Nov.25, 2013

3D Printer company Stratasys announced today that it has brought suit for patent infringement against Afinia, a division of Microboards Technology LLC, in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Stratasys is seeking injunctive relief and damages for infringement of four of its 3D printing patents.

The complaint alleges that Afinia's sale, promotion and use of its Series H printer infringes patents directed to part porosity, liquefier structure, temperature control, and tool paths for constructing part perimeters. The most recent Stratasys patent that Afinia is alleged to infringe was issued in January 2013.

Afinia Series H 3D printer

"IP infringement discourages companies from investing in innovation," said David Reis, Stratasys Ltd. CEO. "Stratasys pioneered 3D printing, and invests millions of dollars each year to develop our technologies. In 2012 alone, Stratasys Ltd invested $33.3 million or 9.3 percent of its revenues in R&D. We intend to protect that investment."

Stratasys Inc.'s co-founder, chairman and chief innovation officer, Scott Crump, invented Fused Deposition Modeling, a technology that prints three dimensional objects from computer models by building them up in layers. This is the first time that Stratasys has commenced an action for infringement of its patents.

Posted in 3D Printing Company



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N wrote at 12/4/2013 4:35:02 PM:

Stratasys developed FDM and has amassed a strong patent portfolio. They invested millions of dollars and many years in developing their products, and they are now able to defend their market position by suing those who are infringing on their patents. Makes sense. If you believe their patents are invalid then challenge them at the USPTO. Companies and individuals cannot simply decide that a patent is invalid and ignore it. If any of you reprappers want to open up the 3d printing market, then develop your own NEW technology and stop complaining. All you are doing now is ripping off Stratasys' technology and calling it innovation. Nonesense!

jp wrote at 12/4/2013 12:38:50 PM:

The only reason Afinia is getting sued is because they are making money, and signing distribution deals with people like staples. It is probable that there are no actual grounds to sue on, but Stratasys can still claim that there is infringement and it is up to Afinia to defend themselves, and a Judge to rule. This will likely be settled out of court with Afinia paying a settlement. They bought makerbot for marketing and thingiverse, not the technology. Stratasys probably won't sue 3D Systems ever because 3DS probably has more lawyers, and they are most likely mutually infringing on each other's patent portfolios so it would be an endless court battle. RepRap and RepRappers will likely never get sued by any major patent holder because there just isn't enough money being made to make it worth it, and the movement is too distributed and global. There is a common misunderstanding as to what patents are actually for; patents are for making money, or more so it gives the owner of the patent exclusive commercial right to exploit. Patents aren't for protecting ideas, or even inventors. Patents are about business. In the case of 3D Printing billions of dollars have been spent on R&D in the last 30 years to bring us to where we are today, which wouldn't have been spent without patents. My $0.02 on this is that it is common behavior of a previous market leader feeling hard pressure by competitors that were previously not there. This is a tactic to slow down the new competition with legal fees and court time while they can re-assess the new state of the market.

RepRap Operator wrote at 11/30/2013 5:11:38 AM:

It may be time for the RepRap movement to mobilize in a way in which we can defend such attacks.

rooiejoris wrote at 11/30/2013 12:52:53 AM:

bit off-topic...My weekly cup 46... Patent Pending... is inspired by the Stratasys lawsuit on Afinia. This cup have all the patents applied, whatever printer you use.... cheers\joris

reprapper wrote at 11/28/2013 10:30:17 AM:

Didnt you think guys that maybe 3dsystems paid the royalties to stratasys todo use the technologies ? They certainly have the money to do it

Make74 wrote at 11/27/2013 11:28:35 AM:

Bad bad news for 3d printing, they will begin as mobile phone companies. Working like this, "patents" hinder developement. Very bad, Stratasys Cubify is a bad copy of Afinia, shouldn't they sue 3dsystems too? No guts....

Melamed wrote at 11/27/2013 1:05:49 AM:

If Stratsys can go after Afinia for fused deposition making of 3D models, it can go after all of RepRap worldwide. All of RepRap is using fused depositional model making. All of RepRap is using temperature controls on their depositional heads. All of RepRap is using tool paths. As far as what order to place the depositions, that’s controlled by software and all the software is similar. Stratsys needs to be stopped now!

RepRappers worldwide wrote at 11/26/2013 9:39:44 PM:

Reprap evolves to Makerbot, Makerbot gets bought by patent owners stratasys, can stratasys sure all the reprappers worldwide ?

Melamed wrote at 11/26/2013 9:00:01 PM:

Make Stratsys pay for the suit—don’t buy anything connected with Stratsys.

Melamed wrote at 11/26/2013 8:50:49 PM:

Oh no, what “patents” are they violating? Three dimension models by fused deposition has been around a long time, the first I heard of it was in welding for repairs of machinery. That was many years ago. Adding computers to the mix is an invalid patent. Temperature control? That’s been around a long time, at least a century. Tool paths? As long as there have been milling machines, tool paths have been an issue. It looks as if Stratsys wants to become like a typical patent troll, just like what is now smothering the computer industry, only in the 3D printing industry. Microsoft, Apple, IBM, etc. etc. are all patent trolls out to destroy new technology with invalid patents that cost too much in legal fees to fight, so now it looks as if Stratsys is starting the same here. It looks as if they want to go after the RepRap industry, an industry built on off-the-shelf technology aiming for low cost. Shame on you, Stratsys!

Rawstock wrote at 11/26/2013 8:23:15 PM:

We now have a Microsct in 3D printing ...

Simonp wrote at 11/26/2013 12:19:22 AM:

Dont Stratasys have the balls to sue 3D Systems for their Cubify?,file=21811,filename=10114908932.pdf,download=1

sas wrote at 11/25/2013 11:39:40 PM:

@cor, you are right! I mix up these 2 always! :))

james wrote at 11/25/2013 11:09:13 PM:

Actually the Afinia is far better than the cubify, its design isn't as cute but it produces a better final output.

Pottertown wrote at 11/25/2013 10:50:26 PM:

Seems quite clear as to what specifically is in question with regards to infringement. Likely some new method involving perimeters/fill that Afinia released on their latest product.

B wrote at 11/25/2013 10:49:53 PM:

invest 500 Million Dollar in Makerbot and now sue everyone, here we go

3D_BWR wrote at 11/25/2013 10:46:37 PM:

O oh. Monopolizing 3D printing industry much.

Eduardo wrote at 11/25/2013 9:45:17 PM:

Any details about the actual patent? What was the infringement?The whole thing? Are they going to sue everybody now? What patents have expired and what patents have not?

Cor wrote at 11/25/2013 9:43:37 PM:

The cube was made by 3D Systems and was released a couple of years after the original Afinia was first released. The Cube has nothing to do with Stratasys

Sas wrote at 11/25/2013 9:12:46 PM:

makes sense... it looks like a cheap copy of the cubify and is more expensive and sells more... I would be pissed of aswell hahah!

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