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Ultimaker files its first patent

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Posted (edited) · Ultimaker files its first patent

It was becoming too long to post here so I wrote in length on my blog: http://www.tridimake.com/2017/03/ultimaker-patents-and-PR-bullshit.html

 

You, sir, are a coward.

You rant and rave here, link us to your additional ranting and raving blog...and delete Nallath's well-crafted reply/comment on it.

You like to make a lot of noise but can't stomach a response.  Grow up.

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

@jeremie i read your entire blog post (man you like to write!).

Of course i get your point of view, i understand why you feel like you feel... maybe i'm stupid or to optimistic but when Ultimaker says, we will stay opensource, we will not use the patents to sue or in an offensive way, i believe them.

Along the years i've know Ultimaker we have built are strong relationship (i'm talking about the community here), sometimes we argued, sometimes we were disappointed, sometimes we were enthusiast, overwelmed... but at the end we knew that the community is always part of the process.

OpenSource and the community is one the pillars that make Ultimaker a great company and they know it believe me. They also know that if you take a pillar away the whole structure falls down.

I trust that Ultimaker is making hard decisions for the good of everyone, the future will tell if i was right or not :)

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

As much as I dislike the concept of patents and intellectual property, I understand Ultimaker's reasoning here.

I for one am not going to rush in and judge Ultimaker for what they might do with a patent.

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

As much as I dislike the concept of patents and intellectual property, I understand Ultimaker's reasoning here.

I for one am not going to rush in and judge Ultimaker for what they might do with a patent.

 

I agree.

On the other hand it would reassure a lot of people more if Ultimaker would be able to organize a patent sharing pact with the other good guys in the industry ....

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

 

As much as I dislike the concept of patents and intellectual property, I understand Ultimaker's reasoning here.

I for one am not going to rush in and judge Ultimaker for what they might do with a patent.

 

I agree.

On the other hand it would reassure a lot of people more if Ultimaker would be able to organize a patent sharing pact with the other good guys in the industry ....

 

IIRC there are a few others 3D printing companies with us who have joined the OIN. Aleph Objects, UltiMachine, Type A (?).

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

I still trust Ultimaker, but makers certainly think this situation means Ultimaker is turning their back on them.

If I were them, I would suggest two things:

 

  1. As some have mentioned, create a patent sharing organization. This should have been done at the same time patents were filed, but better than never.
  2. An Ultimaker Original 2. Go back to the origins, something for the makers. Something MADE BY ULTIMAKER (not just a bunch of modifications by community members).

 

Ultimaker has focused on other markets, I know, but reputation is really important, and the product quality is small compared to customer service and how close you are to customers (makers in this case).

Now that I'm thinking about a possible patent organization, I don't know how many companies are in the same situation as Ultimaker. I can only think about CEL Robox and their needle valve design (I think it's patented), but I don't know if they would be interested in joining this 3D Avengers.

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

I still trust Ultimaker, but makers certainly think this situation means Ultimaker is turning their back on them.

 

Me too - I can't see what gives anyone valid reason to lose trust at this point? I think that train of thought is unfair. Let's stay calm and give Ultimaker the benefit of the doubt here; if they enforce said patent in an unfair way, then by all means, complain away.

Right now I'm seeing a guy walking out of a gun shop with his new hunting rifle, and people accusing him of making plans to blow away an entire kindergarten somewhere.

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

You rant and rave here, link us to your additional ranting and raving blog...and delete Nallath's well-crafted reply/comment on it. You like to make a lot of noise but can't stomach a response.  Grow up.

 

Huh. Sorry but I certainly did remove no comment, I have never done so (but for occasional spam: neither Nallath nor Jaimie were ever spammers). For a few hours, the G+ comments were "disconnected" from blogger (and I consequently added a link to them, until they returned -- don't ask why..). Check e.g. Jaimie's useful answer, it is still there.

But we would better grow up altogether and avoid personal attacks, right? ;)

I mostly say that "trust" or "faith" have no legal binding... contrary to patents which are basically weapons, and dubious at the ethics. And I wrote it: I trust Ultimaker and its founders right now. But I do not trust the risky game they play, that is it. I also understand why they play it. And I bet there are people at Ultimaker who disagree... and a real lot of people that prefer to keep their mouth shut, because of a weird "taboo" around all this.

