Stratasys Accuses Local Firm Of Patent Infringement

Stratasys Accuses Local Firm Of Patent Infringement

3D printing giant Stratasys filed its first patent infringement lawsuit Monday against fellow Minnesotan company Afinia.

Stratasys, Inc., announced Monday that it is suing Chanhassen-based competitor Afinia for allegedly infringing on four of Stratasys’ 3D printing patents.
 
Eden Prairie-based Stratasys (a manufacturer of 3D printers and materials for personal use, prototyping, and production) alleges that Afinia’s sale, promotion, and use of its Series H 3D printer infringes on Stratasys’ patents that relate to the 3D printing process.
 
Stratasys claims that four of its patents, related to the following characteristics, were infringed upon: “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.”
 
Stratasys said that, as a result of the alleged infringement, it has been “irreparably injured” and will continue to be damaged until “Afinia’s infringing activities are enjoined by this court.”

 
“IP infringement discourages companies from investing in innovation,” Stratasys CEO David Reis said in a statement. “Stratasys pioneered 3D printing and invests millions of dollars each year to develop our technologies. In 2012 alone, Stratasys Ltd invested $33.3 million, or 9.3 percent, of its revenues in R&D. We intend to protect that investment.”
 
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.
 
Afinia did not immediately respond to inquires made by Twin Cities Business Monday.
 
Stratasys seeks “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 is the first time it has 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.)
 
Stratasys expanded significantly last year when it merged with a competitor, Israel-based Objet, Ltd., to form what then became a company with combined equity value of $1.4 billion.
 
In August, it completed another merger, with Brooklyn, New York-based 3D printing competitor MakerBot, for $403 million. After that deal was made, Stratasys said it expected revenue of more than $400 million in 2013.
 
Stratasys now has more than 1,500 employees and holds about 500 granted or pending manufacturing patents globally.