Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


Is Stratasys actually defending patents?

Posted by davew_tx 
Is Stratasys actually defending patents?
March 26, 2013 08:30AM
originally posted in Developers, but may be better suited to this forum?

There are so many patents dealing with all aspects of FDM/FFF, i.e. the liquifier, the chamber, the z-detection and leveling, etc etc.
I like the patent (6,004,124) defining an idea to feed multiple filaments into a heated block, then out one nozzle. (RichRap shows this)

This should be a link to a patent search for Stratasys.
search results

Have they been active in approaching anyone/startups with cease letters or actions or licensing their ideas or are they ignoring the whole exploding market?

Just wondering because I see some German students launching an enclosed and heated printer. They even have heaters!
link to 3ders.org article

And Nophead and then Matterhacker defined a z height and auto leveling method, which is covered in 6,629,011.
No product on the market has these features BTW, but why not?

And Hyrel3D is calling their enclosure a safety cell (?) but it should contain heat well.

It's interesting that most, like the Makerbot Replicator, continue to have openings on the front/side/top, when obviously they're throwing away the center of their enclosure plates. Is this to avoid infringement or do they like the styling or easy access?
Enclosing most products is as simple as taping cardboard sheets to sides. I've seen upgrade panel kits to enclose some also.
Isn't it an infringement when you make a product that is painfully easy and obvious to modify into an infringing product?
The Replicator would take 10 minutes to enclose, and yet exist and thrive.

How is it that no one has designed a low cost multiple nozzle setup with tip retraction/lifting?

It seems like there are products with bits and pieces (claims) that are "defined" by Stratasys already, so that would lead me to believe they are not defending at all.

I watched a video blog from Hyrel, where they mentioned attending a Make-fest(?) gathering, and there being a large number of lawyers in suits, looking for people to harass, ahem, I mean talk to.
Are there infringement specialists circling the players, looking to cash in or what?


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/2013 09:55AM by davew_tx.
Re: Is Stratasys actually defending patents?
March 26, 2013 01:59PM
You have a lot to learn about patents - there is a great deal of confusion here. Not all is what it seems. For example, the lawsuit against formlabs was baseless, they only did it because it was the end of their patent life. Its just patent and legal play tactics.

Also, don't read a patent without reading the specification, otherwise, it looks like everything in the world is covered and patents overlap 10 times. Its not so simple.

The legalize needs to be specific or it is invalid.

For example:
"a heating block made of heat conductive material"
All materials conduct heat, except for a complete vacuum/void. Therefore the claim by itself has no meaning. Would ceramic apply? Does it have to be a metal? Metal-filled polymer? When it becomes unclear or unobvious that patent was talking about it, it can be invalidated or patented on top of their work without violating it.

The combination of a heating element + heating block represents probably 100,000 other patents. It is meaningless by itself.

"a first thin-wall tube"
How thin wall? Again, definitions matter an extreme deal.

"having an inlet end for receiving a flament of a first material"

So if it is a square, the patent is irrelvant. If it is a pellet, the patent is irrelvant...etc. They just boxed themselves off here in order to get the claim.

Also, they claim two materials can be extruded using one hot end (A great idea) BUT do not specify mixing. That is because it is impossible in the current design. Also, I do not know if using 3 material inlets works around this patent too.

Do not worry much grinning smiley. At the end of the day, you might work around the patent and still be sued, or violate it and not be sued. What matters is, are you worth their fight, and are you ready to defend or fight them back?
Re: Is Stratasys actually defending patents?
March 27, 2013 02:17PM
They can also wait to see if you make any money and become worth the lawsuit, there is no requirement to immediately defend a patent, and no point at which you are safe until it expires.
Practically companies use them for 3 things.

Removing competition before it starts, sue a startup you think will impinge your market, defending a patent case even one you are sure is invalid is almost never worth what it costs, and unless your investors have deep pockets and settles, the startup just goes away.

Revenue generation, sue a company that has infringed a patent, usually after the product and company are successful and usually settle out of court. When a company is going under they'll often file lots of patent suits in an attempt to generate revenue, Atari was an example of this in the early 90's.

Defense, When someone does 2 to you you do it right back to them, the lawyers make some money and you agree to swap licenses to the involved patents.

Most real companies with large patent portfolios use them primarily for 3, though there are exceptions, IBM considers patents a form of income. Patent trolls demonstrate how broken the system is because they have no product and therefore you can't use your own portfolio as a defense.

There is some justification for patent like IP laws in the cases where R&D is extremely expensive, but manufacturing is extremely cheap (pharmaceuticals are always sighted) without the law there is no reason for companies to do the research, because your competitors just undercut you in the market with copies.
Re: Is Stratasys actually defending patents?
March 29, 2013 05:30PM
HA ! well said, is it worth their fight, if they fight you, they will want to know if they will get MONEEYYYYYY out of you, the lawyers probe your existance first, if they discover you are a multi-millionaire JUST because of the machines you make ... hmmmm ... eye popping smiley

otherwise, you must be related to steve jobs, you have his same genes and they DO NOT WANT you to take over the world with your new machine ideas hahahaha

Simba Wrote:

> Do not worry much grinning smiley. At the end of the day, you
> might work around the patent and still be sued, or
> violate it and not be sued. What matters is, are
> you worth their fight, and are you ready to defend
> or fight them back?

__my mixed bag blog || aka --> [http] || ___ so 3D printing is everywhere ... dont worry, hospitals can now 3Dprint body parts, they will charge you $1million excluding surgical fees ... you will die paying your debts. thats their aim ___ if every patent expires tomorrow, everybody will surely get a 3dprinter and make EVERYTHING ! ____ there is a "DIY-DTG" t shirt printing forum, you can mod an EPSON printer to PRINT like a pro. ___ CNCzone? overly commercialized it seems ___ my country? they will be taxing you for every cm of road you use and track you to your grave using GPS and its government authorized, now they will fire all the traffic wardens instead.___ EEVBLOG? there is only 1 way to do things --> take it apart like a pro
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login