Local 3D-Printing Firm Denies Patent Infringement Claims
Chanhassen-based 3D-printing company Afinia recently responded to a lawsuit filed by its much larger competitor, Stratasys, Inc., disputing claims of patent infringement.
In November, Eden Prairie-based Stratasys (a manufacturer of 3D printers and materials for personal and commercial use, prototyping, and production) alleged that Afinia’s sale, promotion, and use of its Series H 3D printer infringed on four of Stratasys’ patents that relate to the 3D-printing process.
Afinia is now denying any infringement, stating that the patents in question either weren’t used with its products or were invalid because they were used for other inventions before Stratasys filed the applications.
Afinia’s attorney William Cass said in a statement that the company will also investigate “a potential claim for antitrust (by patent) given the significant differences between the asserted claims and the Afinia H Series.”
The four patents that Stratasys claimed Afinia infringed upon relate to the following characteristics: “method for controlled porosity three-dimensional modeling,” “method for rapid prototyping of solid models,” “thin-wall tube liquefier,” and “seam concealment for three-dimensional models.”
Afinia was founded in 2009 to offer “specialty” printing solutions. The lawsuit was technically brought against its parent company, Microboards Technology, which, according to its website, has offered “media duplication products” since its founding in 1989. Stratasys was also founded in 1989.
Through its lawsuit, Stratasys is seeking “damages adequate to compensate for the infringement, including its lost profits and no less than a reasonable royalty,” as well as “permanently enjoining Afinia” from further patent infringement. Stratasys said this was the first time it had filed a patent infringement lawsuit.
According to Stratasys, its Co-Founder and Chairman Scott Crump was the inventor of “Fused Deposition Modeling,” a technology that prints 3D objects from computer models by building them up in layers of “extruded materials.” (Hear more from Crump in TCB’s Interview Issue.)