An Examination of 3D Printing Patents

A new report from patent researchers Patent Insight Pro investigates the state of 3DP patents. We found some very interesting tidbits. 

The PDF report is available at the link below. We took a whiz through and noticed the following: 

  • The number of patents, unsurprisingly, has exploded in the past year. Well over 550 patents related to 3DP were filed in 2013, a 50% increase over the prior year. 
  • The top companies owning 3DP patents included the usual suspects like Stratasys, 3D Systems, MIT, etc, but also some companies not presently directly involved in 3DP as we understand it: Xerox, 3M, Fujifilm, Dainippon, Boeing, Panasonic, IBM, Matsushita and Hitachi. (Some of this may relate to PCB and chip manufacturing)
  • A 3D print service company, Materialise, appear on the list with over 20 patents. Watch out, Shapeways! 
  • While US companies have the most patents, Japan and China are almost tied for second place, and far above the rest of the pack.
  • The material associated with the most patents is not plastic - it’s ceramic!
  • A network graph of patent inventors reveals not two, but three main clusters of patents: 3D Systems; Stratasys/Objet and Materialise.

And there’s a whole lot more for those of you who’d like to check out the report below.

Via Patent Insight Pro (PDF)

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