Klein & Wilson

3D printing companies locked in patent infringement lawsuit

Older generations may not necessarily see the appeal of 3D printers, but the 3D printing industry is a burgeoning one that brings a revolutionary promise to society. You could 3D print spare parts; you could 3D print operational products and items; you could 3D print functional tools. It was a massive breakthrough when 3D printing was invented, and over the years, it has been refined and improved.

Naturally, with a newer industry there are lucrative patents, copyrights and intellectual property that need to be protected early on in the development of said industry. And the 3D printing industry is no different. A recent lawsuit involving two 3D printing companies exemplifies this fact.

EnvisionTEC is suing Formlabs for what they allege is patent infringement. The lawsuit alleges infringement on two patents related to 3D printers, and EnvisionTEC wants an injunction against Formlabs to prevent continued infringement. They are also asking for Formlabs to pay remedial damages.

There are a couple of things to learn from this story. The first is that damages in a patent infringement case are common, and they often come in the form of financial compensation. Much can be lost by the victimized company when their patent is infringed. It can hurt their place in the market, while also costing them valuable profits.

The other lesson here is that patents are incredibly important, and as a company, you have to apply for these patents as early as you possibly can. The application process isn't necessarily quick, and your profitable ideas and products need to be protected.

Source: 3D Printing Industry, "EnvisionTEC files lawsuit against Formlabs," Katie Armstrong, Sept. 13, 2016

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