Mar 21, 2018 | By Benedict

Metal 3D printing company Desktop Metal has filed a lawsuit against carbon fiber 3D printing specialist Markforged. Desktop Metal, which received a major investment from Ford this week, claims Markforged unlawfully replicated DM-patented technologies on the Metal X 3D printer.

Desktop Metal alleges that the Markforged Metal X 3D printer unlawfully uses patented technology

A couple of days ago, it looked like being a smooth week for Desktop Metal: the metal 3D printing company had just announced a successful financing round, bringing in $65 million from Ford and other investors, and taking its total investments to $277 million. All good; all uncontroversial.

Today brought rather different news. Desktop Metal has filed a lawsuit against metal 3D printing competitor Markforged, claiming that Markforged unlawfully used Desktop Metal IP in the development of the Markforged Metal X 3D printer, which was released last year.

Intriguingly, Desktop Metal also alleges that a former intern within its own ranks, Matiu Parangi, misappropriated trade secrets at Desktop Metal by handing over key technical information to his brother, Abraham Parangi, who is the Technology & Creative Director at Markforged.

Desktop Metal is seeking substantial damages from Markforged

The patent infringement lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, alleges that Markforged’s Metal X 3D printer violates two Desktop Metal patents related to interface layer and separable support strategies for printing 3D metal parts, and also covers the alleged trade secret misappropriation carried out by Matiu Parangi.

The two patents in question, U.S. Patent Nos. 9,815,118 and 9,833,839, were granted to Desktop Metal in 2017, and relate to technologies used in the company’s Studio System and Production System 3D printers. We wrote about these specific 3D printing patents in January.

The technology described in the patents makes it possible to 3D print support structures that do not bond to parts and consolidate during sintering, as well as assemblies that do not consolidate during sintering.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the case is Desktop Metal’s allegation that Matiu Parangi downloaded important documents relating to Desktop Metal technology. Given Parangi’s family connection with Markforged, the insinuation is that Parangi may well have passed on trade secrets to his brother at the rival company.

The relevant patents concern Separable Supports technology for metal 3D printing

Desktop Metal CEO Ric Fulop, who once worked with Markforged himself as a board member and early investor, has offered the following statement: “Metal 3D printing is an exciting, quickly growing, and rapidly evolving industry and, as a pioneer in the space, Desktop Metal welcomes healthy and vibrant competition.

“When that competition infringes on our technology, however, we have a duty to respond. We believe Markforged products clearly utilize technology patented by Desktop Metal and we will do what is necessary to protect our IP and our company.”

Desktop Metal is seeking significant damages from Markforged. If successful in these efforts, it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing much more of the Metal X.

We reached out to Markforged for comment, though we imagine the company is planning its response very carefully.

Update 26/03: Markforged got in touch with 3Ders after seeing this article, alerting us that Markforged CEO and founder Greg Mark has put out a statement denying the allegations.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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Aviavi wrote at 3/22/2018 2:45:55 AM:


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