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IP Lessons from NewPro 3D’s 3D Printing Spat with Nexa3D

by • February 28, 2016 • No Comments

The not long ago reported patent spat between two 3D printing startups offers a few insight for businesses of IP rights. The spat involves a pretty common business disagreement: who owns a patent on innovation which both companies use?

One player is NewPro 3D, a company headquartered in Vancouver which makes 3D printing devices via vat photopolymerization, in addition understandn as stereolithography or DLP, depending on the light source implemented. NewPro 3D was a stealthy company and hadn’t appeared in the 3D printing news until November 2015, when Nexa3D launched a Kickstarter campaign.

Nexa3D is an Italian company with its own vat photopolymerization machine. Nexa3D’s Kickstarter campaign claimed one of the most rapidly printing devices in the world at 1 cm/min, and additional significantly, via patented innovation.

The “patented innovation” claim struck a nerve with NewPro 3D’s Diego Castanon. In late November, Diego took to Kickstarter’s message boards to explain which Nexa3D did not, and may not, have a patent on the innovation for the reason NewPro 3D devised the innovation and filed for a U.S. patent in April 2015. Castanon in addition said which Nexa3D filed a European patent application in October, 2015 via NewPro 3D’s own description and drawings. Interestingly, Castanon provided the cover sheet of his own company’s patent application to 3DPrint.com, to show which his application dated back to April 2015.

Here’s the rub. Internationally-filed patent applications are not published for 18 months. This seems to be the case here, since we cannot find either application via online patent searches, and we are told which the patents were just filed in April and October of last year. This begs the question, how may NewPro 3D understand the content of Nexa3D’s patent application? We don’t understand.

In any case, Diego’s posts were correct when he asserted which a patent application is not a patent, and which without a granted patent, Nexa3D may not be able-bodied to practuallyt other companies of making its 3D printing devices. But actually if NewPro 3D receives a patent on the innovation, it is possible in patent law which Nexa3D may be able-bodied to receive its own patent on the same innovation. For example, the U.S. Patent Office or a foreign patent office may not have understandn of NewPro 3D’s innovation, and inadvertently granted Nexa3D’s patent application. The two patents may in addition claim various aspects of the same or much like innovation. In fact, this takes place frequently.

A photo of a print of NewPro 3D.

A photo of a print of NewPro 3D.

So what can we learn of this? For starters, international patent applications are typically not published for 18 months. On the other hand prior art searches may be performed by patent attorneys and agents prior to filing a patent, the searches do not, and cannot, find all future prior art which can be utilized to practuallyt a patent of being granted.

Prints of Nexa3D.

Prints of Nexa3D.

In addition, just for the reason one company has a patent on a innovation does not mean which another company does not have a patent on the same innovation. The claims of every patent may cover various aspects of the innovation, or claims on the same innovation may have been inadvertently allowed by the patent office.

What may be most significant here is companies require to understand the implications of accvia another company of patent infringement. In the United States, such an accusation can outcome in the accutilized company filing what is called a declaratory judgment action. A DJ action can be filed by a future infringer against a patent holder in an take on to receive a judgment declaring which the patent is invalid or which the future infringer’s product does not infringe the patent. By just accvia another company of infringing a specific patent, the accvia company may be drawn into a costly patent lawsuit in a court of the alleged infringer’s choosing. Of course, there are most exceptions and nuances to DJ actions, but anyone reading this may be well advised to consult with their attorney preceding accvia anyone of patent infringement.

On the other hand NewPro 3D and Nexa3D haven’t engaged in patent warfare yet, there is most likely a few bad blood. A stealth company had to come out of the shadows, a Kickstarter campaign was forced to end early, and a lot of anger has spilled onto Internet message boards. What takes place upcoming is anyone’s guess.


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