the issues in this case involve more than just RP...if DTM succeeds in forcing buyers to use their materials in their machines, what's to prevent other manufacturers to start doing the same-say, a car company forms an alliance with an oil company, develops a new engine, and then requires buyers of their cars to use only that oil company's gasoline and other fluids or else face possible "patent violations".
normally, when an equipment provider expects a customer to buy consumable supplies used in the equipment, it is included as part of the procurement contract as a condition of sale or lease of the equipment. examples are copier services which furnish machines free to a business with the condition that they buy all supplies from the copy supplier. i've also seen coffee brewers provided in this fashion. fast food franchises are also sold to investors with the requirement that all supplies are bought from the franchiser.
the above examples all have one thing in common-disclosure, where the buyer knows what is expected of him prior to signing the contract. without full disclosure, a contract is null and void under the Uniform Commercial Code. since DTM found it neccessary to inform customers of "patent violations' concerning the use of other sources of powder in their machines, it would appear that the purchase agreements did not disclose to the buyers any restrictions on the use of alternate sources of materials. DTM does not have much of a case in this matter.
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