Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website, has been sued for promoting a 3D printer after claims of an infringement on 3D Systems’ patent.
Kickstarter featured a listing to fund the development of Formlab’s 3D printer which received $2.9m (£1.8m) in contribution from ove 2,000 users.
However, 3D Systems has claimed that Formlab’s 3D printer infringes on its own patents.
They have sued Kickstarter for promoting the 3D printer and also Formlab’s itself, neither have commented on the accusations so far.
According to Pacer (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system this is the first time Kickstarter has been involved in a patent lawsuit.
When Formlab’s first placed its request for funding on Kickstarter it said that the printer’s “layer thicknesses and feature sizes that are worlds ahead of what is possible”.
They achieve this through using stereolithography to print 3D models, however they claim that they can produce much higher quality models.
Formlab’s also say that 3D printers typically cost tens of thousands of dollars whereas they could offer their printer to anyone who pledged $2,299 or more.
The 3D System’s patent lawsuit incudes a quote from a TechCrunch interview with one of Formlab’s co-founders who said it could keep the cost of it printers low because several of the patents had expired “meaning that the team didn’t need to pay high licensing fees to get this product to market”.
The lawsuit says it is also filing against Kickstarter because it takes a 5% cut of any pledges to Formlab and therefore by promoting the printer it caused “immediate and irreparable injury and damage to 3D Systems”.
Kickstarter only recently made its UK debut after raising the funds for its launch. This latest scandal couldn’t come as a worse time. (Original article below)
Kickstarter has raised more than $340m (£211m) in the US and has now launched in the UK.
International businesses had to set up an account in the US prior to the UK launch.
Co-founder Yancey Strickler told the BBC “The request to expand internationally has long been one of our most requested features”.
“We certainly are interested. We’re going to see how the UK launch goes and figure out the next moves from there. There’s a lot of places that will be interesting.”
Kickstarter launches in 2009 with 70,000 projects pitched, with the site taking 5% of every successful pledge.
The site typically sources funding for creative projects such as film-making and plays, but it has gradually become known for helping fund new technologies.