Stratasys Lawsuit, Patents and More: An Interview with MakerBot’s Bre Pettis

3D Printing & Imaging
Stratasys Lawsuit, Patents and More: An Interview with MakerBot’s Bre Pettis
MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis.

Last week I saw Michael Weinberg’s article on MAKE “Stratasys Sues Afinia: Ramifications for the Desktop 3D Printing Industry”. After reading it I had more questions about Stratasys, patents, and MakerBot. I emailed Bre Pettis the CEO of MakerBot and with permission I am posting up the responses here on MAKE. Thank you, Bre!

BRE: Thanks for the email, PT. I hope I can clear some of this up. I’m writing this as Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot. MakerBot is an independent subsidiary of Stratasys Ltd. This lawsuit is filed by Stratasys, Inc., who owns the patents and developed the technology. MakerBot is staying focused on empowering creative people with desktop 3D printers, scanners, and software to make it easy. Even though this is Stratasys’ thing, I’ve gotten lots of inquiries about this lawsuit and by answering these questions. I hope that people can understand more about the patent system, how it works, and why companies use it.

PT: Would you consider your patents being used for “patent trolling”?
BRE: A patent troll is generally considered to be an entity that acquires or creates patents and does not utilize them themselves. Because Stratasys manufactures products based on its patents, Stratasys is not a patent troll.

PT: Why did you choose to get patents in the first place?
BRE: Patents aren’t simple. It’s not a black and white issue. If you hated everything that was patented ever then you wouldn’t have much to like.

Personally, when we started MakerBot, I was a hobbyist and didn’t know much about patents. I knew I wanted to grow MakerBot as a company to bring 3D printers to the desktops of the world. Our number one mission is to empower as many people as we can with the technology so they can make the things they want in their lives. As we grew MakerBot, I initially preferred to save money by ignoring patents and focusing on technology development, but the long-range vision required learning how to file patents. We decided to patent our innovations for a variety of benefits. We wanted to be able to survive as a company and know that our inventions were protected by law. We also wanted to possibly have some valuable business assets to leverage in a negotiation with a larger business. And, if we had chosen a different route and gone public, we wanted the ability to license and cross-license our inventions. For MakerBot, we planned for long term sustainability. We invested early in turning our novel ideas into patents. It was a learning experience and it took a long time to understand the patent system. It’s actually a pretty cool thing for an innovator to see his or her name on a patent and at MakerBot. We credit the individuals who come up with inventions within the company.

For Stratasys, they invented FDM technology and they knew they were on to something big and so they patented their ideas early. It probably should come as no surprise that Stratasys finds patents valuable and has committed significant resources to its current patent portfolio and through continued R&D.

That’s why MakerBot and Stratasys each began patenting their innovations.

There are some reasons companies and individuals choose not to patent their inventions. For legal reasons, I can’t give advice on whether a company should or shouldn’t patent an idea, but it’s interesting to look at different models of innovation. If your company does or does not patent inventions, I think the reasons would be a great thing to hear about one way or the other in the comments.

Many non-profits and members of collaborative shared projects like RepRap choose to put their work in the public domain.

Some products may not have a long enough lifetime to justify the time and expense of getting a patent that cover them. In some industries, a product may just have a planned lifetime of one holiday season and so that might not justify the expense and hassle of getting a patent on the technology because applying for a patent generally takes 18 months at minimum and often it takes much longer.

PT: Please explain your IP Strategy in regards to patents.
BRE: The current Stratasys and MakerBot IP strategy is to innovate in the 3D printing sector and make the best tools for creative people. Because 3D printing has existed for decades, and there are thousands of patents, R&D costs are high. Patents recoup these R&D costs.

David Reis, Stratasys CEO, said in his recent news release that “IP infringement discourages companies from investing in innovation. Stratasys pioneered 3D printing, and invests millions of dollars each year to develop our technologies. In 2012 alone, Stratasys Ltd invested $33.3 million or 9.3 percent of its revenues in R&D. We intend to protect that investment.”

For some people in the 3D printing community who are creating their own 3D printers to sell and who have just discovered that 3D printing is a mature patent space, I can understand that it must feel frustrating to feel limited. When we were growing MakerBot, there were many times where we came up with an idea that we thought was new only to find that it had been patented years before. So we would rethink it and do something different. As they say on basketball courts, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” While some will choose to spend their energy hating, we at MakerBot use our energy to come up with new technology. For innovators, the patent system can be a positive challenge to find new ways of doing things.

In IP terms, the limitations on patents are relatively reasonable by contrast to other forms of IP, like copyright. While 20 years may seem like a long time for a patent to expire, copyright extends for 70 years after the death of the artist. In general, that means that if something is copyrighted in my lifetime, it is likely that only my grandkids will be able to utilize it for their own purposes when it enters the public domain.

PT: Are you planning on suing individually hobbyists who are making 3D printers at home?
BRE: I legally can’t make forward-looking statements on behalf of MakerBot or Stratasys. I can say that we are regularly inspired by the innovation created by individual hobbyists. At MakerBot, we often try to hire and collaborate with clever and smart people.

PT: If an individual in the 3D printing community created an innovative idea/approach and had a patent would you be interested in working with them?
BRE: At MakerBot we are currently collaborating with many innovators on an independent or consultant basis. We also encourage our users to give us feedback that can help make all of our products better for everyone. The best way to work with us is to join us. We have job openings at and if we aren’t hiring for something you think you can do with us, we have a category on the site for submitting just a cover letter and a resume.

PT: How much does Stratasys spend on R&D per year?
BRE: In 2012 alone, Stratasys Ltd invested $33.3 million or 9.3 percent of its revenues in R&D. Without spending time, energy, and money on R&D, Stratasys can’t make progress to empower more people with new technology. This number doesn’t include the R&D work MakerBot has done because we weren’t a Stratasys subsidiary until August 2013.

PT: Do you file your patents only in the USA or worldwide?
BRE: Often both, but it really depends on the idea.

PT: How important is the hobbyist and DIY community to Stratasys?
BRE: When Stratasys started in 1989, the focus was on b2b customers. Now, with the acquisition of MakerBot, one of the primary missions of Stratasys is to explore the frontier of 3D printing and support broader 3D printer adoption.

Hobbyists and the DIY community are the grassroots of the Next Industrial Revolution. We believe that when individuals unlock their potential with a 3D printer, that wonderful things can happen. Projects like Robohand have been created by DIY engineers. At-home innovators are blazing a trail into the future. Projects like these inspire us to keep innovating. We are also inspired by entrepreneurs that use MakerBot and Stratasys technology to launch new companies and these folks are not only pioneering the Next Industrial Revolution, but are creating new products and jobs.

PT: Can the community blame Bre Pettis or MakerBot for the initiation of this lawsuit?
BRE: We certainly didn’t ask Stratasys to file this lawsuit. This lawsuit was initiated by our sister company Stratasys, Inc., who owns the patents, developed the technology, and filed the lawsuit. Legally I can’t comment on the lawsuit.

You can’t blame me, MakerBot or Stratasys for the patent system. What you can blame us for is creating products and working within the current system to make sustainable products that are innovative and powerful.

I know that there are haters out there who will hear the words “patent” and just hate, but patents are a fact of life for most growing technology companies. Patents can be confusing and I do not consider myself an expert, but I hope by answering these questions, I have given the community some insight into how patents work from both my perspective, the perspective of MakerBot as a rapidly growing company, and Stratasys as a more mature technology company.

Bre Pettis

Thanks again Bre for answering these questions!

99 thoughts on “Stratasys Lawsuit, Patents and More: An Interview with MakerBot’s Bre Pettis

  1. Karl says:

    One question that wasn’t asked, how does Bre respond to taking the innovations that were developed by the DIY users, shared freely on Thingiverse, and then incorporating them into MakerBot to resolve problems with their infant technology, and now patenting these ideas from under our noses? Now he makes money on the R&D that he DID NOT invest in

    1. Bruce says:

      Do you have an example of something that MakerBot took from Thingiverse and then patented? I know they’ve *used* at least one Thing, but I seriously doubt they’d try to patent it. Not without including the original inventor in the process.

      1. Karl says:

        Their extruders have been as a result of all the other direct drive extruders that were developed and posted on thingiverse

        1. kongorilla says:

          Perhaps my memory is faulty, but what I recall thinking when I first saw the Makerbot extruder in question was that it was a copy of the ones found on the Up! printers of the time (and later users posted copies on Thingiverse).

          This is confirmed by checking the MK7 page on Thingiverse:

          Check the comment by DrewPetitclerc, the third thread:
          “WOW, who bought the UP! and took apart their design and copied it? =-X”

          Now Stratasys is suing a company that, basically, rebrands the Up! printer. Huh.

