The industrial additive manufacturing market has some strong players, some of whom are very proactive with patents. As such, we need to take extra measures to protect our intellectual property (IP) – to ensure we keep on creating the best possible 3D printing products on the market. Here’s some more information about our defensive patents, and what this means to you.
Staying safe and keeping usage fair
We’re passionate about 3D printing technology, and do all we can to promote its development - largely by making our technology available to everyone. However, in order to offer our products to more people worldwide, we need to introduce additional measures to keep our innovations well protected.
Quite simply, that means we’re filing patents on our inventions to prevent other companies from claiming them as their own.
However, this doesn’t mean that open source won’t apply anymore. We won’t be initiating patent lawsuits against anyone who uses our technology in good faith – for example, for personal use, research or small business development.
If you’re an individual user or contributor, you don’t need to worry, as these patents will not affect you. It’s simply our way of protecting ourselves in a highly competitive (and occasionally cut-throat) marketplace. By filing these patents, we’ll not only be helping Ultimaker to thrive, we’ll also be creating a secure environment for our partners, and other related businesses. Our team will be releasing more information about this in the future – watch this space!
What is a defensive patent?
A defensive patent helps protect a company against patent infringement lawsuits. It also lets a company countersue if a competitor sues for infringement, or any other reason for that matter.
Having defensive patents in place is really important for companies like Ultimaker. After all, we’re focused on innovation, and to keep bringing exciting new products to market, we need to protect our IP portfolio. In short, these defensive patents help us keep doing what we do best: developing efficient, effective, useable 3D desktop printers and related products.
What other reasons?
There are other benefits to having defensive patents in place. Being protected means we have complete freedom to support and accelerate the development of the 3D printing ecosystem. We can focus on making new technology available to our users worldwide. It assures the continuity of our business, and lets us collaborate and share inventions with our 3D printing partners.
It also keeps our community engaged and excited. We want to keep innovating, so our users can keep innovating too! That’s what an open source community is all about.
Commitment to open source innovation
We remain 100% committed to our open source ethos. The Ultimaker team will continue to actively support our community, and encourage further innovation in the 3D printing field. We’re also open to co-development, and won’t claim IP rights from other parties. Ultimaker 3 STEP files will be shared on Github, and we’ll continue to use open source licensing.
Once our patents are published, we’ll share the links to the database, which means you can view them whenever you want to. As always, we’re completely transparent about our intentions, and we’d love your support in protecting our IP, and working with us to stay innovative and progressive!