Even more 3D Systems news today! Perhaps this was inevitable, but 3D printing giant 3D Systems has filed lawsuits against Kickstarter-fueled Formlabs, who recently closed a USD$3M campaign to raise funds to produce their new resin-based personal 3D printer.
Resin-based 3D printing, also known as Stereolithography, was invented by 3D Systems’ founder, Chuck Hull in the 1980’s. Accordingly, 3D Systems owns a number of stereolithography patents, some of which are still in force.
While some patents have might have expired, a stereolithography 3D printer has many different internal processes, all of which may have been patented. It’s quite possible that Formlabs missed one or more of them and could be caught in a legal dilemma. According to 3D Systems’ legal counsel, Andrew Johnson:
Although Formlabs has publicly stated that certain patents have expired, 3D Systems believes the Form 1 3D printer infringes at least one of our patents, and we intend to enforce our patent rights.
It may be that 3D Systems is seen as “the bad guy” in this situation, but remember that if they do not protect this patent, then anyone else will be free to use it and suddenly the patent becomes worthless, even though it’s still active.
What’s next? We expect back room negotiations between the two parties. 3D Systems may demand a royalty payment for use of the patent, ask them to shut down operations (which would be perhaps the biggest donation return in Kickstarter history) or just maybe Formlabs might be absorbed into the 3D Systems family.
3D Systems has been known to acquire companies. Often.
Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!
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Welcome to Fabbaloo, one of the world’s oldest online news sources for 3D printing news. We’ve been in operation since 2007, where we first started examining the state of 3D printers. These devices are now relatively common among some circles in today’s world, but years ago it was extremely rare to see a 3D printer or even a 3D printed object.
At that time it was challenging to find any 3D printing news, so we decided to make our own site that covered 3D printer news, and even associated technologies like 3D scanning and 3D modeling. Today it is common to find 3D printers in schools, workshops and makerspaces, and you probably have been using 3D printed objects without even knowing they were 3D printed.
Today’s industry has finally taken up the challenge by installing thousands of industrial 3D printers, each producing previously impossible 3D printed parts that make today’s society far more efficient. The aerospace industry in particular has been producing many 3D printed parts, some even for flight critical purposes.
If you want to learn about 3D printers, then there’s no better place than Fabbaloo’s 3D printer news to see the latest happenings.
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