          1. Karl says:

            Direct drive extruders were in development before the Up! Was ever released, people were wanting to get rid of Bowden systems because of slipping problems on the RepRaps and RepStraps at the time, there were also direct drives for the ToM all leading up to the derivatives that are used today, developed by the open source community and then adopted by MakerBot.

            Patents don’t encourage innovation, they stunt it

      2. Tony S says:

        Bruce… for another example, the Makerbot Digitizer is the result of the spinscan, by tbuser. That method of scanning was patented, Makerbot assumed control of the patent (because Tony is an employee of Makerbot, and his employment contract states that all of the inventions he makes on his own time become property of the company) and developed it into the Digitizer.

        1. GermanGPL says:

          The Spinscan is GPLed.. maybe should give it a try.

      3. Mel Bourne says: was stolen from Zach Smith who worked hard on the Reprap Project, and initial marketbot printers before they got VC funding… then Bre betrayed these people and the community… and never gave back thingiverse, such a snake.

        How about googling “Bre Pettis betrayed Zach Smith”

    2. Brett says:

      If it was technology that was “shared freely” to the public for over a year before the patent was filed, it would be invalid… and what is the proper way to release an idea to the public so that it’s not patentable at all? Still though, I can see patents being granted because that “prior art” was not known to the patent reviewer, and subsequently will be hard for most people to fight in court. That is the sad part about all of this… some of the patent claims are so broad and vague it’s like patenting shoes as any material you put around your feet. Sure it might have been novel 18 years ago, but it’s a little late in the “game” in my opinion to be crushing the 3D printer movement. He who has the most money and patents wins… but really what does he or she win? More money of course, and no one left to challenge them to keep innovating at an exponential rate. Personally I hold a utility patent and I can see the need for it given the right circumstances, but I also don’t feel that most affordable 3D printer companies out there present any kind of a challenge to Stratasys. But they do present a challenge to MakerBot, which is why it’s a cop-out to say “We certainly didn’t ask Stratasys to file this lawsuit”. Just own up to the fact that you’re supportive of your sister company knocking off your competition. I guess that wouldn’t be good PR. The above interview does very professionally say the same thing though, so well done. I really want everyone to get along here… and I carry around a MakerBot printed figurine to show people what 3D printing is… but this whole thing really bothers me. Can you imagine Sparkfun suing Adafruit or vice versa? It just doesn’t sit well with me.

      I will continue to support open source hardware and software because it’s the right thing to do to keep progress moving forward for the masses of people that have brilliant minds, but not a lot of money.

  2. Stratasys Lawsuit, Patents and More: An Interview with MakerBot’s Bre Pettis « adafruit industries blog says:

    […] Stratasys Lawsuit, Patents and More: An Interview with MakerBot’s Bre Pettis @ MAKE. […]

  3. Bruce says:

    “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

    Seriously, Mr Pettis?

  4. MarSik says:

    Unfortunately I cannot agree with what Bre said: 20 years of protection might have been reasonable 100 years ago. But not now. Look at what we had 20 years ago.. the computers made everything way faster and the turnaround time is much shorter now. I did not even have a computer twenty years ago… the PC itself is 32.

    It used to be that you had to have a working prototype to apply for a patent. The device had to be buildable using the plans from the patent. You could not patent math and physics formulas. Hundred years ago in my country, the patent holder was paying a (increasing) fee every year to refresh the patent rights. The fee served a simple purpose – to force the inventor to decide if the protection is still worth it (and a company could lose the patent if it behave as a troll btw :). None of the above is true today.

    A small company today has no chance of acquiring and using a patent against a bigger competitor. The litigation costs are just too high. So currently patents are not protecting innovation, they are merely protecting the big established players who can afford to sue. For an example see the 1997 Aureal vs. Creative lawsuit: Aureal won but ended up so drained that Creative bought them for “trifles” in the end.

    Bre is right that they have to play ball to be able to survive in the current system. But the system just feeds on itself. Unless someone seriously rethinks it, the only party that will benefit from it are the patent lawyers. Unfortunately the lawyers are the party that prepares the laws.. and earn money thanks to it.

  5. batlard says:

    Well rehearsed.

    Bre Pettis and/or Makerbot went from being a huge disappointment to being a real danger to the reprap community.

    I have no doubt in my mind that Makerbot, 3DSystems and Stratasys will try to cripple open hardware again and again.

  6. Tyson Haverkort says:

    “When we were growing MakerBot, there were many times where we came up with an idea that we thought was new only to find that it had been patented years before. So we would rethink it and do something different.”

    Perhaps I misunderstand, but based on what I’ve read about the Stratasys vs Afinia claim, it would appear that prior to being acquired, MakerBot violated (at least) the following (claimed) Stratasys patents:

    ’925 patent by using non-solid infill
    ’058 patent by using a heated platform

    Am I wrong in thinking this? Maybe you were paying royalties to StrataSys?

    Also, there’s more than one kind of patent troll. Companies that patent purposely vague or over general ideas qualify in my mind. By reading ‘124, you would think StrataSys invented the glue gun.

  7. Sabrina Merlo says:

    Interesting tweet response by @risknc pointing to an interview w Elon Musk about his (non) patent strategy for SpaceX: (Though doubting same attitude is true for Tesla. Anyone know?)

  8. Ben says:

    Here’s a fascinating look at where Bre’s attitudes on these issues were just a year ago:

  9. kongorilla says:

    More questions:
    1. Why now? These “infringements” have been happening for years.
    2. Of that $33.3 million in R&D, how much was spent in the area of home/hobbyist/”prosumer” printers, and how much in the high-end printers that Stratasys has always focused on?
    3. Bre speaks of Makerbot having to work around patents, spurring innovation. Other than acknowledging there’s a market for home/hobbyist/prosumer printers, what innovation has Makerbot come up with exactly? I’m having a hard time finding a characteristic of their present machines that they can claim exclusive authorship.

  10. Todd Carney says:

    I wonder if the technology used in an ordinary glue gun–you know, a melted-plastic extruder–was ever patented, and if the patent owner could sue Stratasys for infringement?

    I suppose Bre is in a difficult situation, but he is wrong to use the word, “hate,” for the opponents of unrestrained patent abuse. Stratasys may not be a troll themselves, but they could turn around tomorrow and sell their patents to a troll/extortionist. Though Stratasys paid for the R&D, they didn’t pay for the development of:

    stepper motors
    X-Y-Z plotting algorithms
    polymer thermoplastics
    extrusion (of both plastics and metals)
    G-code and other software interfaces between design and production
    ball-screw linear drives
    Ribbon cables
    surface-mount technology

    I could go on and on. I think if one were to inventory the ideas, concepts, technologies, applications, supply chains, and raw materials in a bench-top 3D printer, a very tiny part would have been added by Stratasys, and that might be one of the more obvious parts. In other words, not that much value added and huge amounts of “prior art.”

  11. Christian Restifo (@restifo) says:

    That was a well rehearsed piece of corporate speak.

  12. Sheldon (@SQKYbeaver) says:

    both Makerbot and Stratasys are a perfect pair, since the repossession of a Stratasys printer from defense distributed, and the take down of many firearm related files from thingaverse. the patents are being used, not to help recoup r&d costs, but to kill competition, and others with opposing political views.

  13. Bjorkbat says:

    Well, good thing they don’t keep you for damage control, right?


  14. Tommy Phillips says:

    It seems to me that the patent system has two fundemental flaws.

    The first is the weaknesses of the system for granting patents. The prior art problem, over-worked generalist patent examiners, the built-in bias for granting patents, etc.

    The other weakness is its very usefulness. There are many examples of patented devices that are very difficult to argue against. Solid-state transistors come to mind as an example. And these valid patents are used to shore up the case for many patents that probably never should have been granted.

    1. Karl says:

      Let’s take a look at the benefits of patents, and let’s use LEGO as a prime example, (don’t get me wrong I love LEGO), LEGO sets range anywhere from $10.00 for a “mini fig” to $200+ for one of their larger models, now that their patent has lapsed, we are finding out just how much those sets actually cost, $200+ for <$10 worth of plastic, a little book, and some packaging, the only thing a patent is really good for is controlling the cost of a product and how wealthy you can become at the expense of others

      LEGO has injection moulding, mass production systems in place which are supposed to be more cost effective than 3D printing, and yet they have to charge so much?

      And anyone who says patents are to protect the innovator, all it does is allow them to sit on their butts and profit and only "innovate" as there becomes a demand,

      Since the launch of the Replicator 2, what innovations has MakerBot truly made in the field of 3D printing (I don't count the Digitizer, as that is separate from the actual printing process, before they were closed source they were coming out with "innovations" nearly every week, now, nothing, they don't need to keep innovating right now because any threat to their market they can now use, only when the open source community innovates past them, will they come out with something new.

