Just when you thought the patent system couldn’t get any more stupid it seems it really can.
The highly popular Kickstarter website which allows inventors, entrepreneurs and many other folks seek financial backing for products that are not yet on the market, such as the popular OUYA Android Gaming device, is being sued by a company named 3D systems for allowing Massachusetts-based Formlabs to seek financial backing on a 3D Printer.
At the heart of the allegations is a printing technique called stereolithography.
It involves directing an ultraviolet laser across a liquid synthetic substance to cause a thin layer to solidify.
This is then repeated layer-by-layer, with the shape of the resulting object determined by the pattern drawn by the laser beam.
The technique has been about since the 1980s. However, California-headquartered 3D Systems identified a problem with the process – if a feature was too thin at one point and unsupported, it might not solidify properly or result in the object losing its shape.
Formlabs said its printer’s output (above) was superior to similarly-priced alternatives
The firm came up with a solution that involved adapting the procedure so that each layer did not need to be completed before moving onto the next one
By staggering the point at which each part of a cross-section is solidified, there is greater opportunity to provide structural support for each feature
3D Systems said this resulted in the opportunity to make more accurate, higher-resolution objects.
It was awarded a patent for the method in 1997.
Now what makes this law suit stupid is the fact that the company have decided to sue Kickstarter rather than the company who are reportedly in breech of one of their patents.
What are your thoughts on this? Has the world gone patent mad?