Are Compatible Ink Cartridges Illegal? There are many ways to save money when using ink cartridges. The most cost effective of all is using compatible or re-manufactured printer cartridges but are they legal? Many people purchase what they believe to be a cheap computer printer not realising how expensive the ink cartridges can be to replace. This is one of the reasons you will almost always get free cartridges with your printer. The manufacturer doesn't want you to realise just how expensive the cartridges are until long after you've bought the printer. In fact some cartridges can cost much more than the printer itself. If you are one of the many people who have heard of cheap 'compatible' and 're- manufactured' ink cartridges but aren't sure whether they are illegally sold or not you are not alone. The confusion lies in the common use of the two words. The terms 'compatible' and 're-manufactured' are sometimes interchanged when referring to ink cartridges although there is a big difference between the two. In the wholesale industry compatible cartridges are copies or fake goods, usually made in the far east. These printer cartridges are sold illegally as they breach the OEM's copyright. Manufacturer's such as Epson and Lexmark have been very aggressive at exercising their right to sue companies selling these illegal counterfeit goods. It is worth noting though that printer cartridges are often described as 'compatible' by online retailers when in fact the cartridges for sale are completely legal and 're-manufactured'. This is because retailers need to use wording which is most familiar to consumers in order to attract their attention. Most consumers will use the term 'compatible ink cartridge' although 're-manufactured' and even 'recycled' is also used. Re-manufactured printer cartridges are basically used genuine cartridges which have been re- filled with ink and sold on. The sale of these cheap ink cartridges is completely legal as no copyright is breached in their production. There is no law against re-filling cartridges as long as they are sold on with new product numbers or clearly named 're-manufactured'. Cartridges that have been re-filled will usually have a re-manufacturing company's security sticker and will appear visibly used. There may be scratches and scuffs on the shell, especially if it has been re-manufactured more than once known as a non-virgin. Illegal compatible ink cartridges will be brand new and may be made using a different colour plastic to the original cartridge. If you are unsure whether the cartridges you are buying online are made illegally or not ask the retailer directly whether they are selling 're-manufactured' printer cartridges or 'compatibles'. Ask for customer testimonials and only buy from a company which offers a money back guarantee. By purchasing legal re-manufactured goods you are saving both the environment and your money.