3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) has settled its two-year old patent lawsuit against Formlabs. Subsequently, the lawsuit between 3D Systems and Formlabs was dismissed with prejudice. It means the legal battle is over, once and for all. Now Formlabs will be able to make its 3D printers without fear of being sued over patents again.
3D Systems first sued Formlabs in 2012
The settlement doesn’t mean a victory for Formlabs, but it’s a major step in the right direction. The start-up was able to raise $19 million in October 2013 despite a pending lawsuit. 3D Systems had also sued Kickstarter for its role in selling Formlabs’ first 3D printers. The Somerville, Massachusetts-based start-up had raised $2.9 million on Kickstarter through a crowdfunding campaign.
The Rock Hill-based 3D printing leader first sued Formlabs in 2012 for allegedly infringing eight of its patents related to laser-based stereolithography techniques. 3D Systems founder Chuck Hull had invented 3D printing in early 1980s. Hull patented the stereolithography (SLA) process in 1997. 3D Systems has a strong patent portfolio related to stereolithography.
Formlabs single-handedly established desktop SLA market
Meanwhile, Formlabs entered the market in a big way, establishing the desktop SLA market. It became an obvious target for 3D Systems. Stereolithographic 3D printing process uses a laser to cure liquid plastic. Formlabs used the money it had raised on Kickstarter to develop its desktop SLA 3D printer Form 1, which was followed by Form 1+. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Formlabs’ printers worked by shooting UV laser on a photosensitive resin that is hardened into a cohesive, solid object. It cures one layer at a time until the object is fully fabricated. It produces objects that are sold without filament lines. The current 3D printing leader 3D Systems and Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) have grown more aggressive, dragging startups to court over patent infringements.
3D Systems shares plunged 4.85% on Monday to close at $33.57. The stock has tumbled 63% since the beginning of this year.