If you do not like my blog, write your own, or check, e.g. Rich's own opinion (

). I think HE is way more a pillar in the community than the vast majority of us here and he very well knows about open source and open innovation.

Also, once again I like Ultimaker. I like what they did and I really like they grew to a big company. But my opinion is that there are so many wrong ways to patent and use patents that this is a slippery slope.

And PLEASE correct me where I am wrong or "naive", am I willing to fix my own mistakes. But I have my own cold mind & analysis. We talk of facts, not smoke :/

Again if ever any of Nallath comments was removed from my blog, DO please send it to me again (if still somewhere). My post, or rant as you call it, is only a reminder and an opinion. I took time to think and to write about it (sorry then if I do long posts), and you should not read my post as insulting to anyone.

BTW: I quite often write official R&D documents for startups, regarding their own IP, or for helping them raise funds and grants. Yes, this is part of my job. I may be idealistic, but I am not naive... Dare I say it? ... contrary to people who revert to terms like "believe" or "past attitude" imho. We are talking of business practices and economy, not faith. And who knows what's next?

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

And to answer to nallath answer here:

 

 

When a company files patents, it is trying to protect its own intellectual property and its own economic viability. It is certainly not doing so to protect the community nor the makers at all. Tell the truth, please. I can understand a lot, but I do not understand PR bullshit :/

 

And please do tell, how would the +-7 full time engineers on Cura be paid if there is no business? I sure as hell won't spend 40 hours a week developing open source software (as much as I would love to, but i also have a morgage to pay).

 

Sorry to be blunt but your reply is a raw fallacy: you want me to sound like I do not want Ultimaker to do business (and in turn, you sound like patents are the only way to pay people!?). But Ultimaker did and does a great job at finding money to pay its employees and even hire more! Personal mortgages are quite irrelevant to justify patents :D

 

Ultimaker has a symbiotic relationship with the community.  We need each other.

 

And it is all due to its attitude. Well deserved, but risky when it starts filing patents, that's mostly all I wanted to say.

 

 

BTW there is simply no such thing as a "defensive patent". It does not protect at all against "non-practicing entitites" since they produce nothing.

 

So you're telling me that because it does not provide a 100% protection, it provides no protection? Thats a bit of a strange claim to make. If you look at companies that hold the most 3D printing patents, you will find that those are practicing entities.

You are right that having a patent does not protect against patent trolls. But right now at least Ultimaker (and by extension, the things we do for / with you) is more protected than before.

 

You are right on this point, I was over-simplistic (it was not written as such in my blog, btw). To be more precise, some or many patent wars are ignited by patent trolls (since this is their very business). Against them, there is just no chance to defend with another patent since they cannot infringe it (they produce nothing). This is the worst counter-example, I admit it. But super large old companies like Stratasys or 3D systems are themselves close to be patent trolls on some aspect of their business (see the Afina lawsuit at the time, eg.), so I am quite skeptical it would really give some ground against them (since they mostly have all the other patents anyway!).

 

 

Le me state I like that UM became a prosperous company in the end, espcially compared to Makerbot. But this move is more than slippery, given how it is justified in my opinion :/

 

You are aware that we've been "slapping" people around with intelectual property for some time right? The only reason why we can enforce people to be AGPL, is because we have IP on the code. Now we have IP on a technological feature and have stated that as long as you use it open source we will not sue you. Could you explain to me why you feel that this is different?

I'd like to invite you to read my posts about this subject again. I've been involved with this process a long time and fully side with the decision to apply patents (even though I believe that patents are evil!). Your blog post is simplification of how patents work and are used.

 

I am not sure I get the argument here.

BTW, makers are completely out of scope since they mostly have no care/use/threat from patents at all (so saying you would not sue them or me is misleading: you most probably cannot!). What is problematic is if I want to start selling printers with innovative designs, I will have to check Ultimaker's own patents just like those of 3D systems from now on, this doe not sound pretty to me. The original patents really were the cause of such huge delay!

If someone like Prusa Research re-use and/or improves your patent, will he be safe? And Zortax, and 3D systems (this is not my arguments, I read it somewhere)...

May be I would better stop spending time on this. I just wanted to add a voice that says this may not be as obviously good for everyone as it is officially told. I would have preferred "let us try to patent some stuff, and we try to stay friendly and open: here is a trust we give the patent to, which legal binding is that anyone can apply, but it has to offer its own set of patents". This would be so much nicer imho. I remember people talking a lot about it when makerbot started to patent stuff years ago.

