3d Printed Polymers: A Patent Landscape Analysis – 2016

Report # SMP-PATENT-3DPP-0816
Published August 14, 2016

Polymer-based 3D printing has been mainstay of 3D printing/additive manufacturing since its inception.  It still represents the overwhelming majority of activity for low-cost 3D printers and continues to grow rapidly.  In addition, 3D printing has expanded to cover an extraordinarily wide variety of polymers.

SmarTech Publishing has already published widely on the growing market opportunities available in 3D printing with polymers.  We have, for example, published the standard market analysis and forecasting report on polymer-based 3DP/AM, which is widely read by leading materials suppliers and printer makers throughout the industry.

Building on this extensive knowledge and understanding of this area we are now offering a report on the patent landscape presented by 3D-printed polymers.  SmarTech Publishing believes that this is a unique report and will be essential reading by firms in the 3DP/AM sector as well as venture capitalists and other active investors in this space.  This report provides guidance on the current sources of IP in the 3D-printed polymers space, where patents are barriers to entry and where there are patent gaps.

This report has two components (1) An extensive patent database covering all aspects of additive manufacturing with polymers and (2) A 50-page granular analysis, commentary and guidance on the 3D printed patent environment by SmarTech Publishing’s in-house IP attorney.

This report is targeted at IP professionals at firms supplying polymers to the 3DP industry as well as those at 3D printing equipment and service companies.  It is also aimed at patent attorneys, engineers, investment banks and others who need a comprehensive overview of 3D-printed polymer activities.

SmarTech Publishing believes that understanding the patent landscape will build competitive advantage for purchasers of this report, and may enable firms to, for example, secure IP in the 3D-printed polymers space that are less populated, and also avoid patent disputes in the future.

Coverage
This report is based on an extensive search of relevant patents and patent applications published after December 1, 1995 from the US and WO patent databases to identify a broad, yet relevant patent landscape related to polymer materials used for 3D printing.  The report presents the quantitative patent landscape, which is essential to identifying the players, technologies, patent filing velocity, geographic distribution, and technology classifications in in the 3DP polymers area.

This report – which is the only one of its kind — covers both process and materials patents and answers such vital questions as:

  • What patents have been granted and what patent applications have been filed?
  • What are the top cited patents?
  • How many patents are being filed each year?
  • Who are the most significant inventors, researchers and companies active in the field
  • Which companies are making the earliest patent grants?
  • What patent families are already claimed and where are the gaps in the IP landscape where new IP rights may be available?
  • What is the geographic distribution and technological class distribution of these patents?

3DP Patent Database
The extensive patent database of 3D-printed polymers included with this report is based on searches across patents and published patent applications from US and WO patent databases published after December 1, 1995. It provides a summary of all relevant patents with details of each patent including:

  • Patent/publication number
  • Assignee
  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Publication date
  • Status of patent
  • PTO
  • Priority country
  • Priority years
  • Inventor

Also included will be technical categorization of filed patent applications and granted patents and an identification of patent /patent application families.  This database is provided in an Excel spreadsheet so that the purchasers of this report can perform his or her own analytics with the data.

Commentary and Guidance
This section of the report – a 50-page report — contains SmarTech Publishing’s insider perspective on the patent scene for 3D-printed polymers and where it is headed.  Coverage includes:

  • The main filing trends for patents in the 3D-printed polymer sector.
  • Our thoughts on where patent filings are moving
  • The key areas of opportunity for new patent applications in this space
  • Areas of patent saturation
  • Areas that are key for licensing.
  • Patent-related implications for new and emerging directions in the 3D-printed polymer space

Chapter One: Overview and Research Findings Summary 
1.1 Factors Influencing the Speed of Development of Polymer-Based Additive Manufacturing
1.2 Patent Search Methodology
1.2.1 Categorization and Terminology
1.2.2 Key Assignees
1.3 Description of Polymer Powder-based 3D Printing Systems
1.3.1 Stratasys Inc.
1.3.2 3D Systems Inc.
1.3.3 3M Innovative Properties Company
1.3.4 Hewlett Packard
1.3.5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1.3.6 DSM IP Assets B.V.
1.3.7 University of Texas
1.3.8 Evonik Degussa GMBH
1.3.9 Arkema Inc.
1.3.10 Boeing Co.
Chapter Two: Active Universities
2.1 Top Universities and Research Institutions
Chapter Three: Key Inventors
3.1 Top Inventors
Chapter Four: Patent Trends 
4.1 Inferences: Patent Application Filing Trends by Filing Date
4.2 Inferences:  Patent Application Filing Trends by Publication Date
Chapter Five: Key Patents Based on Number of Forward Citations
5.1 Most Frequently Cited References According to the Number of Forward Citations
Chapter Six: Technology Analysis by Technology Classifications 
6.1 U.S. Classifications
6.1.1 Top U.S. Classification
6.1.2 Top U.S. Sub Classifications
6.2 Top IPC Classifications
6.2.1 Top IPC Classifications
6.2.2 Top IPC Sub Classifications
6.3 Technology Evolution
6.3.1 Inferences
6.3.2 Inferences
6.3.3 Inferences
Chapter Seven: Geographical Distribution

Chapter Eight: Granular Analysis
8.1 Inferences Related to Polymer Powder Citations
8.2 Inferences Related to Fabrication Method Citations
Chapter Nine: White Space Analysis
Chapter Ten: Commentary and Guidance
10.1 Areas of Patent Saturation
10.2 Areas with Opportunities for Patent Growth
10.3 Key Areas for Patent Licensing
Appendix A: Databases Used
Patent search
About SmarTech Publishing
About the Analyst
Acronyms and Abbreviations Used In this Report

List of Exhibits
Exhibit 1-1: Key Polymer AM Influencing Factors and their Outcomes
Exhibit 1-2: Key Assignees
Exhibit 2-1: Active Universities and Research Institutions
Exhibit 3-1: Top Ten Inventors in Subject Field
Exhibit 4-1: Patent Filing Trend by Filing Date
Exhibit 4-2: Patent Filing Trend by Publication Date
Exhibit 5-1: Key Patent References by Forward Citation
Exhibit 6-1: USC Distribution by Main U.S. Technology Classifications
Exhibit 6-2: USC Distribution by U.S. Technology Sub Classifications
Exhibit 6-3: IPC Distribution by Main IPC Technology Classifications
Exhibit 6-4: IPC Sub Classifications Related to Subject Field
Exhibit 6-5: Evolution of Technology, by Patent Assignee
Exhibit 6-6: Technology Evolution by U.S. Class
Exhibit 6-7: Technology Evolution by IPC Class
Exhibit 7-1: Publication of Patent References in the U.S. and WIPO Jurisdictions, from 2006 to 2016
Exhibit 7-2: Pie Chart showing that 57.7% of Patent References in the Subject Field are in the U.S., with the remainder in WIPO.
Exhibit 8-1: Pie Chart showing the Distribution of Polymers Used for 3D Printing, according to the number of citations in patent references in the Subject Field
Exhibit 8-2: Pie Chart showing the Distribution of different Fabrication Methods Used for 3D Printing, according to the number of citations in patent references in the Subject Field
Exhibit 9-1: Trends of Patent Abandonment
Exhibit 9-2: Rate of Patent Survivorship by Year


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