      1. Matt says:

        Your mentioning Lego is funny, since Lego stole the idea of the interlocking bricks from Kiddicraft and infringed on Kiddicraft’s patent. Kiddicraft owner/inventor Hillary Harry Fisher Page owned the patent for the interlocking bricks that Lego infringed upon. Lego purchased the IP rights from Page’s estate in order to sue Tyco 30+ years later so they could claim that Lego had invented their interlocking system.

  15. gil says:


  16. Nick Robalik (@nickrobalik) says:

    Wowsa. So time to move Bre Pettis over into the “giant disappointment” category.

    1. A FormerBot says:

      Aww, and you didn’t even have to work with him to come to that conclusion. Welcome to our world, bro.

  17. wkw3 says:

    “Because 3D printing has existed for decades, and there are thousands of patents, R&D costs are high. Patents recoup these R&D costs.”

    Sounds like a terribly constructive use of time, money, and energy. I hope this was delivered with a straight face.

  18. foo matic says:

    “BRE: Thanks for the email, PT. I hope I can clear some of this up. I’m writing this as Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot. MakerBot is an independent subsidiary of Stratasys Ltd. This lawsuit is filed by Stratasys, Inc., who owns the patents and developed the technology. ”


  19. blueshift says:

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game

    I’m going to start with some provocative rhetoric and I want to be clear that I’m not equating this behavior to that behavior as moral equivalents but instead attempting (however poorly) to demonstrate that having a mind set whereby you remove moral factors in analyzing the outcomes in game theories you can have serious ethical ramifications.

    I also want to be clear I have no desire to attack bre, this is not my intention, my intention is to high light the danger in absolving the moral duty of players by simplistically rationalizing the mechanics of how a game appears to be played.

    My use of the pronoun “you” is not directed at Bre or any other specific individual but is directed at a generalized straw man as a rhetorical device.

    This turned out really long so you will probably either start reading and be immediately turned off, you will make it to the end and kind of see what I’m talking about, or get to the end and be horribly confused.

    To all of the above and any others, I apologize for any offense. I’m un nerved by this development.


    “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”

    This is an ethically bankrupt cop out. To frame an example in a context that at least some people reading this have the capability of referencing. this is the equivalent argument to saying don’t hate the slave owner that beat and forcibly violated their property, they had legal title.

    Again this a straw man, I really want to be clear about that..

    This is not some sports game where the deleterious effect from the result is a few people being killed because of a post game riot. Comparing the prolonged disenfranchisement of billions of people (see below) to a sports game is difficult for me to swallow, perhaps if you’re a sociopath, or have some other amoral psychopathic tendencies it can be a rationale to you.

    Yes I’m being hyperbolic, I’m trying to alarm you.

    Of course my constant reminder that the “you” is a straw man devalues the impact of that set of statements..

    Selling and then forcibly violating women was also common during disturbingly long stretches of human history (and still is in some parts, along with female genital mutilation), because it was legally protected, does that make it morally justifiable?

    I want to state clearly I have no moral issue with patents, or guns for that mater, I do have issues with how they can be used and what consequences their use and abuse has on society.

    You may not see how the proliferation of consumer facing printers (beyond this fff/fdm stuff) is -directly- on the critical path (along with the resulting changes in supply chain dynamics, and enabling other technologies and design processes) to bringing washing machines and the associated infrastructure to billions of people.

    See Hans Rosling’s TED talk if you don’t understand the real productive economic implication and think I’m just talking about washing machines.

    It’s extremely unlikely that some billion dollar multinational or some governmental organization will fulfill this duty in a timely manner, the odds strongly favor things like crowd funded sub 100$ printers and other enabling technology probably built from first-world e-waste and access to information. For example you could print coil winding frames to build generators.

    You can think that low cost 3d printers are only useful to affluent middle class white men who use it to make plastic guns, toy trinkets and occasional useful gadget, and that may seem true because it currently appears that way now, and you may also assume that is all it implies.

    You can also think the internet is a fad where people steal music and that twitter is just a place where people talk about what they just ate, or you can realize there are larger implications and opportunities: intellectually, emotionally, technologically, socially, economically and yes, financially.

    The idealization of Wealth is no longer necessarily a zero sum game. Managing that reality is an important task. It’s a particle and wave.

    As the pie gets bigger, so does everyone’s slice, I know it may seem hard and un intuitive to understand, but if you allow for mutual growth,

    People like to conflate finance with economy, that conflation is handy at times, but not overstanding that it -is- a conflation leads to extremely dangerous logical conclusions, along the same lines as conflating ethical justice and legal mechanic —

    I’d have you ask my friend who was victimized by prosecutorial abuse about the danger of that conflation.

    A federal prosecutor who told him while “negotiating” a plea that he didn’t care if he was guilty or not, that he would bankrupt his family, then if that didn’t work bring him into court and use his considerable experience to persuade the simple minded jury into thinking whatever he wanted them to think, including being a criminal mastermind, guilty of far more than what he was charged, and that he was unwilling to even consider investigating that the complainant had falsified evidence in order to make it a federal case.

    Of course this was just a game to the prosecutor, to leverage a confession, and score a point on his prosecutorial record as a successful litigator.

    After being terrorized by this “game player”, he accepted the deal and tried to go on with his life with the soul crushing depression of being powerless while being forcibly violated by his government’s representative… (Among other things)

    I’d love to ask him to retell it to you so that you could know the details, but I can’t, he jumped off Hoover damn..

    Someone might say: Hey man, the prosecutor was just playing a game, making points for his team, he has no moral obligation to justice, no social duty but just mechanistic game-rules to follow.

    Sure, you can buy into that if you really think it’s going to give you something of value, but in general it’s just a short term tactic and not a stable long term sustainable strategy to improving the human condition.

    Being an outsider looking at the deal makerbot made with Stratasys I don’t have direct knowledge of how the deal was rationalized within stratasys or how it was structured. But as an uninformed outsider it is apparent that they may have paid an irrational amount for makerbot, based on publicly observable estimable amounts of revenue and costs of operation measured with costs of expanding their offerings and retail assets and rationally projecting growth from sales of existing products and including potential sales from new lines, it is difficult that they could justify the outlay they made without leveraging their legal position to destroy or severely disable the emerging markets and prop up their brand.

    Some might say, woah there, this law suit is against some Chinese usurper rebranding and selling into the us market in direct competition to their newly acquired brand, they aren’t going after the little guys.

    They don’t need to litigate directly, to disrupt the market, retard progress, and scare off investment..

    Technically they can probably, right now, at a moments notice, swoop in, just after a massively successful crowd funding campaign, and interfere with their business..

    I’m not saying they will, but they have definitely opened the door, and have introduced the culture of legal violence to this nascent maker movement.

    They do this at their own risk… They damage their newly acquired brand.

    A rational decision maker will, and must, if they are rational, assume this is not the last lawsuit when making an analysis of risk. They’ve already made the outlay in purchasing makerbot, they must now recoup their cost and do it within the attention span of financial markets, even if they aren’t a publicly traded company we must assume their board is made of individuals that are informed by this mind set, this means it’s almost a certainty that other suits are in position and will be filed to position themselves in the market and justify the purchase price.

    The myopism in decision making in financial markets are more dangerous than and have longer effect than teen aged ADD, in fact their near sightless ness is exacerbating, but not necessarily causing the angst that is driving unrest leading to kids killing other kids. It appears unrelated because there are a couple dominos in between and it’s really difficult to realize that financial tension among other stressors breeds social unrest.

    I want to be clear that right now i personally believe, rightly or wrongly, that historically a zero sum game did model the scarcity of available resources available to insulated cultural groups,

    (and still does to some ever lessening degree, even as it’s being artificially propped up by antiquated IP law that don’t account for the rapid increasingly rapid generation of intellectual capital)

    but with this proliferation of intellectual capital we are moving into an undiscovered county where it may make more sense to protect actual scarcity rather then deny abundance and pretend that manufacturing and maintaining artificial scarcity is economically and socially healthy in the long term.

    Consider the impact on rational investors going forward, now they need to base their decisions on this indication that Stratasys is willing to sue into markets that they ignored and didn’t develop by applying their considerable legal leverage as a recognizable advantage. They’ve already demonstrated that they are or should be considered an irrational actor by potentially vastly over valuing makerbot unless this legal obstruction strategy was their intention.

    we must assume that they will continue to sue their way into the market until they at least recoup their investment and ongoing costs (plus feed the lawyers), but as they’ve demonstrated that they are probably irrational, one must assume that they will continue to sue until they control a majority of the market, as that is how this game is typically played..

    As an aside, I’m curious if that 9.3% r&d figure includes legal costs and if so, how much of it…

    For example if I was to start a project to build a containerized fab module that doesn’t just have a collection of washing machines parts and generators, but a set of tools that leverages available resources and raw materials to enable the creation of as many generators and washing machines (and other productive stuff as well, like tractors, water pumps and purifiers) as they need and be reallocated as needs change.

