Sep 12, 2016 | By Benedict

EnvisionTEC, a global 3D printer manufacturer with headquarters in Detroit, Michigan; and Gladbeck, Germany, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Massachusetts-based Formlabs. EnvisionTEC CEO Al Siblani has offered a statement on the action.

Formlabs, creator of the mega-popular Form 1 and Form 2 SLA 3D printers, is once again making headlines for legal reasons. After being on the receiving end of a similar lawsuit from 3D Systems between 2012 and 2014, Formlabs must now deal with an accusation of intellectual property theft from EnvisionTEC. EnvisionTEC today issued a statement about the patent infringement lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. In the complaint, EnvisionTEC asserts that Formlabs 3D printers infringe upon two patents held by EnvisionTEC.

“EnvisionTEC has been inventing, developing, manufacturing and selling 3D printers, materials and other related technologies and services for nearly 15 years,” said EnvisionTEC CEO Al Siblani in a statement. “Today, we hold numerous patents around the world covering a variety of our 3D printing products, methods and more. This intellectual property was researched and developed over many years by our innovative team of professionals and is invaluable to our business serving a variety of medical, professional and industrial markets around the world. We are committed to aggressively protecting our intellectual property in accordance with the laws of the countries in which we operate.”

EnvisionTEC’s complaint seeks injunctive relief prohibiting Formlabs from continued infringement as well as remedies in the form of monetary damages for past and current infringement. In other words, Formlabs needs to stop producing 3D printers, and to compensate EnvisionTEC for the huge numbers of 3D printers it has already sold.

3D Systems’ lawsuit against Formlabs was dismissed in December 2014, with details of the settlement remaining private. 3D Systems also once filed a lawsuit against EnvisionTEC, with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division ruling in favor of 3D Systems in March 2011.

Formlabs is yet to comment on the EnvisionTEC lawsuit.

The Formlabs Form 2 SLA 3D printer

Updated Sep 15, 2016:

The two patents in question, both filed in 2002, around a decade before Formlabs' successful Kickstarter campaign for the Form 1, are US 7052263 B2, "Apparatus for manufacturing a three-dimensional object," and US 7195472 B2, "Apparatus and method for the non-destructive separation of hardened material layers from a flat construction plane."

The first patent describes an apparatus for manufacturing a three-dimensional object that includes a trough for holding material which can be solidified under the influence of light. The invention has a transparent plate under the trough, and on the transparent plate and side wall of the trough there is a resilient layer from which solidified material is easier to detach than from the transparent plate. An exposure and projection unit serves to expose and solidify the material in the trough from below through the transparent plate.

The connected second patent describes something similar to the separation-enhancing "resilient layer" mentioned in the first patent, used to remove 3D printed objects from the build plate. The second patent details an apparatus and a method for separating a material layer hardened on a flat plane by means of a flexible, elastic separating layer arranged between plane and material layer and designed in the form of a film or a gel-like material.


Posted in 3D Printer Company



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NoVisionTech wrote at 9/14/2016 3:27:19 AM:

Siblani stands for chicken pussy in Yiddish.

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