Sure, it costs money, but the members would also benefit from a much better protection umbrella, by sharing their patents.

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

 

You rant and rave here, link us to your additional ranting and raving blog...and delete Nallath's well-crafted reply/comment on it. You like to make a lot of noise but can't stomach a response.  Grow up.

 

Huh. Sorry but I certainly did remove no comment, I have never done so (but for occasional spam: neither Nallath nor Jaimie were ever spammers). For a few hours, the G+ comments were "disconnected" from blogger (and I consequently added a link to them, until they returned -- don't ask why..). Check e.g. Jaimie's useful answer, it is still there.

 

Ok, I guess I know what happened. I noticed people referring to the comment. Checked for myself, and it wasn't there. Therefore my conclusion was that it was removed.

However: As we know some wrong code took Amazon S3 servers down. The replies are apparently hosted there :p Causing it to show 0 replies.

Mystery solved :D Incredible how such a small error in a command can wreck havoc over the entire internet!

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

And to answer to nallath answer here:

 

And please do tell, how would the +-7 full time engineers on Cura be paid if there is no business? I sure as hell won't spend 40 hours a week developing open source software (as much as I would love to, but i also have a morgage to pay).

 

Sorry to be blunt but your reply is a raw fallacy: you want me to sound like I do not want Ultimaker to do business (and in turn, you sound like patents are the only way to pay people!?). But Ultimaker did and does a great job at finding money to pay its employees and even hire more! Personal mortgages are quite irrelevant to justify patents :D

- you are right, we have done a good job and things have gone well. Through a lot of effort, blood, sweat and tears of everyone involved. But we have no intention to halt or stop, we see room to grow more. We also don't think that this necessarily comes at the cost of our community, but we would be naive to think it would not require an addition to how we operate now. This room lies among others in different territories where we have to prepare ourselves for.

 

Ultimaker has a symbiotic relationship with the community.  We need each other.

 

 

And it is all due to its attitude. Well deserved, but risky when it starts filing patents, that's mostly all I wanted to say.

 

Thanks. A healthy dosis of sceptism is fine and ok. Our attitude defines who we are and sets the direction for the future.

 

BTW, makers are completely out of scope since they mostly have no care/use/threat from patents at all (so saying you would not sue them or me is misleading: you most probably cannot!). What is problematic is if I want to start selling printers with innovative designs, I will have to check Ultimaker's own patents just like those of 3D systems from now on, this doe not sound pretty to me. The original patents really were the cause of such huge delay!

I believe it depends a bit on the exact law in the area, but generally I believe makers are indeed out of scope. Does not mean everyone knows this or does not mean people might feel worried. Adding this hopefully takes some of that worry away.

 

If someone like Prusa Research re-use and/or improves your patent, will he be safe? And Zortax, and 3D systems (this is not my arguments, I read it somewhere)...

 

That is where our reference to a defensive patent comes into play. We are not after sueing anyone. It is meant as a mean of defense, having the option to strike back when forced to. We prefer far more they were left untouched and everyone can continue to contribute and push on the boundaries of 3D printing.

 

May be I would better stop spending time on this. I just wanted to add a voice that says this may not be as obviously good for everyone as it is officially told.

 

It is totally fine, we are open to have an open and reasonable conversation about it. From a personal perspective, I would appreciate it if we would not be condemned before a crime is committed. Therefore I think a healthy level of skepticism is totally fine, and let time tell the rest. As you previously stated, we have a loyal user base due to our attitude. Let that be a sign of the future. But in general I feel like most people understand this and we are on the same page.

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

- you are right, we have done a good job and things have gone well. Through a lot of effort, blood, sweat and tears of everyone involved. But we have no intention to halt or stop, we see room to grow more. We also don't think that this necessarily comes at the cost of our community, but we would be naive to think it would not require an addition to how we operate now. This room lies among others in different territories where we have to prepare ourselves for.

 

Thanks Sander, I would have better heard it this way in the first place. I am not condemning Ultimaker and I did not, but I felt it was incorrectly justified: the "press release" was probably specifically thought for and aimed at your community since professional/business customers have less issues with patents.

Of course it does mean you care about the community (you would be foolish not to!). But then, talking to the community could have been more direct instead of this corporate bs where the company strategical choice is presented as fundamentally positive for everyone. Every move is a trade-off, and may be more as a company.