    Starts to veer off here.

    As an aside, this is very much a design goal for what I’m doing with this life of mine, although that may not be apparent as it’s a long term goal and there are a vast number of factors that need to be combined to make it realizable by me personally.

    Finding rational financial backers just became orders of magnitude more difficult, especially as their apparent irrationality means that it is unclear if they will be equally irrational in determining licensing fees, if I were to negotiate deals to use the IP that they claim legal entitlement to. (Entitlements aren’t just for the poor on well fair, patents are kind of entitlements too, they just cost more to file). These patents, and I assume most if not all the other printing patents, likely don’t have RAND status and thus I assume the withholding party doesn’t have the obligation to negotiate by fair terms. (Or whatever the carefully nuanced legal term may be)

    Yes, I could try to take them to court to attempt to establish RAND status, based on the utility of social good, but what would that cost and how would that effect the financial resources available to complete the actual work when pissing potentially massive stacks of cash away on legal gamesmanship?

    You can say that you are legally entitled to shelf space in radio shack, and I’m inclined to agree that you may have sufficient legal power based on the target of your first legal action to enforce that belief in your entitlement, but you really should think about the real long term impact.

    Sure you can brush it off by saying, what they are doing is legal, it’s the cost of doing business, your just protecting your investment, equating it to a sports game that reinforces the rah rah, my team your team, bankrupt, zero sum mentality…

    Yes, you may be ethically right from a legal basis, but your narrow view does make me morally sad…

    I don’t pretend that my sadness should effect or even affect you, but it does carry the weight of the billions of souls behind me…

    Ultimately this doesn’t alter the understated goal to unlock the wealth of the un considered majority for the betterment of the total human condition, including (and this is important) those who believe they need to dominate them, but it does look like it sets the time table back by an alarming and disheartening measure..

    Who hates who? (Again these are to the straw men, they are easier targets, more satisfying to beat)

    For me, In general, it’s not hate, it’s frustration.

    For me the Industrial Age hasn’t even really started, we are still currently in the late stages of the industrial revolution, building the tools and infrastructure preparing the conditions for time when the actual, proper, Industrial Age finally does begin.. Or call it what you will.

    If you think the advancements in what most people commonly consider as the Industrial and information Ages have been unimaginably amazing in their advancing of the welfare of individuals in modern society, I have no way to describe to you what we are on the verge of going forward.. But perhaps I could recommend you look up and open your mind?

    If you prefer to play games rather than be industrious, I guess that’s your personal decision, although I caution you that your narrow view effects the lives of current billions and all the billions in the future generations to come..


    Maybe I should be clear, I’m not talking about some pie in the sky utopia, I’m saying it would -probably- be much more productive if we -try- to focus a little more of our resources on managing actual scarcity, and a little less of our potentially very very very valuable time on creating and managing artificially created scarcity?

    Another way of looking at it is: of course these tools don’t magically make scarcity disappear, people still must and will die in the mines, and on the trains, crushed under crates for decades to come, to harvest the materials, to build the machines, that deliver the boxes, that enable the people, to create and maintain the washing machines…

    (and associated pumps and location applicable generation devices, yes I know, it’s really much more complicated then dreaming some broad brushed abstraction)

    The cost structures all along the supply chains in most markets are going to rapidly shift in very un expected ways in the next few decades, and the more, and more we violate the fundamentals like the principle of least action and try to unduly influence the short term for profit taking by withholding our wealth to add to our perceived value — the more resent we will sew in the future to come and increase the cost of doing ongoing business.

    As if it’s a game with un natural rules..

    Again, of course these straw men are not Bre or Stratasys, but they hang on his words and it’s stuffed with their actions.

    (Perhaps you’ll notice I’ve hung myself there too, perhaps it’s because my withholding might prevent me from pressing send)

    I’m sorry, you’re just making me terribly nervous.

    Every license and every tax on this very achievable goal makes the enviable take oh so much longer.. Aren’t you tired from the stain? We are rapidly approaching a tipping point, an event horizon, whatever you want to call it, we’re learning to fly. We need to keep our baggage light, need to mind our drag, the run way is only so long…

    What side do you side do you want to be on? The endeavor that took wing or the one that burns in the ditch…

    All this noise and confusion, these pressures and containment, calculations of factors, is a thermodynamic reaction from the ensuing explosion from a chain reaction to the inevitable expansion of humanity’s creation into the sky above our collective heads, we’re propelling a rocket into the future, to explore the mysteries of the black sky.

    I admit that perhaps you’d prefer to ride a missile to do damage to your foe, and you still very much have that choice, and there is still a certain purpose to that aim,

    But When you close your eyes or whatever you do to find your piece, where do you want that purpose to truly head?


    …That was a bunch of words, hopefully someone finds something of value..

    I may be a dreamer, but I’d like to imagine I’m not the only one … Wait a minute, is that the one that’s copy writed?

    1. Nils Hitze says:

      That might easily be the best comment i’ve read in a long long while. Thank you – would you be ok with me publishing the whole thing on G+ ?

      1. blueshift says:

        Thank you,

        If someone can find value in my frustration then I welcome the chance.

        I warn you that I went off on another tangent again after my recommended textual modification, so feel free to tune out or ignore me.

        As always, I apologize for wasting anybody’s time.


        I intended to add a do what you will at the end, something like:

        If any can find some value in this to use it to improve our shared condition, then I release it to you, in the public domain;

        (I’m being purposefully un specific about which parties or by what conditions)

        for those who don’t, I’m fully open to negotiate a fair waiver for release,

        (Now, how do I write that in copy left?)

        Of course the standard fair uses apply, exemptions for criticism and farce…

        Ridicule me in my naïveté, point out how it’s really not that simple, tell me I simply just don’t understand

        It kinda goes on from there…


        but after the first edit it doubled in length, so once I reached what I thought was a fairly impactful conclusion, I didn’t go back to edit much more than line breaks and try to clear up a little here and there.

        … One change, if you would, before any republishing:

        If you could add a line break in one of the last few paragraph, the one that starts “all this noise…” At the part where it goes “.. above our collective heads,”

        (There’s suppose to be a pause, indicated by a line break and with that whitespace there, give the reader some time to personally interpret that state, before I reintroduce my ex temp vision of the view, at that time, I proposed)

        So after a blank line…

        “We’re propelling a rocket…” I really don’t want to limit any reader to a rocket, a ticking time bomb (always a Hollywood favorite), a seed bursting through layers of earth to meet its first sunlight, a catalyzed fractal reaction or whatever they might perceive that relation through.

        Feel free to chop it up or do whatever, as long as you believe there’s something that’s useful.

        —— (here’s the tangent)

        The rocket image, in my case at that time was the space shuttle urging into the sky

        sitting motionless on the launch pad, like human history quiet for a disturbingly long stretch of time, an occasional disturbance, now begins a rumble, it steadies then builds,

        Hey, something’s burning,

        There’s so much smoke, it’s hard to see

        Feels like we’re moving, there’s so much pressure, I can hardly move,

        hey, what’s going on?

        … Builds through the terror of lift off, the holding on, to the elation of floating in space, Goes on then back to recognizing previous failures,

        Finally, brings up The challenger disaster …

        That’s when we lost the will to die in space, and for that, it’s another disaster. Do you know how many people will be dying, and must have died in space by the time Half the biodiversity (again I’m being unspecific about what proportions I’m talking about here) makes it to space?

        We recently hit an urban tipping point, where more than 50% or earths population live in cities, the next few options are 50% in the sea, 50% in space, or 50% in the ground.. (Well there could be air cities, and fire could probably represent war, if you want, if you’re collecting a complete set) And that is going to happen faster than it did last time,

        We need to figure out how to get over to that, and soon.

        (Obviously, space is my preferred option as once you get used to it — and it does take considerable time getting used too, so the sooner we start the better — again, once you get used to it, you have access to virtually limitless material resources;

        the water and earth options still have material constraints and therefore require more efficient management of intellectual capital to make them survivable, so make your choice carefully)

        Maybe I should mention to those more disposed to the completely terrestrial options, I suggest you help those who wish to be on their way, to take our drilling for oil, our digging In gold mines, our bleeding for diamonds, our ugly buildings of industry, and the belching clouds from our icky machines.

        Try to imagine how many people died exploring primitive coast line let alone crossing oceans, so far, virtually alone.. And then from there into the un discovered countries of that age. Those new coast lines, at least they had a breathable atmosphere,

        I mean, come on, a fairly unfathomable number people are going to die on the way to be fully (well a relative percentage) into space.

        Now imagine how many people die now every day, in cubicles, traveling to and from work, fighting in wars, feeding on the drugs, stifled from frustration, seems like we might need to be realistic in our proportions if we want to fortify our positions before it’s too late.

