SCOTUS ruling helps resale market

SCOTUS rules companies cannot stop anyone from reselling a product if they own it.

It's a reseller's market. 

That's the main takeaway from a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling involving -- oddly enough -- selling refilled printer cartridges. 

In a 7-1 decision last week, the high court basically found that consumers can do whatever they want with a product once they own it. 

Lexmark had sued a company for selling refilled cartridges, but Chief Justice John Roberts noted in the majority opinion that "owners are free to use or resell the product just like any other item of personal property, without fear of an infringement lawsuit." 

Experts we spoke with said that's a plus for consumers. 

"Once you buy something, it's yours," Santa Clara University law professor Colleen Chien said. "I think this decision is good and supports that overall movement of consumers taking their stuff, doing things that they want with, remixing them, and then letting them go again." 

And what about the original seller? 

University of California, Berkeley law professor Tejas Narechania said consumers may now see restrictions. 

"Companies might, instead of selling things outright, they'll only license them to you, or, or they'll make you sign contracts with the purchases that limit what you can do in the resale market," he said. 

Still, resellers should rejoice. 

Another benefit, according to Chien, is cheaper ink and toner. 

"That's good news for all of us who don't want to spend $50 to $100 on a new cartridge," she said. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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