3D Systems sues FormLabs, Kickstarter
Claims at least one patent has been infringed upon
by Sam Pfeifle
November 21, 2012
ROCK HILL, S.C. - 3D Systems
Corporation announced today that it has brought suit in the Federal
District Court of South Carolina, Rock Hill division, against Formlabs, Inc. of
Cambridge, Massachusetts and Kickstarter, Inc. of New York, New York. 3D
Systems said in the press release it is seeking injunctive relief and damages
for infringement of one of its patents relating to the stereolithography
The specific patent isn’t named in the press release, but
various online reports say it
is this one, which describes “Simultaneous multiple layer curing in
stereolithography.” It was issued in 1997 to Dennis Smalley, et al, and has
been referenced numerous times in subsequent patents.
3D Systems claims “the sale and use of the Form 1 3D
printers sold by Formlabs and Kickstarter infringe a U.S. patent relating to
stereolithography. Formlabs sold the Form 1 3D printers to backers
of its Kickstarter campaign in September and October 2012.” In fact, the
company raised just shy of $3 million pre-selling its Form 1 printers at an
average price of around $2,500, though it hasn’t yet shipped any of them.
"3D Systems invented and pioneered the 3D printing
technology of stereolithography and has many active patents covering various
aspects of the stereolithography process," said Andrew Johnson, general counsel
for 3D Systems, in the press release. "Although Formlabs has publicly
stated that certain patents have expired, 3D Systems believes the Form 1 3D
printer infringes at least one of our patents, and we intend to enforce our
When contacted for comment, FormLabs co-founder Maxim
Lobovsky said the company was not prepared to comment, but would likely post
something to its web site in the near future responding to the suit.
For more on Formlabs, you can see SPAR an article about the
company’s view of 3D data here.