers and then are convinced that cheapo 3rd party inks are "just as good" or are buying bootleg knockoff copies. The companies selling the cheapos and knockoffs are are using ink carts that are being cheaply manufactured that violate Epson patents...

How can this possibly considered good for the consumer?

If I buy a printer, I don't like people telling me what I can do with it. If I want to use it as a fishing net weight, I'll use it as a fishing net weight. Same thing with inks. Epson should have no place to limit the inks I use. Capitalism is built on free markets, and creating artificial monopolies supported by broken rhetoric about protecting their customers - when they actually mean protecting their bottom line - is where I vote with my euros. The only thing Epson should be able to do here is to put a big sticker on the printer saying "if you use non-Epson inks blaah blaah blaah" so I can ignore and rip it off.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2007, 04:46:56 PM by feppe » Logged

Schewe
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« Reply #58 on: November 07, 2007, 04:59:24 PM »
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If I buy a printer, I don't like people telling me what I can do with it. If I want to use it as a fishing net weight, I'll use it as a fishing net weight. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151166\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ok...but I'm pretty sure THAT would void the warrantee...
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feppe
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« Reply #59 on: November 07, 2007, 05:22:52 PM »
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Ok...but I'm pretty sure THAT would void the warrantee...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151172\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

*goes to check Epson's warranty policy*
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