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3D Systems sues Kickstarter and Formlabs for patent infringement

form 1 (kickstarter)

3D Systems, a company that manufactures a range of 3D printers, has sued FormLabs and Kickstarter for patent infringement. The suit alleges that Formlabs and Kickstarter infringed at least one of its patents (US 5,597,520) related to light-based printing with the Form 1 printer, and that the infringement was a violation of Kickstarter's terms of use. Formlabs successfully funded the Form 1 project on Kickstarter on October 26th, raising $2,945,885 — a hefty sum beyond its goal of $100,000. 3D Systems argues that Kickstarter participated in the infringement by handling sales of the Form 1.

There's no way to know what success 3D Systems will have with the lawsuit at this point — the patent is long, detailed, and covers multiple claims related to the use of data to build layers and sections in objects. The company says in a press release that "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 patent rights." While the lawsuit may take some time to resolve, it's certainly a worrying prospect for the backers who funded the project — the first units are not estimated to ship until February 2013.

The Verge
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