        Of course I’m not interested in blatant suicide but I’d be willing to move forward with a non zero amount of considered risk, in hopes of maintaining some momentum, till the time we finally decide to let ourselves break free. Or maybe I’m in that by myself all alone?

        It’s pretty clear that by building all these machines, the launch pad and fuel, and not completing the purpose of presenting the risk, reaching into this black sky, carries a potentially suffocating amount of danger. As the rust of disuse decays our unrealized invention, the toxicity of the fuels leaks and poisons our state.

        There will be problems like Here on earth.

        Back then, we traveled the oceans, We met strangers, we committed genocide, we subjugated nations, come on we’re human, we’re bound to make -more- mistakes

        But games?? Tell me what are -your- stakes? (Still striking on the straw men)

        Your shortsightedness in action and mindset is stunning… Do you really not know what’s going on?

        Blah, blah blah, seems like I may offended someone,

        So, Maybe I’ll leave you what I was so tempted to edit all this back to and try to part from here in peace:

        “Ouch, This hurts.
        Please stop.

        I urge you to reconsider your decision, the path you’ve chosen looks like it leads to a river of woe… I don’t recommend you head that way…

        But if this is your determined choice, for you, I’m sure there’s something suitably attractive and shiny, and with that I wish you best of luck,

        Servus ignavus ignarus”

  20. makomk says:

    Right, I think I’ve said this before, but Stratsys did not actually invent the things that they’re suing over and that Makerbot are still selling products based on:

    – They did not invent the kind of extruder that they’re suing over and that Makerbot are also using. It was originally created and developed by the RepRap community and subsequently by the company whose printers Stratasys are suing over. If you look at the Stratasys patent, the Up! extruder – and indeed every extruder I’ve seen – is a rather different design which so far as I can tell lacks a key feature of the patent, namely the thin-walled tube running through the middle of the heater block for the filament. Stratasys’ extruder needs it because for some reason they’re feeding the filament through the heater block in a curved path, but neither Up!/PP3DP/Afinia nor any other printer does this – they feed in a straight line and use a drill hole through the heater block. (I’ve no idea how they’re managing to argue infringement – this feature is in both independent claims of their patent, so they’ve got to convince the courts Afinia’s printers have it.)

    – They did not invent heated beds. Their patent is on almost any method of controlling the temperature of the environment whilst 3D printing. Nothing in the patent that I can see suggests heated beds or indeed any specific method of heating the local build environment (which they probably really ought to for the patent to be valid – am I missing something or were their patent lawyers asleep on the job?)

    – They did not invent infill, the RepRap community did. No part of the patent that they claim is being infringed describes infill that even vaguely resembles the kind used by the Afinia printer. Their patent is on creating small pores in printed objects by changing how adjacent parallel rows of extruded material lay against each other. The infill they’re claiming infringes on it involves creating a rigid, thin-walled honeycomb-like structure inside the object. Quite a lot of community development went into this, and I’m pretty sure Makerbot are using it too. (Unfortunately, their claims are worded broadly enough that they may be able to argue any FDM printer that controls how air is trapped inside the printed object infringes, though it’s obvious from their wording they didn’t anticipate this technique – their claims requires the deposited strands to be “adjacent”, which arguably the honeycomb ones aren’t.)

    – I’ve no idea about the seam concealment, I’ve never seen any 3D printer do that.

    In short, Bre Pattis is making money from selling printers that use other people’s inventions and R&D work whilst Makerbot’s parent company sues using broad, creatively interpreted patents to make sure that no-one else can benefit from the fruits of those inventions – and yet is somehow portraying his actions as supporting innovation. This especially galls given how enthusiastically he pressured others into releasing their work in forms that allowed him to commercialise it for free.

    1. makomk says:

      Oh, and if they’re still using other people’s GPL code there’s a good chance they’re in violation of the license – at least one of the patents they’re using (the heated build environment one) seems to be a pure software patent covering the use of standard functionality of most of the commonly used firmware and driver software, and that pretty much terminates their license to distribute the affected software and firmware.

  21. Darrick says:

    PT: Are you planning on suing individually hobbyists who are making 3D printers at home?
    BRE: I legally can’t make forward-looking statements on behalf of MakerBot or Stratasys. I can say that we are regularly inspired by the innovation created by individual hobbyists. At MakerBot, we often try to hire and collaborate with clever and smart people.

    I can make a forward looking statement for you… No, you won’t unless you want your hat handed to you .It is perfectly legal for people to copy patented works for their own educational benefit and private use. Unlike Copyright, your personal patent cloned item is legal.

  22. spliffmo says:

    What awful side stepping responses. I can’t say I didn’t see this coming with the acquisition of MB but I didn’t want to think they would try and crush a community that built the market for the MB and other small businesses to thrive in. I was more or less settled on buying the replicator 2 but I will have to reconsider now after hearing about the possible lawsuit and Bre’s interesting position on the subject.

  23. Dave Z. says:

    If you are at all put out by the Stratasys lawsuit (and I think people have every right to be put out), consider a call to your congressperson this week: the House will be voting on the Innovation Act, which aims to fix exactly this kind of problem with the patent system.

    More info here:

    The EFF summary of the legislation is excellent. In this case Stratasys would have had to put a whole lot more work and information into its claims upfront (exactly what patents were infringed upon, exactly what part of Afinia’s products infringe, and most importantly, how they infringed), allowing Afinia to defend itself for less effort/money.

    As it stands now, the courts don’t get to the meat of the case (claim construction) until after the most expensive part (discovery), which is why many companies settle, even if they haven’t done anything wrong.

    TL;DR: support the Innovation Act by calling your congressional representative, and consider donating to the EFF, as well.

  24. chuck says:

    ‘Don’t hate the player, hate the game.’ is as bad as ‘It is what it is.’ or ‘YOLO!’
    Pop culture platitudes and changing position mid-game will not wash the stink off, be it real or imagined.

  25. Chuck says:

    My guess is Makerbot got big enough to take down, so Statasys offered them a deal they couldn’t refuse. We were going to pick up another makerbot replicator for work. Now we are looking at other options.

    1. Purduecer says:

      Not sure what your business needs might be, but Makerbot’s printing line is redundant anyway.

      On their “low end” (is that even a vaguely appropriate word to use with Makerbot?) is their crippled Replicator2, which has no heated build platform (as far as I understand it) and support for PLA only. Save some hassle and either get yourself an equivalent $1000 RepRap or grab something from Lulzbot (personal recommendation; I’ve owned one of their printers and it has served me extremely well):

      On their “high end” (a word that accurately describes anything and everything sold by Makerbot… well, overpriced anyway) is the Makerbot 2X. At $2800, why even bother? Spend a few hundred more and grab yourself a Form Labs Form 1: . It leaves the many mechanical headaches of FDM behind and changes that up for stereolithography, which by all accounts is more repeatable and reliable.

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  27. Brook Drumm says:

    If only the metric for success was how much a company actually helped the human race… And not how much intellectual property and legal leverage you wield. In my book, it is.
    -Brook Drumm

    1. Luke Iseman says:

      I’ve bought 2 printrbots and a lulzbot, was on the verge of getting a makerbot, and then this lawsuit came out. Vote with your dollar and support open hardware rather than patent abuse!

    2. blueshift says:


      Thinkn’ maybe I -should- have filed some patents on those grounding fixes on the multi extruder board, I was just joking with Caleb that I should withhold them for parts… (sad face)

      always good to make the disclaimer : I’ve “seen” law, I don’t “know” law, that is, I’m “not a lawyer”. I typically “play it safe” by trying to overestimate its reach to try and keep a “safe distance”

      I violate that distance by posting here… On this…

      Honestly, if their lawyers decide that they can determine that mechanism (in general) -anyway- infringes on some other patent they have (basis of legal argument), -and- you (your company) are regarded as some unacceptable level of threat they are probably already getting ready and will probably file papers against you (your company), and could, unlikely, but legally possible, include me (as an individual) as some kind of participant or co-conspirator in the act of infringement…

      Again, I’m not a lawyer, but someone who prefers to limit exposure to risk, by generally trying to follow along with how this game is played…

      (Very much too all, who are interested)

      In fact, I feel that, as I say this on an open forum, I expose myself to a non zero risk of legal attack… that is they may have a legal basis of argument to include me in a filing…

      For me, right now, That’s chilling…

      … Hold that for a moment, there’s more …

      (Maybe I’m wrong) …..

      I’m not saying they would, I’m saying they probably have the legal basis to file papers… I’d have to seek counsel and, personally, I only make enough to get by..

