Memjet v. HP: 3D Printing to Be Excused from the Courtroom?

Share this Article

images (2)The perception from some corners of the world regarding 3D printing might be that not too long ago everyone was communing in a rather unspoiled and lawless state of sharing where all the tinkerers and hackers got along swimmingly as they worked on and even helped each other to improve a veritable gold mine of inventions.

Truthfully though, from the bigger picture, patents have been running the show behind the scenes since the beginning, with many of them just expiring and perhaps loosening the reins overall. But it would seem as one patent expires, many more little ones are now being argued over or being created faster than anyone can keep track. And with a growing population of geniuses producing an overflow of brilliant and sometimes similar ideas, controversies are bound to erupt, ruining the party for everyone–and maybe even allowing copyright and intellectual property issues to put the lid on true innovation.

The hobbyist community still seems to sail along fairly effortlessly, aside from a squabble here and there, but intellectual property discussions are growing and numerous entities are working to put some structure in place. For the big guns though, ‘squabble’ wouldn’t quite be the term to describe erupting legal issues.

3dp_memjetlawsuit_printhead

Memjet’s page-wide waterfall printhead

While a recent suit we’ve been following over printing patents between Memjet and HP may not pan out in the long run, it’s certainly been a mammoth 3D printing buzzkill. As HP dipped their toes further into now highly competitive waters of 3D printing, murmurs were already circulating that as similar as their PageWide technology seemed to Memjet’s waterfall technology–well, maybe they actually had copied it.

As HP incorporated it not only across the board into their 2D lineup, the controversial PageWide technology also went directly into their new full-color Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer. A lawsuit over patents was inevitable, and was brought forth on August 11, 2015. In the suit, Memjet accused HP of stealing eight individual Memjet patents related to their page-wide waterfall printing innovations.

Catching the attention of many, experts and analysts wagered that this might be a groundbreaking case in 3D printing, opening the floodgates to patent battling and expensive nitpicking settled in and out of courtrooms. While this suit probably won’t affect us little people much as we go about our creative business–it actually doesn’t look like it will affect HP much either–from the 3D realm.

hp printer

HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer

The shocking truth is, while there may be some allusions to the MJF technology, Memjet may technically only be suing over the 2D oriented patents. This is probably due to little actual documentation out there about MJF, making it hard to examine, but the fact also remains that Memjet’s technology and patents (seven utility patents and one design patent) are listed as being specifically relevant to 2D technology–not 3D printing, whether applicable in some cases or not.

While this has certainly brought attention to the issue and can serve as a warning to all those who might be considering lifting a little waterfall technology for their own 3D printing innovations, what seems to have happened is that the legal language and the original considerations for Memjet’s page-wide waterfall printing innovations all came into creation before 3D printing was really on anybody’s radar. While it remains to be seen how everything shakes out legally for the two companies, it currently looks as if 3D printing will not be a player in this particular patent lawsuit.

[Source: 3D Printing Progress]

Share this Article


Recent News

Equispheres Receives $8 Million from SDTC to Scale Metal 3D Printing Powder Production

3D Printed Diagnostics: Smartphone Attachments & Software for Detecting Parasitic Infections



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing News Briefs: March 23, 2018

We’re starting off with some major medical news in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs – Materialise is the first company in the world to receive FDA clearance for 3D printed...

Get Ready, Makers: OtterBox Has Released CAD Designs for 3D Printable uniVERSE Case System Accessory Mount

The same day I purchased my very first iPhone several years ago, I also bought a light purple OtterBox case for it, having been told by all of my other...

Researchers Use Inkjet 3D Printing to Create Fast, Accurate, Inexpensive Diagnostic Tool

From whirligigs and models to printers and smart bathrooms, 3D printing technology has definitely made an impact on diagnostics. Healthcare workers use diagnostic tools to detect and determine the severity...

3D Printed MRI-Compatible Biopsy Robot Works to Diagnose Breast Cancer

I first truly became aware of 3D technology sometime in 2010 or 2011, when I went to the mall with my co-worker during our lunch break to grab a chili...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Services & Data

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!