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Defending patents is a full-time job at companies with intellectual property (IP), and that's certainly true in the 3D-printing industry, which seems to be placing new machines and materials on the market every week. Last month, Stratasys Ltd. (Eden Prairie, MN), a global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing systems, announced that the U.S.

Clare Goldsberry

July 2, 2015

2 Min Read
Stratasys successfully defends validity of FDM patents

Defending patents is a full-time job at companies with intellectual property (IP), and that's certainly true in the 3D-printing industry, which seems to be placing new machines and materials on the market every week. Last month, Stratasys Ltd. (Eden Prairie, MN), a global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing systems, announced that the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has denied requests by competing 3D-printer maker Afinia, for inter partes review of three important FDM technology patents directed to liquefier structure, temperature control and tool paths for constructing part perimeters.

5gavel-300.jpgStratasys sued Microboards Technology, doing business as Afinia, about 18 months ago, claiming patent infringement on four of Stratasys' patents. A court directed Stratasys to drop one patent infringement claim related to controlling infill, leaving in place the other three machine components named in the infringement suit.

Inter partes review is a proceeding in which the PTAB reviews the validity of claims in a patent. In denying Afinia's requests, the PTAB reasoned that Afinia "has not demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of prevailing" with respect to any of the challenged claims in the Stratasys patents, according to information from Stratasys. "This decision is particularly notable in that, based on current PTAB statistics (published by the USPTO), the PTAB denies only about one in four inter partes review requests," said Stratasys.

"We are very pleased with the U.S. PTAB decision," said Soonhee Jang, Stratasys Vice President and Chief IP Counsel. "These dismissals are evidence of the strength of our patent portfolio."

These same three patents are asserted by Stratasys in the case of Stratasys Inc. v. Microboards Technology LLC, dba Afinia, pending in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, where Stratasys continues to pursue a relief from the court involving Afinia's infringement on three Stratasys patents.

Stratasys co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Scott Crump invented fused deposition modeling (FDM), a technology that prints three-dimensional objects from computer models by building them up in layers. According to Stratasys, FDM is the most widely adopted 3D-printing technology in the industry. The company will continue to significantly invest in technology, product and solution development, in order to make 3D printing more accessible and widely adopted by current and future users, said Stratasys.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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