      This thing (the new bill) that passed in the house hasn’t passed in the senate, if it’s changed there: it’s my understanding that it goes back and must be reconciled, if they (the senate) decide to include “new language” or add parts of that business process reform for example, or put riders on it to make it impassable, or more argumentative, send it back into committee, to be later taken up on the floor… Then to the president, who doesn’t have to sign even though he’s “told us he would”, he personally needs to take the very real time to put it on his desk, in front of witnesses…

      All of this could take -years- (or more “optimistically” be done before the end of this session? ( smily face )) while they all pursue other legislation… With higher priorities… (Thumbs up!)

      Could be a while before those reforms could have legal effect..

      I haven’t looked at the Afinia, but that heat bed, and nobodies’ stepping up to relieve -my- worries. Bre’s statement sure didn’t…

      That heat bed, is it close enough to…

      Is that (their legal argument) close enough to the one I just bought?

      From what I’ve heard and especially that “new coverage” in that “new bill” about protecting the end user… If it’s “new coverage” it probably doesn’t already exist!!! And even then, it’s only if the seller -chooses- to accept that responsibility on behave of the end user..

      It sounds like: If someone sold you an infringing device, even if you don’t know it’s infringing, it sounds like they can file against -you-. A school, a library, a therapeutic clinic (?can you see where I’m going?)

      With a copy machine they could shut this whole segment down, with just a change of address and jurisdictions to file… And they probably got rooms full of copy machines. The big ones… If that’s not enough, they can rent some… Run ‘um day and night…

      Or at least “significantly disrupt it”… To pry open the market..

      If they feel that they’ve had enough “mainstream coverage” to reach the “mass market public”, they have no moral obligation nor legal reason not to do it… At any time…

      Individual board members can (be moral, have ethics), and depending, I think, somewhere in their specific charter, it may state specific moral duties and other obligations, and they (the board) can vote on specific written rules of ethics, but in general, they (legal corporations) don’t…

      Not that they(in general)’d be entirely successful, it’d be a game of “wack a mole”(tm?) but if they can justify the expense, they sure as ( word ) will try… Going after the bigger ones first…

      Forget an “afinia defense fund”, perhaps we should start a -FOUNDATION-…

      We -all- might need protection…

      …Well, at least the bigger ones first…

      …the ones in make magazine’s new “shoot out” for example…


      This -might- be serious!

      It’s very possible I’m not the only one that’s crazy!

      Then again, “I’m not a lawyer”, maybe I don’t understand…

  28. johnny says:

    Seriously… the position he’s taken isn’t exactly new, or unforeseen. Makerbot is just a machine. Use it or don’t use it — I don’t care — but thinking that a machine, or a company, would fulfill your socio-cultural ideals is just absurd.

    I like using a Bridgeport because it’s sturdy and has a reliable motor, but I don’t expect it to act in a spiritually uplifting way (though sometimes it surprises me).

    Open-source hardware is great, but predicating what you will make or not make on somebody else’s ability to uphold your own mores is just foolish.

    Bre has (obviously) failed to uphold the open-source mantra he originally claimed to subscribe to. This was obvious two years ago. WHO CARES?

    The only moral center you can ever rely on in this world is your own. Use it to build cool stuff, or don’t.

    Former Makerbotters: I’m sorry your jobs were so unbearable, now please stop griping about it. Incidentally, how many of you enjoy the privilege of being white, male, middle-class, and college-educated? Your lives… they are SO hard!

    Former Thingiversers: I’m sorry it wasn’t what you’d hoped it would be. You put your trust in an online repository, and y’all got screwed. If only this had SOME sort of precedent.

    1. blueshift says:

      Just in case the socio-cultural and future creations remarks fall towards me I feel it might be helpful if I mention that a “straw man” is a an informal fallacy based on a misrepresentation.

      Does that make more sense? I’m not talking to or about Stratasys or makerbot I’m talking through them, and mis representing their perceived slight, for rhetoric effect to highlight other tangentially related issues.

      Informal arguments are not very persuasive, mine aren’t presented in convince you, think of it like I’m blowing hot air, if your disposed then maybe they will have sufficient lift to carry you.. if not you’ll just smell my bad breath. PU

      If your thinking I’m talking about -this- machine, or -that- company, then you don’t overstand the nature of my comment, and that is totally fine, I just figured I mention this clarification just in case you were under some misapprehension that my words were meant to effect their change

      Regardless, I sincerely apologize for wasting -your- time.

      1. johnny says:


        If I intended to direct my comments towards you, I would have replied to your comment.

        Anyway, apology accepted!

    2. Tyson Haverkort says:

      Read the answer to “WHO CARES” in the rest of the comments.

      1. blueshift says:

        Who cares?

        Yes, who cares?

        For me I don’t care about this machine, or that company. Although I now regret using my voice to build their brand.

        What I do care about is the danger of sycophants who leverage a moral idealism to build their position then once in place, repay that tribute with platitudes while their benefactor places a knife on our collective throat.

        I’m not surprised, I’ve watched the machinations of politics for most of my life, this is not unusual behavior..

        If some one thinks this lawsuit’s fall out is limited to the parties directly involved, you simply don’t understand how this game is played… In my diatribe, confused rumblings, or however you decide to call out my obviously tortured prose, I painfully paint this position.

        It (stratasys’ legal position) clearly telegraphs their intention to all future investors in this emerging market segment that they have no moral compunction in poisoning the well-spring of human invention with loosely based claims of entitlement, because the have the legal right and sufficient financial backing to.

        I care, because I find this disturbing, not because I find this surprising. It’s more disturbing specifically because this a normalized and even respected behavior.

        If I had seen hitlers drive into Poland, I doubt I would have been surprised especially considering their obvious military buildup, but I’m pretty sure I would have been disturbed, and I like to think I would have turned to the others around me and tried to point out what this action surely was intended to mean.

        (Again I weaken my argument with abstruse hyperbole, but it’s there for those who have capacity and willingness to admit it)

        I’m sure it’s probably obvious that I could go on and on about why I’m not surprised,

        Personally, I find some comfort trying to imagine that Bre didn’t know where it was heading, or why the grooming, “grown up” advice was whispered as reasons into his ear.

        “This is what we do, this is how it’s done, you want to be successful don’t you? We can position you for profitability, think of how comfortable your employees will be … Sign here on this dotted line, think of what good you’ll be able to do with all this money!”

        Makerbot was once the pride of the community, growing tall, squarely pointed straight into the sky. But then something happened, alarm bells began to sound. They started veering off course, and now they’ve crashed directly into my back yard. Spewing filth and poisoning that which us creatives drink from:

        Humanities’ shared creative intelligence. Some call it representational language, other demean it by subjugating It to patentable ideas.

        Not that I can effectively do anything about it, right now, other than complain and move my targets farther down range.

        Back to the drawing board…

        I don’t blame Bre without knowing his condition, personally, I’m very much directly borne of the benefit from the idealization of financial capital and a material son of billion dollar deals. If I had been in his position, I’m sure my many mistakes would have gone very different ways; I’m sure they would have been numerous and possibly even far more catastrophic, so I don’t limit fallibility purely to him.

        I don’t hold him some higher moral standard, this development just, simply, makes me sick.

        I care, not because I’m in least bit surprised. I care because I’m disturbed. I remark on it not because I believe my protests will have any direct effect.

        I remark on it because it’s just that: remarkable.

  29. Karl says:

    If you watch any of the early MakerBot videos, Bre constantly states that he started the company to bring manufacturing back to the people and out of the mega corporations, now he has climbed into bed with three of the biggest company’s in their respective fields, namely, Microsoft (who made it big through theft and manipulation), Amazon (who are trying to control the entire online marketplace), and now Stratasys (who low and behold are using underhanded methods to control the 3D printer market, which has now been expected to become a $5 Billion a year market (gee I wonder why they are NOW trying so hard to control it).

    As of the beginning of this year, 3D printing was still considered very much a fad, now that it has grown so far so fast whomever controls it controls the future of marketing and capitalization, and since we were all so kind to provide Billoins of dollars worth of free R&D to MakerBot they were the prime target to purchase, after all, if you look at 3D printer purchases, MakerBot is top for desktop 3D printers, (mainly because these days most people don’t have the skill or knowledge to handle the assembly of a RepRap or derivative) since mankind has become so dependant on convenience.

    We are all to blame, but we are also the solution, we need to fight back, the best way to do so is for everyone who has a 3D printer to use it to print a 3D printer for a friend (plastic parts free of charge) and then help with the cost of the vitamins and electronics, sit down and help your friend assemble the printer, teach them what they need to know, and have them pay it forward.

    If we dilute the market so much with RepRaps and RepStraps, Starasys and MakerBot won’t have a market to control and all their Patents will be worthless.

    Stop greed with sharing, that is what open source stands for, and if you stand for open source, you now know haw to save it.

