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a breakout for desktop 3-D
printing. MakerBot released two new models, Formlabs debuted the
first prosumer 3-D printer to use high-accuracy stereolithography,
and a slew of
innovative, printed projects lifted awareness and desirability
of additive manufacturing for the general public.
But the year ended with a legal hiccup. Formlabs will be dealing
with a patent
infringement lawsuit brought against them by 3D Systems, one of
the biggest players in the industry. The hobbyist segment of the
industry has been built on the back of expired patents, but as the
Electronic Frontier Foundation has
pointed out, many patents that will be required to advance the
state of the art will not expire for years or even a decade.
We’ve uncovered 10 patents that could severely stifle innovation in
the low-cost segment of the 3-D printing market and keep you from
making colorful, smooth-finished figures and precise, articulating
parts. These patents cover core technologies and ease-of-use
features, and could take momentum from the upstarts and return it
to the entrenched companies.
To read the full list of patents and patent applications, go
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