Form 1 3D printer may become vapourware

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Lawrence
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 12:24 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Form 1 3D printer may become vapourware

Post by Lawrence » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:50 am

Hi all
I am usually wary of projects that seek up front dollars for not-yet-completed products, and and the following example shows what problems may occur.
I have just read that on the BBC website (See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20434031) that Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/for ... 3d-printer) and Formfabs ( http://formlabs.com/) are being sued for infringing existing patents held by 3D systems.
It will be interesting in this case what happens to each of the contributions (some up to $10,000) if Formlab and Kickstarter lose the lawsuit.
The way that products are promoted on Kickstarter it may be that contributors are deemed to be investors rather than purchaser and therefore unlikely to receive any refund. Even if considered to be customers, by the time that legal and delay costs eat into Formlabs resources, there may be little left.
Their only hope may be if Kickstarter still has the funds and decides to retain it until the legal mess has been sorted out, and then in the case of losing the lawsuit, refunds contributors' funds. Any other outcome will severely damage Kickstarters reputation. But then, the payout for lawsuit costs, then reimbursing contributors may be too much for their available funds.
At least when I ordered my Up!, and afterwards the supplies for it, I knew they already existed, were ready to ship, and that I would actually receive them.
I hope no one on the Up! forum is now at risk of losing money on the Form1.
Regards
Lawrence

Marcus
Posts: 526
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:58 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Form 1 3D printer may become vapourware

Post by Marcus » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:15 am

That's bad.
I joined the Printrbot Kickstarter, and everything went well... But seems like the 3D printing world is heavily patented.
I do hope it somehow works out for the people who put money into it, and the project as well.

eyUP
Posts: 230
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 3:23 pm

Re: Form 1 3D printer may become vapourware

Post by eyUP » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:22 pm

I'd hope that they can change their curing technique so it doesn't infringe the patent. Even if they can't and there are issues with small or thin details, the printer will probably still make better models than FDM printers in the same price bracket.

It is very frustrating that patents like this are approved in the first place. If I read the patent correctly it's a natural process of experimentation which led to improved detail of 3D prints from a resin printer - a process which anyone tackling the same design issues will go through and overcome themselves. Imagine if FDM printers weren't allowed to use support structures because someone had patented that idea! :evil:
Last edited by eyUP on Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

roller
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:09 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: Form 1 3D printer may become vapourware

Post by roller » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:38 pm

Well it is just the specific strategy for support that's in question and I wouldn't be surprised if there's another way - it's not the first SL project with some success on Kickstarter.

Forget FDM not using support structures - only a few years back (up to 2009) the whole FDM method was under a patent. Also the term FDM itself is technically a trademark of Stratasys which is why the open source community rejigged their acronym to be FFF. There are still a few patents standing with FDM, er FFF err whatever, that relate to support so maybe we're next (not really - and they are about to expire so ... too late).

Blown454
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:13 pm

Re: Form 1 3D printer may become vapourware

Post by Blown454 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:23 pm

I invested in this campaign, I really hope it gets worked out! Still no word from Formlabs on the situation (understandable with legal issues at hand), but I hope we get more nfo on what the status is asap. I really don't want to be out $2700+, that would not be good at all :(.

mr6k
Posts: 327
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:47 am

Re: Form 1 3D printer may become vapourware

Post by mr6k » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:02 pm

It is a fact of life that if you start a business that intends to manufacture it's own designs then an important part of that business is intellectual property rights (IPR). Patents form a large part of many companies IPR. While some complain it stops the little guy getting started and is a form of greed by the bigger IPR rich companies, it needs to be understood that many companies apply for patents to prevent others stealing their ideas or latterly claiming they were first to invent. Companies rarely get rich on suing others over patent rights, however they have the right to protect their often costly investment in design.

I do hope the matter referred to here is amicably resolved and that these "investors" get their printers

cheers

Peter

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