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One month after our first patent...


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Posted (edited) · One month after our first patent...

That is approximately when we informed you that Ultimaker filed its first patent. We explained how this was a necessity given the new corporate market we enter, but at the same time we would not have it influence who we are. We will try to bring more openness into the traditionally closed enterprise market, but we can not do this blindfolded and completely vulnerable.

We committed to use our patents defensively only. This means we will not use our patents in a way to lock down innovation, but to protect our product, future and employees from being an easy victim when it comes to strategic lawsuits.

Together we can stand strong.

We are exploring options to join a patent pool. This should add more weight to our commitment and improve our strategy for defensive use. There are a couple of interesting options, however in the specific field of 3D printing these are pretty scarce. It would be more valuable to Ultimaker if the patents we would have access to defensively, would actually apply to our hypothetical aggressor. And unfortunately, the range of options that make sense is pretty limited.

For that reason, another option could also be to start a patent pool ourselves. Other 3D printing parties who care about keeping innovation accessible, but prefer to have some level of protection over their business and future, could join. But since this does not exist yet, this comes with its own set of risks and would take time and efforts to grow a chance of becoming viable.

A second patent was just confirmed.

After the first patent about Active bed leveling, a second patent has surfaced. This patent describes the absence of any temperature measurement device in a new inductive heated print-head. Heating up a hot end through induction is not new and not patented by Ultimaker. But we have discovered that a special formulated nozzle material can determine the nozzle temperature without an additional temperature sensor, in combination with an inductive coil. Curie temperature is used as protection against overheating.

With using different shaped induction coils and different geometry (material and form) nozzle bodies, the desired temperature will be reached within a second or two, will be accurate and won't fluctuate. By using different combinations of nozzle body geometry (material and form) and an inductive coil, the produced heat can be controlled to match any 3D printing material.

For a full description, drawings and claims the patent can be found here.

Learning something new.

When we informed everyone about our first patent, there were some understandable concerns expressed. In most cases, time will be the only one who can tell us how it all played out. But luckily, today, there is also a silver lining noticeable about this strategy. Being that through this patent a part of our developments is being shared with our public which otherwise you would most likely not have known about. It is an interesting peek in our kitchen, you get a glance of what is going on.

A dedicated page where we will specify the published patents, will follow soon. If you want to know more about our first patent and our defensive strategy, it has been discussed in this forum post.

If you have any questions regarding this patent or our strategy in general, feel free to ask!

Edited by Guest
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    Posted · One month after our first patent...
    A second patent was just confirmed.

    Looks like if a new alien species would have landed on earth and the end was near...

    Also, cool for UM. Patent away. The cooperation plan is nice. Future will tell if that improves the use of new patents or stops other from developing...

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    Posted · One month after our first patent...

    I'm just thinking about different scenarios where Ultimaker would have to use this patent. I still don't like patents, but we live surrounded by them, and it's already done, so there isn't much to talk about.

    Only time will say if Ultimaker is Obi Wan or Darth Vader. Right now they're in a JarJar Binks limbo where we don't know what will possibly happen in the future. :D

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    Posted · One month after our first patent...

    I think the Jar Jar Binks comparison is off, but patents are there to protect people in this day when everybody thinks everything should be free, but fail to recognize that it is a business reality. And, yes, businesses can be good about it or bad. And without patents, there are patent trolls who will seek to take advantage because that is really their only business.

    Just like artists getting their work ripped off. Constantly. So, I think the patenting is a good idea and hopefully a patent pool of people will arise.

    So far, I think that I will take a wait and see how the company evolves. But I do think they need to take steps to protect themselves. You will know when the tide turns if it becomes a closed ecosystem like some others I researched and discarded because of the expense and limitations of 'only their filaments' among other things. Closed ecosystems tend to lead to dead-ends because they are not having to be competitive based off an established user base. Autodesk and Adobe would be a good example of lack of innovation compared to the smaller companies. Their user base allows them to not have to 'try' anymore, else they would not have to have subscription models. Shuffling menus around and throwing things on top of 30 year old architecture will fail sooner, rather than later.

    And, if they do turn to a closed ecosystem, then people are free to seek a different platform to operate on.

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    Posted · One month after our first patent...

    The UM2+ was codenamed Jar Jar.

    Mebbe, mebbe not, but the context is different I am sure.

    Mayhaps, one a fun way to poke at and have an internal joke, and the other to malign.

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