3D printer, an opportunity?


With the expiration of core patents, 3D printer market activation and expanded distribution are forecast. The 3D printer industry is forecast to see product commercialization and market activation as a result of impending expiration of core patents.


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This is expected to be an opportunity for a paradigm shift based on expansion of the low-end 3D printer market. In particular, as the key selective SLS core patents held by 3D Systems had expired as of February 2014, activation of products using the related technologies and a price drop of products are forecast.

However, even when the core 3D printer patents expire, companies are not free from the risk of litigation. There are still possibilities for them to be involved in patent litigation even with the core patents expired because of related follow-up patents.

The top nine patented technologies by global 3D printer makers

The top nine patented technologies by global 3D printer makers

Therefore, it is risky to enter the 3D printer market only because patents had expired without a systematic understanding of the patent portfolio established by the source patent holder. 

Top 9 technologies picked from the viewpoint of IP are thought to be the core technologies that will change the dynamics of the 3D printer market.

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The top nine core technologies expected to lead the 3D printer market were derived by compositely considering three aspects, patent influence, IP activity and a rapid rise in IP risk. 58.7% of the 471 patents of 3D Systems and 44.2% of the 156 patents of Stratasys were included in the top nine technologies.

In addition, it was found that 3D printer specialists held technologies related to the top nine patents by an average of 60%.

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