  30. blueshift says:

    Bre, directly,


    I want to make sure you understand that I carry no malice, you didn’t file this, it was effectively filed on your behalf and I’d like to imagine if you had any say whatsoever you would probably ask them to think of some kind of open source exception or exemption?

    ( “shrug” )

    you are in an unprecedented place to do unimagined good. This is a vast land of unknown unknowns ( please try to remember that, although I imagine you are already quite aware )

    Compromise is a part of life. You will most likely have to do much more of it, if you’re to make it all the way through. Depending on how the deal was structured, If you’re too “difficult” they’ll be disposed to replace you. These earlier days and months and years (depending on how long you last), it’s important to take priorities and fortify meaningful programs quickly. Try to give them roots, seriously do whatever you can do.

    Haven’t read too deeply into the specific but that New York City school printer program sounds impressive and, deeply, I’m pleased, this is great!!! Get them in libraries, set them up in book shops, coffee houses, hospitals, therapy clinics, wherever they (“the deciders”) concede a (rational / reasonable) need!!! Find co-sponsors, court benefactors, meet your stakeholders, do what ever it is you have to do!

    And about robohand!! I’d swear, but I restrain myself, I’m tempted to say “that’s ( something ) great!!!!” And really that’s all I can say, speechless, and this, this is after all of those words, right on!

    And thingiverse! My ( word ) thingiverse! I’ll follow it as long as you let me, just please don’t cut off my RRS feed.

    And if you do: “hey man, if that’s your bag”

    I probably won’t post there until it’s function is made “in perpetuity” clear… Maybe something to do with a partnership with public libraries? ( I understand you may have constraints based on how the deal was formally structured and the insuring organizational integration passes through. I warn, the lawyers are already laying claims to it, whatever you can do to protect it must be done quickly! I’m not kidding! … But if you can’t, cest la vi? )

    Forget the #tag but that slew of math objects was beautiful!! That’s great! Keep it up!! Enable other people to similare runs! Whatever you think! Educational models and analog computers are great! Keep it up!

    It’s most likely that you (well, makerbot, and hopefully you) will become the market leader for years to come. THIS IS A GOOD THING, A VERY, VERY, VERY, GOOD THING,, ( would have been, “great” if it’d been able to hold onto those “roots” a bit better, nourishment is easier with roots — to those others listening, it could have been much much worse)

    It makes me proud(? Or some other word ?) it, this era, will have “open source roots”

    This is a rough patch, and it’s gonna be hard, but I honestly think there’s a chance that you already have or can find a “real clue”.

    Again, Don’t be afraid to compromise, it’s how the “most of us” get through.

    Know that I personally, honestly, and sincerely love you, no mater what you do… Even if you screw it up.

    ( well, pretty much, I mentioned Poland, that, things like that, -you- shouldn’t do… I have limits to my un-conditional love… And for even that, don’t forget mr. Schindler and the operation Valkyrie. There can be benefits in “playing along” )


    As for me, I’m on a boycott! ( at least until you have something I really need… )

    Realistically, a boycott until Statssys makes their patent intention explicitly clear regarding open source and other DIY users (not limited to home users) would only be effective if organizations like Make, Adafruit, Sparkfun and others tow a common line; Make might be able to do it alone and draw others in but that’s pretty unlikely. (That they’d do it)

    I would definitely have reason to go along if it had that kind of support. Honestly, my individual boycott would would just make fulfilling my immediate needs that much harder… ( I’m a realist, sad face )

    As I’ve hopefully repeat ad nauseam, my remarks are not directed at you, they are directed at a more general historic situation. They may sting as you are in the direct line of fire, although you had to expect it, you’ve been down this road before, but now you’ve got hundreds of millions of dollars in the line and hopefully staring into billions. That’s the stakes of this game.

    I’ve probably got a couple more rants left in me then I’ll settle down and head back to sleep, it might be a while before enough of us wakes up. (Sad face)

    (I will stop if some one asks me to, but I will try to reply if there’s someone other with sincere interest)



  31. Joel Ewy says:

    1. The patent system is fundamentally broken. It may have made some sense when mass-production was the only game in town. Mass-production democratized consumption. But desktop manufacturing technologies like 3D printers, laser cutters, and small-scale CNC make possible the democratization of crativity, innovation, and whole new forms of glocalized economic activity. But if DIY becomes a minefield of litigation, that promise could become severly attenuated. People will not quickly buy and use tools like 3D printers if they have to constantly be looking over their shoulders for fear that some industrial-age dinosaur is going to crush them with intellectual property claims. We can’t all afford patent lawyers, and a future of mass-innovation can’t coexist with patent laws that only protect the status quo. In the long run, patents as presently conceived are not Makerbot compatible.

    2. Predictable or not, for a company that initially marketed itself as a proponent of Open Source, and a friend and collaborator of the hobbyist, the do-it-yourselfer, and the small innovator, to become an apologist for the bully tactics of Industrial litigants still seems like a betrayal. Patents aren’t really about innovation, they’re an attempt to rest on one’s laurels. They’re about admitting you can’t play the game on your own merits, so you have to pay lawyers to hobble everybody else. There are cultural values in the maker / hacker / DIY community, and for many, hoarding information, technologies, and processes is a real violation of trust, especially by those who have benefitted from the collaborative efforts of the community. Makerbot would not be where it is today if it hadn’t initially cultivated the good will and active collaboration of many. One of the most exciting things about desktop manufacturing technologies is that there are still plenty of opportunities for ordinary people to contribute to the state of the art. But lawsuits make us afraid to contribute. They squelch innovation. People don’t innovate, create, or buy 3D printers when they are afraid. For very human, if not rational reasons, Makerbot Industries once symbolized the empowerment of the little guy. This is why it feels like such a slap in the face to see their name associated with the heavy-handed tactics of wealthy establishment interests.

    3. My Thing-O-Matic will be producing RepRap parts in 2014, not just for myself, but for others who could potentially be Makerbot customers. And I will look more seriously into a FilaBot. I will also be building a Lasersaur Open Source laser cutter that I will be able to maintain myself without vendor lock-in. The post-industrial desktop manufacturing revolution is far too important to be allowed to wither on the vine. It is, by its very nature, more about open source practices than proprietary technologies. It is as much about collaboration as it is about competition. It is inherently DIY. “No User Serviceable Parts Inside” makes no sense when it comes to tools that are all about bringing manufacturing capabilities to the individual and the small group. These tools have no purpose if they’re not about making your own, and not being dependent on the big boys to do everything for you. A 3D printer represents nothing more than independence from the Industrial Paradigm.

    4. Patent suits by conventional mass-production manufacturers over desktop manufacturing technologies are actually quite a bit like the Luddites trying to keep mass-production from happening in the first place. The old guard knows its days are numbered — that its whole modus operandi will eventually become untenable — and it is striking out at its usurpers with whatever tools it has left. The difference is that the Luddites didn’t have the law on their side, while Industrialism has ensured that the law works only to its benefit. But I believe that the mass-production/mass-consumption economy has largely run its course, and a new economy based on massively distributed, individually customizable, desktop-manufacturing-powered micro-enterprises will gradually take its place. People are tired of having to do more work for the same pay, and being employed at the pleasure of big companies that are only keeping them on till they can find a way to automate or outsource them into irrelevance. They’re tired of being passive consumers, and they’re tired of being interchangeable cogs in the wheel. Desktop manufacturing technologies are what will allow workers to lay off their employers. I think this will eventually come to pass, one way or another. It would be a shame if it takes civil disobedience before we see that day, but this post-industrial revolution is too critical to the future of humanity for ill-conceived and obsolete laws to stamp it out.

  32. blueshift says:

    Alright, here is goes, hopefully it hits it’s mark…

    (Even if you are tired of my long winded, tedious, rambling, previous comments, and this one is too, you might want to check this one out. Of course, to some, I’m obviously delusional based on my previous comments but it might show a start of a way we might make it out)

    (And Bre, hopefully you’ll make it to the end, (it starts out kind of harsh) of this unnecessarily long comment (I’m obviously not a very good editor) , and -consider- opening the doorway I present to you at the end.

    Personally I feel it -really- might be a way for us all (stratasya very much included) to eventually get out of this whole mess. Of course it’s up to you… If not you then perhaps some other open source leaders may recognize what I offer that might have some value)

    Honestly, if Bre -really- thinks this is a all “just a game” to be individually successful (as a singular person or as a company) then we may have already lost.

    If he had a clue in how to play it (their game), he would have said something like: (with absurdity added intentionally)

    “I understand the community’s concern, we recognize the different systems of value in these separate cultures, and we’re doing our best to reconcile those while remaining mutually profitable…

    …This is difficult as corporations desire to purely accumulate more and more money rather than construct things of mutual value.

