Crozet VA: SmarTech Publishing, a leading industry analyst firm covering the 3D printing market, has just issued a new study of patents in the metal 3D printing business. The report titled, 3D Printed Metals: A Patent Landscape Analysis– 2018 includes both a qualitative analysis of the metals patent space as well as a comprehensive database of almost 2,300 patents that will enable clients to perform their own independent assessments.
Details of both the report and database are available at: https://www.smartechanalysis.com/reports/3d-printed-metals-patent-analysis-report/
About the Report:
Metals-based 3D printing is one of the fastest growing sectors of the 3D printing industry. SmarTech has already published widely on the growing market opportunities available in this space. Building on our extensive knowledge and understanding of this area, we are now offering an updated and revamped report on the patent landscape for 3D-printed metals. This report will be the first of a series of reports on the 3D printing patent landscape.
This 2018 metals patent report is based on an extensive search of relevant U.S. and foreign patents issued over a 20-year rolling period and patent applications published through June 2018 related to metals used for 3D printing and processes for making such metals. This report – which is the only one of its kind — has two components: (1) a 3D printing metals patent database and (2) a visually illustrative presentation of the data in charts and graphs, accompanied by granular analysis and guidance by SmarTech’s in-house IP analyst.
Topics covered by the analysis in the report include top assignees, top inventors, top filing countries, which companies are using which metals for which 3D printing processes, patent coverage of specific 3D printing metals, patent survival rates, and expiring patents. The database contains almost 2,300 entries.
From the Report:
GE and HC Starck have the broadest 3D printed metals patent coverage. Although GE and Starck own the same number of 3D printing metals patents, GE appears to be focused more on nickel and titanium and Starck appears to be focused more on tantalum and niobium. Hitachi has the third broadest coverage with Cabot in fourth and Hamilton Sundstrand at fifth place. EOS and GE have taken strong patent positions which will provide them with advantages over other metal machine companies such as 3D Systems which has lower patent coverage than SmarTech would have expected.
Metals for Powder Bed Fusion appear to have the widest coverage in the 3D metals patent database. EOS has the broadest coverage for such metals, with patents for aluminum, steel, tungsten, and noble metals. Hamilton Sundstrand has the second broadest coverage, with patents for aluminum, ferrous steel, and nickel.
There are many patents for the various types of metal powders (about 70% of the references) for use in Powder Bed Fusion and Binder Jetting applications. However, there appear to be fewer patents for metals for Material Extrusion (e.g., metal-filled rods and filaments), Material Jetting (e.g., liquified metal particles), and Directed Energy Deposition (e.g., wire and aerosolized powders). SmarTech sees this as a technology gap that firms could look to exploit.
While patent litigation is fairly minimal at this point in time, SmarTech sees that situation changing as the metal 3D printing market continues to grow. The firm expects to see greater activity in firms looking to protect market position or invalidate existing patents. Expect more efforts to drive licensing relationships as well.
Universities and research institutions are important owners of 3D printing metals patents and applications. While they do not manufacture and sell such metals, their patents and applications are sought for licensing for companies looking to secure strong market positions and can produce large annual revenues for the companies.