It is both Ultimaker's own right and choice to do so, but it has to assume its business/strategical choice. E.g. it was, may be, the "best choice" you could come with with the perspecting of growing bigger and targeting the prosumer/professional market. The trade off is that the company will be less friendly to hackers, one way or another. Talking about "IP" is already significant.

Note that I am NOT an Open-Source zealot, and that I regularly help clients apply for patents... Sure, I dislike them (as probably all of us here), and I often recommend against them, but I agree there are some cases where they make sense. E.g. some start-ups would not even get funding without a patent.

Still, I would have better hear it the way you present it here, say, at least with one "but" in the sentence ;) Thanks again.

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

i don't really see the big problem here.. I have never hidden behind nicknames and people will find it easy to discover I work for a company that loves patents..

for us, while we embrace open source (largest contributor to open source) we feel that if you have smart people working for you, their efforts should be protected against abuse and people should get the recognition.

filing a patent is a great way of doing that.

Ultimaker is doing the exact same thing. they did something smart and they filed a patent. good for them.

in the end, this simply means that as soon as someone infringes on that patent, and infringement does mean nefarious intentions, Ultimaker has the option to take action against that. If someone were to take action against Ultimaker for certain technologies, Ultimaker has also protected and secured the work that their fabulous R&D department does.

note that "Enforcement of patents is solely at the patent holder's discretion.". straight quote. I've been given an opportunity to see a lot of the weird stuff that other people have done with Ultimaker's stuff and they have let so much slide where they could have taken action..

I applaud the patenting. good job, great to get recognition for a job well done. Continue being the company that is proud of their products and stands behind their community.

as long as Ultimaker works with a mentality of "don't be a dick" all will be well and the patents will simply help both Ultimaker as well as the community along the way.

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

Sorry to be blunt but your reply is a raw fallacy: you want me to sound like I do not want Ultimaker to do business (and in turn, you sound like patents are the only way to pay people!?). But Ultimaker did and does a great job at finding money to pay its employees and even hire more! Personal mortgages are quite irrelevant to justify patents :D

 

No, it's an argument why having a patent would protect the comunity. You already stated a few time that it does provide some protection. I merely tried to link the protection that it provides ultimaker to the protection is provides to the comunity (eg; It protects Ultimaker, therefore protects me, therefore protects the time I can work on Cura). If it is a fallacy, I'm not sure which one.

 

But super large old companies like Stratasys or 3D systems are themselves close to be patent trolls on some aspect of their business (see the Afina lawsuit  at the time, eg.), so I am quite skeptical it would really give some ground against them (since they mostly have all the other patents anyway!).

 

It would give some ground against them. Without patents UM has nothing. So if a few patents can ensure that a deal is 25% more favorable, it's worth considering. As I said before; protection is not a binary thing. Partial protection is also a thing worth investing in.

 

I am not sure I get the argument here.

 

My argument here is that Ultimaker has been using intelectual property to enforce behavior for quite some time. How come if it's not a patent, we are aplauded by everyone, but once it's a patent it's worse? All i'm saying is that nothing changed, but now it's seen as a problem.

 

What is problematic is if I want to start selling printers with innovative designs, I will have to check Ultimaker's own patents just like those of 3D systems from now on, this doe not sound pretty to me. The original patents really were the cause of such huge delay!

 

Yep. I don't like it either. I honestly don't see another option here. You're right when it comes to startups, who can fly under the radar. We don't have that luxury.

 

If someone like Prusa Research re-use and/or improves your patent, will he be safe? And Zortax, and 3D systems (this is not my arguments, I read it somewhere)...

 

That is the nature of a defensive patent is it not?

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

You just gave up on the fastest way to innovate. Big mistake. You can not "remain 100% committed to our open source ethos." and file patents. Follow the money - all of the money you just wasted on lawyers filing patents could have gone to engineers to develop better printers. You could have obtained priority on the invention by simply posting it on a public blog or the peer reviewed literature. This is just sad. We know exactly what happens to companies that do this - take a close look at how things are going for Makerbot.

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Posted (edited) · Ultimaker files its first patent

Hi @Pearce, welcome to the forums and thank you for your contribution! I'm sorry to hear you consider it a big mistake, we are aware of the load this subject carries.

