It’s a blockbuster move and one printer manufacturer Epson hopes will enable them to catch up to competitor Hewlett Packard in the 3D printing space: Epson has fully acquired the RepRap open source project.
We believe this is an immediate reaction to HP’s surprise announcement of their upcoming announcement regarding their entry to the 3D printing world in June. If HP can sell 3D printers, so can Epson, they believe.
While HP has been desperately working on 3D printing technology in their secret underground labs for several years, Epson has not. In fact, it’s our understanding that Epson has no underground labs. The only catch-up option open to Epson was to quickly acquire sophisticated 3D technology developed by others. Thus the acquisition of RepRap.
Advanced RepRap tech enables Epson to launch their 3D printing venture almost immediately. They’re so keen on dominating the space they’ve even adjusted their corporate logo to include a nod to the former RepRap project (image above).
We’re not exactly certain how buying an open source project works, legally, financially, technically or even socially, but apparently Epson now owns all intellectual property related to the RepRap project, now and in the future. How this will play out among the many skilled volunteers who have donated thousands of their hours into RepRap remains to be seen. We suspect Epson is taking a big risk here, and we asked Epson rep George C. Simulare to comment, who said:
We expect all RepRap contributors to continue their very valuable work for Epson; in fact, we’ll be providing them all a Very Generous 5% discount on any future Epson 3D printing product purchases, including the new Epson Filament cartridges that come out just in time for holiday shopping.