Crowdsource funding giant, Kickstarter, has been pulled into the middle of a patent infringement lawsuit for a project that was funded through its website.
A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers formed Formlabs and successfully funded its Form 1 3D Printer on Kickstarter. The project needed $100,000 to get started but with over 2,000 backers Formlabs successfully raised $2.9 million. The Form 1 3D Printer is a cheaper alternative to traditional 3D printers, with a price tag of just $2,299.
The Form 1 3D Printer uses a printing technique called stereolithography which involves the layering of thin layers of resin to gradually build up a solid 3D object. There's just one problem. The technique was patented by a California-based company called 3D Systems in 1997. 3D Systems is allegeing that FormLabs used the patented printing technique without permission.
Kickstarter has been pulled into the fiasco due to 3D Systems claiming that it caused "irreparable injury and damage" by promoting the Form 1 printer and taking a 5% cut of donations.
This is the first time Kickstarter has been involved with a patent infringement trial and the result could be damaging to its future if found liable for the legal issues of projects funded on its website.