Date: Thu Jan 31 2002 - 17:14:00 EET
The latest edition of the RP Patent Alert Newsletter is now available on our
Seven RP patents were issued during the last five weeks and another
twenty-two RP applications were published during this period. The number of
issued patents for the period is well below recent levels, but may be due in
part to an overall decrease in publication rate from the PTO.
Here are a few highlights of patents and patent applications issued from
12/11/01 to 1/22/02:
* DSM has received a follow-on patent for a stereolithography method that
permits fast recoating of viscous layers. Therics, Inc. has been granted a
patent for a method of powder dispensing for three dimensional printing or
other powder-based technologies. This is the first RP patent granted which
was disclosed in a previously published application.
* 3D Systems' patent describes stereolithography build style improvements
that are said to improve down-facing area aesthetics and vertical
registration, and also provide simpler non-tessellated representation.
* General Electric has received a patent for casting hollow parts from rapid
prototyping-generated patterns. A related application has previously been
disclosed. At the other end of the size spectrum, Micron Technology's patent
addresses the marking of semiconductor chips using stereolithography. The
company is pursuing a substantial intellectual property portfolio in this
area. See below.
* Concurrent Technologies Corp. received a patent for the design of a short
golfing shoe spike which is said to be more gentle on playing surfaces and
evironmentally friendly while still providing good traction. The patent
describes the use of rapid prototyping to create numerous variations of the
basic idea for evaluation.
PATENT APPLICATIONS PUBLISHED
* Micron Technology generated five of the twenty-two applications published
this period covering numerous aspects of the use of rapid prototyping to
produce semiconductor products. In addition to these, the company has
published several related applications previously and received a patent this
period. The applications cover protective structures for bond wires, die to
die interconnection methods, semiconductor marking, protective layers
exposing contact pads, and the generation of conductive elements and
* The University of Connecticut has made a follow-on application describing
its method of nanoscale fabrication. This multi-photon method is said to be
capable of producing objects in the 100 nanometer range.
* Billiet at al of Malaysia describe a method of rapidly producing tooling at
multiple widely-dispersed locations for high volume applications such as
watch casings, cell phone cases and the like. Tolerances permitting, a rapid
prototyping-generated pattern may be used to create ceramic inserts for such
designs which are often changed for style considerations.
* Sato et al of Japan describe the fabrication of EDM electrodes using a
laminated object manufacturing process that provide the ability to work
anisotropically. The structures utilize layers of conductive and
non-conductive materials to achieve the effect.
* Details of materials systems for the three dimensional printing process
that permit faster production and are free from clogging are disclosed in Z
Corp.'s application. Numerous variations and specific formulations and
binder systems are described.
* Several applications address aspects of orthodontia treatments that utilize
rapid prototyping. In addition to applications from Align Technology,
provider of the Invisalign (TM) method, disclosures have also been made this
period by OraMetrix, Inc. and Ormco Corp.
* Developments in scaffolding and matrix materials for tissue engineering
applications are described in several applications from inventor Peter Ma
and also from MIT. The described materials can be shaped using rapid
prototyping-generated molds or forms, and can yield matrices with controlled
porosities or polysaccharide-cell compositions.
* Several business method applications have been made which could have
far-reaching consequences if granted. Therics has applied for a patent for a
system of remotely manufacturing a medical implant or pharmaceutical form.
OraMetrix, Inc. addresses the issue of remote processing and manufacture of
orthodontic devices and generation of treatment plans. Ando et al of Japan
describe a system of ordering a customized medical model over a network.
Jain et al have applied for a patent on generating a three-dimensional
replica of an object at a central fulfillment location from scanned data sent
over a network. These are all applications under US classification 700 which
are often controversial. The most famous patent in this class is
Amazon.com's "One Click Shopping" patent.
These are only the highlights! If you're involved with the development of RP
technology in industry or academia, you should find this an easy and
enjoyable way to keep up to date. Our entire patent database now includes
well over 900 rapid prototyping patents and applications.
>From our home page,
The Worldwide Guide to Rapid Prototyping located at:
click the PATENTS button or use the direct link on that page.
Castle Island Co.
781-646-6280 (voice or fax)
For more information about the rp-ml, see http://rapid.lpt.fi/rp-ml/
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