I attended today the USPTO partnership meeting on “additive manufacturing” (aka 3D Printing). The content was excellent, covering both talks and demonstrations. Companies presenting included 3D Systems, Stratasys, Shapeways, MakerBot, Ex One, and EOS. Several hundred persons attended, including in person and via the web, and the room energy was excellent throughout the three hours plus of content. The 3D printing revolution appears to be on after some 25 years of gestation.
MakerBot is featured in this article. Ex One is featured here.
The USPTO should be congratulated for putting together this informative, exciting event. The USPTO did not give too much overview of how patenting impacts this, but patenting was frequently noted by the speakers, and the PTO did note that there have been around 6,800 patent applications filed in this area over the past ten years. I was particularly struck by the concept that 3D printing can in some cases make objects which cannot be made by other ways. I would also like to hear more about nanoscale aspects of this including materials, interfaces, and nanoscale resolution. One of the driving forces for nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing is additive manufacturing. This recently published U.S. patent application from Lockheed Martin (2013/0018243) shows use of carbon nanotubes and uses the phrase “bio-additive manufacturing.” We will continue to monitor patent filings in this important area as 2013 progresses.
In 3D printing, an object is built up layer-by-layer under computer controlled manufacturing. The talks today covered the historical development including the original stereolithography, laser sintering, binder-on-powder printing, and inkjet 3D printing. Today, some of the companies are trying to “democratize” the technology and introduce this wonder to the general public. With 3D printing, everyone can become a creator. Recently media reports on 3D printing have been abundant. Hopefully, venture capital will be interested. Stay tuned!
Join the nanotechnology community beginning Sunday, September 25, 2011 for three days of dynamic discussion among leaders from emerging areas of nanomanufacturing and commercialization of nanotechnology-enabled products. Foley is proudly sponsoring the panel, “A New Patent Era! Reform and Recent Court Decisions Impacting IP Strategy and Valuation” which will includes the following guest speakers:
- Henning Richter of Nano-C
- Joe Piche of Eikos
- Julie Heinrich of Plextronics
- Nina Pearlmutter of Qteros
The Summit is co-organized by the National Nanomanufacturing Network (NNN) and the NanoBusiness and Commercialization Association (NanoBCA) (formerly the NanoBusiness Alliance).
Click here for additional details on the Nanomanufacturing Summit 2011 & 10th Annual NanoBusiness Conference.
For additional information on patent reform, please visit www.foley.com/patentreform.
Hope to see you there!
Later this week, I will attend the 5th Annual Solvay – COPE Symposium on Organic Electronics in Atlanta.
The forum is a great opportunity for large companies, small companies, and universities to converge. In addition, it is an excellent example of bringing leading research together from Europe, Japan, China, and the United States. As noted in previous blog discussions, OLED lighting and organic solar cells are cutting edge technologies for cleantech and nanotech. The forum agenda includes highlights such as:
- Electroluminescent Metal Complexes and Their Assemblies
- Influence of Film Microstructure Upon Charge Photogeneration and Recombination in Organic Solar Cells
- Understanding and Controlling Solar Energy Conversion: The Relationship Between Nanostructure and Efficiency
- Printed OPV for Affordable and Clean Power
- Solvay Developments in Organic Electronics
The NNI Web site has now posted the slides from the NNI at Ten event held in Washington DC, December 8-10. Hopefully, the impact of this excellent event will be directly seen in 2011. It would be good, for example, if the federal government continues to leverage the event throughout the year to push nanotechnology commercialization progress, including applications in cleantech, nano biotechnology, electronics, among others. The fruits of the spending on nanotechnology research – the investment value – should be brought to the public’s attention. Supplementing this, the quiet, implicit developments in nanotech will continue over the next decade.