Money could indeed be spent on hiring more engineers, however, spending it this way by building a portfolio that complements our defensive strategy, hopefully, we can ensure we even have a future. The Ultimaker 3 enters a market where lawsuits become a way of doing business. And we can not afford to go in unprepared and vulnerable.

The amount of money invested in this strategy is only a fragment of what a lawsuit would cost to prove we invented something first over a large enterprise or be dragged to court when we have no defensive strategy at all. Worst case scenario we would not be able to innovate or hire any engineers at all anymore..

As stated in our post, it is not meant to slow down innovation and as tradition we will continue to share our Ultimaker 3 files over Github, for our users to use.

Outside of this point, we have a full set of talented and dedicated engineers of who I am sure will bring you some amazing innovations.

If you have any further questions I'm looking forward hearing from you!

Edited by Guest

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

You just gave up on the fastest way to innovate. Big mistake.  You can not "remain 100% committed to our open source ethos." and file patents. Follow the money - all of the money you just wasted on lawyers filing patents could have gone to engineers to develop better printers. You could have obtained priority on the invention by simply posting it on a public blog or the peer reviewed literature. This is just sad. We know exactly what happens to companies that do this - take a close look at how things are going for Makerbot.

 

I've said this a few times already, but there is no harm in doing it again. Prior art protects you from losing the lawsuit. Having a patent will make it far less likely that a patent lawsuit happens in the first place, as you have the ability to negotiate with others (under threat of counter suing).

Counter sueing does indeed not protect against non practicing entities (aka Patent Trolls), but it does protect against companies such as 3D systems and Stratasys, who are known for agressively sueing others when it comes to patent infringement. Take a look at form one for example. If i recall correctly they were forced to pay 8%(!!!) of their earnings. That is also money that isn't going anywhere near development.

So does it suck that we need to get Patents? Hell yes. All of us would much rather have had a world where this was not required.

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Posted (edited) · Ultimaker files its first patent

As with Trump before the election, I think I will shut up from now. Things are done and assumed (including on my side). My intent was only to bring under the sun what I really consider a problem. I do not care much if I received mixed answers (including insults!), even though I really only wanted to be constructive.

I am unsure if/how it will evolve for now, but at least I feel less lonely when people like Rich, @Pearce, @ultiarjan or even Olson says the move is not as obviously positive for the Open-Source, as stated officially... or that there is at least bullshit in the press release.

Sorry @nallath, you are free to feel and defend the official, published point of view, but today is not yet the day when I consider patents "good for the community" ;)

Cheers all

Edited by SandervG
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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

unfortunately it happens a lot that people assume being critical is being negative, don't let that hold you back....

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

Hi @Jeremie, thank you for your feedback.

Of course everyone is entitled to form its own opinion, and hopefully you feel no reluctance to share yours with us in the future too. For now, if everything has been said that needed to be said, it is also fine. Both points of views seem pretty clear. The most important factor; time, will tell how this plays out. We have no bad intentions or motives to share less, and time will prove us right or wrong.

We have always been an open platform where everything can be discussed.

It makes sense that if people care about something, emotions can take the upper hand. In that regard, I think we are nothing different.

Have a great day, and looking forward hearing from you again in the future!

FYI, the link in your post didn't work, so I changed it to (I think) the page you wanted to share.

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Posted (edited) · Ultimaker files its first patent

We have always been an open platform where everything can be discussed.

It makes sense that if people care about something, emotions can take the upper hand. In that regard, I think we are nothing different.

 

Discussion is good, and emotional outbursts are bound to show up from time to time whenever there are passionate people involved. I don't consider that a problem; people are pretty well behaved in here as well.

But I still think wisdom would be to hold the doomsday predictions until empirical data exists to back them up. :)

Edited by Guest
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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

But I still think wisdom would be to hold the doomsday predictions until empirical data exists to back them up. :)

 

I can appreciate your choice of words, sir.
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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

Somehow, I knew he'd find a way to blame Trump for this :)

(Sorry...this humorous pause brought to you by me)

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Posted · Ultimaker files its first patent

Somehow, I knew he'd find a way to blame Trump for this   :)

(Sorry...this humorous pause brought to you by me)

 

Ah, I wouldn't worry about Trump, he knows what to do. Give it a few days and he'll be on twitter claiming it was Obama who caused Ultimaker to file a patent. ;)

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