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The Battle has Begun

March 3, 2003

Filed under: additive manufacturing,legal — Terry Wohlers @ 12:11

3D Systems announced today that it has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court against German company EOS GmbH. Its purpose, according to the announcement, is to stop the sale of laser sintering machines from EOS inside the U.S. EOS recently sold two of its machines to companies in the U.S. Friction between the two companies has been at a boiling point for years. 

In the announcement, 3D Systems said that the EOS machines are based on inventions developed, patented, and exclusively licensed by the University of Texas at Austin to 3D Systems. Meanwhile, EOS believes that it has the right to sell its machines in the U.S. because of an agreement with 3D Systems in 1997. That year, 3D acquired the EOS stereolithography business, paid the company $3.25 million, and granted EOS exclusive licenses to 3D’s patents relating to laser sintering.

As with most disputes, both parties believe they are right. It’s likely that a large amount of company time and money will be spent on the litigation—resources that would otherwise be focused on product and market development. Neither company has extra cash or employee time to burn, so in the end, it will be the customers that lose.