2D printers have become an increasingly important part of manufacturing.
With new designs for clothing and even furniture, they’re quickly becoming the preferred method for mass production, with companies including Amazon, Apple, and BMW announcing their own 3D printers in recent months.
But a recent spate of 3D printer lawsuits has thrown the technology into disarray, as well as some legal battles.
In one, a printer manufacturer, MakerBot, has accused the company of illegally selling its printers, and has been sued by other 3D printers as well.
The makers of 3Dsafe, a startup that uses 3D printed parts to repair the parts of a printer, is also embroiled in this legal kerfuffle, and is fighting a class-action suit filed by other manufacturers who say they’re being discriminated against by MakerBot.
And 3D-printing startup 3Dprinting has come under fire for allegedly not adequately testing its printers and not providing adequate training to workers.
But there are a number of other factors that could contribute to 3D manufacturing’s current troubles, including the increasing use of 3DS printers and the high-profile struggles of its own maker, Makerbot.
Makerbot has faced a number.
First, the company announced that it would be selling off its entire printing line, and it also has faced accusations of plagiarism, over a number the company has denied.
Then there’s the legal battles, which include a class action lawsuit filed by the makers of Replicator 3D Printers, and a class lawsuit filed against 3D3D, a 3D additive manufacturing company.
Both Makerbot and 3D Systems, maker of the MakerBot Replicator line, have been sued for allegedly violating copyright law by making copies of the designs of their printers.
And the lawsuits have also led to the release of new printers from 3D Printables, a maker of 3d printers that also sells printers from MakerBot and 3DPrintables.
All three companies have denied any wrongdoing, and the companies’ lawyers are trying to convince the courts to throw out all of the lawsuits.
“The lawsuits were filed in the same federal district, and we are pursuing all of them,” said Matt Brown, a lawyer for Makerbot, in an email.
“We are confident that all of these actions will be dismissed on the basis that we are innocent until proven guilty.
MakerBot has never infringed on any other maker’s rights.”
In a blog post, 3D Printer Association president Rob Enderle said that Makerbot’s actions “are inconsistent with the Makerbot brand, and Makerbot is the only maker of printers in this industry that has not sued 3D Printing,” according to Ars Technica.
Enderle went on to say that MakerBot “is doing all it can to defend itself.”
But Makerbot did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.
3DPrinter Association CEO Matt Brown responded by email to Ars: “I can’t say anything at this time.
All I can say is that we will defend ourselves vigorously.”