How Lexmark's patent fight to crush an ink reseller will affect us all

"Daniel Nazer, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents, said in a phone interview with The Register, "There's a risk companies will increasingly turn to patent law to do things they're not otherwise allowed to do."

Nazer pointed to a shampoo maker that tried unsuccessfully to block the importation of a product into the US by asserting a copyright claim on the shampoo bottle label. He observed that a design patent claim could be employed in an attempt to achieve the same anti-competitive result.

"What these companies are trying to do is use a contract with a consumer, that they have no intention of enforcing against the consumer, as an end-run around patent exhaustion," he said."