    (Lasting shared value to them is just an un intended invisible hand to their immediate self interest) …

    We’re “trying our best” to harmonize these very different cultures, but it’s complicated by the fact that the legal space that corporations operate in don’t have an obligation to regard moral arguments as having justifiable merit in making economic decisions.

    We are “actively” trying to argue a case for a more moral treatment of the community but, …”

    Then keep making apparently thoughtful yet empty statements to placate the outrage, rather than just legal platitudes about forward looking statements, all the while running out the clock… Preparing and filing more lawsuits, shutting out more competition… Gaining more control over larger markets.

    (Well, technically they are competing over a market they are actively shrinking by dissuading other investment, but as the segment is naturally predisposed to grow the net effect is a larger market, but by a smaller amount — yay, self consistent, so called rational actors who are really acting irrationally when you look at them from a larger system model or intuitive scale, (both by size and balance))

    After the next round of legal action:

    “We at makerbot are disheartened by these more recent lawsuits filed by our parent corporation against members of the community now, rather than just the importers that directly compete against them in the professional space, but we are still “actively” trying to advocate and argue…”

    Then announce “open source exemptions” to “valuable” patents that are mere months away to running out, or have some other issue that limits their effective value, for example maybe unimplementable without patents that aren’t covered by the exemptions … Painting them magnanimous in their generosity..

    “We are really excited by the opportunities that we’ve enabled by enacting these exceptions! Stay tuned! There’s more to come!

    We understand that it’s been a long and difficult process but we feel we’re making “some real progress” in helping our parent corporation understand the benefit of pursuing things of actual meaningful, long term, mutually-benefiting value (profit rather than profit, wealth in addition to wealth) rather than mindlessly, without regard to the destructive potential for (all our) shared future, desperately grabbing for larger numbers on this quarter’s account ledger…”

    Maybe once he figures out how to play their game?


    Yes, what -they- are playing at, they may see as a “game” with rational, observable, constant rules … I understand it’s possible you may really actually lack a moral center and blindly agree with them, I don’t know you … Regardless of your character, intention, or lack thereof, what “we” enabled -you- to do is something far more important… You may not know what a karmic debt is but I suggest you might want to look it up…. (Not as an actual theological idea, but as a pop culture reference). You may not concede, but we made a deal with you to put you where you are and I’ll be the first one to admit it wasn’t written to be made clear nor -legally- binding.

    (In my allegory, Thingiverse is very much a large and ever growing, economically useful, portion of western Poland; as is our -morally-, albeit not currently legally enforceable, just claim (as in moral justice) to -our- community’s intellectual property)

    Like I said, I pretty much expect you to screw it up and generally compromise this current “lebensraum” into their “generalplan ost”… But maybe you -are- disposed to protecting our homes, and our future’s children, and for those and them maybe you’ll decide to give it a bit of a try? (See farther below)

    (They — the boards of both companies — are probably not currently of one mind on this but if you look deep and really listen you might begin to see what I mean. They (those board members and their lawyers and accounts whispering in their ears) design to “maximize the profit in accepting the risk to acquire thingiverse as an asset of makerbot” … If only they knew what that meant…)


    Personally, as long as you continue to make meaningful attempts to put forward and implement programs that have the potential long lasting good (like robohand), I’m very willing to help -you- improve your sycophantic rhetoric, to make that easier.. (Like I said I emphasized things the way I did above for absurd effect) … Even at the risk of by doing so I may continue contributing to the building of an irresponsible monster.. I’ve already made the investment in your brand, I’m not opposed to continuing that investment. Although -my- investment is right now at a short term loss…

    Short term loses are justifiable if there’s a real chance at long term gain. By making the concessions you already have, you’re positioned to do even more significant good, but you must be willing to attempt to effect a culture of change from that position.

    It’s easier to focus on doing good when you’re not being continually attacked and reminded of how you’ve failed to remain entirely pure, none of us are (well, I’m not) it’s draining and demoralizing. (Well, if you’re one of those who has morals to begin with, again, I recognize that apparently not all of us do)

    Personally I’m interested in maximizing whatever opportunities of good value through this stage of human evolution, regardless of our current condition. Like I said before, your position in partnership with a real market leader who has considerable capital resources is an opportunity to do more lasting good then platitudes and tail chasing game-play, if you all (stratasys and makerbot’s boards) just knew how to use it. (…Again see below)

    Again, like I’ve said, I recognize that human suffering is going on and will continue long into the future, and as much as I would like it all to disappear in an instant there will be need for ongoing compromise.

    Something about a shadowy valley and death? (Depends on the language of your belief system)

    With you, and for them (the future’s children) I am willing to comprise, as long as you clearly understand my position…

    I really want you (all) to make billions upon billions (long scale, 12 zeros), but my aim in that goal is considerably higher…

    Money is fruit from some tree, the fruit maintains life but it’s the tree’s persistence and continued well being that enables the fruit to keep growing… (The name of that tree depends on the language of your individual belief system, to some it’s a river)

    I’d be willing to help you, Especially if our community’s other popular leaders (Make, Adafruit, Sparkfun, etc..) turn out to not be interested in joining together to build “a foundation” to protect and defend our “moral property”…

    If they do, and organize a boycott on sales and marketing to apply legal economic leverage on stratasys through makerbot, (currently I would recommend limiting a boycott to sales and direct marketing, and only if that doesn’t work start ratcheting back on co-sponsored programs and other secondary brand building advocation) I would support -that- while doing ever bit my best to help -you- (the moral you), as long as you (the generic you) continue to try and effect good…

    Somehow a reference to Emerson and his inconsistent hobgoblins goes here?

    …. Enough with the preamble already…

    They (stratasys) have probably over extended themselves, they’ve extended a relatively large outlay (again I don’t know the details) on you their investment, they have pressures to recoup those costs. At this stage they (and every company who wants to enter this market) can’t reach the mass market consumer without leveraging the the tinkering makers… The current usability is just not ready for “everyday joe” at a sellable price point. Yet. We’re heading to that point…

    They played their hand with afinia too early and telegraphed their intentions, demonstrating what they are morally and legally capable of and fully willing to do because they are currently over a barrel, and the more perilous their financial position becomes the more they will lash out.. (Turning thingiverse into a prostitute for example)

    Even if they decide to back down on afinia, we (the part of the community that cares about protecting our life from future legal entanglements) are still in a clear position to build a foundation to serve as a basis to leverage clear legal statements about what legal action they are willing and not willing to do to (and for, see below) us open source DIY people who pretty much built the entire market they paid so dearly for. Their bet on continued financial success by entering this new market.

    Not as an act of extortion for merely our own protection, but as a basis of shared interest. From that base, our shared interest, and their continued prominence as the market leader. From there we could mutually leverage other “players” to understand the benefit of shared rather than individual intellectual protection…

    Possibly boot strapping our way out of this patent hell… Building a recognized and successful open source protected patent pool…

    It’s important to recognize that there is an opportunity here, they’ve shown us what they are capable of, how far they are willing to go, but they can’t easily recoupe their investment in a reasonable time frame without our help… Others entering the market won’t be able to leverage the maker movement as easily as they (stratasys) could with makerbot

    unless they, stratasys, decides to kill off or significantly damage its ties with us (the makers) by exerting immoral pressure… Like they are doing right now…

    Their position is slipping, their cash flows aren’t favorable, blah, blah, blah, market related gobbledygook and other mumbo-jumbo, their forecasts don’t look good and makerbot is an enormous bet on future growth as long as they develop and maintain it enough to reach the approaching market. It hasn’t opened yet and they reach, leveraging their financial resources, exposing them to risk, to meet it through makerbot.

    If the makerbot bet fails for them they stare into a kind of receding financial darkness tumbling brandless into a race to the bottom.

    In their game theory, they are in a weakened position which means us “peons”, us makers, are in a position to build a foundation, a fulcrum, to leverage negotiation.. And build a mutually benefiting relationship with a real partner…

    They offer us protection and we add value to their brand… The brand is what’s the real scarcity here for them (stratasys) and going forward… Not their legal entitlements.


    We might even have a partner on the inside.

    (Although we might be currently frustrated by how he got there, through sacrifice and compromise, like, I assume most of us)

    Hey Bre! Here’s where I’m trying to show you a way out…

    Through this doorway…

    You could start on this path even if Make, Adafruit, Sparkfun, and others decide you’re their good old friend and don’t feel good trying to boycott and pressure you because of what statsays is doing on your behalf.

    Or you all could start negotiating terms before a boycott… You really need to protect and rebuild your brand.

    This capital foundation should be an independent organization outside of makerbot though with a clear moral position

    If ever there was a time for -this-, it appears to be now..



    Or am I just a Fool shouting crazy reason… From this place so close to the edge…

  33. blueshift says:

    Ok, it may take a time before “we” hear from the “deciders”…

    (a decision analysis term I learned at least a year before that guy said it, from a book that was probably written earlier… That’s what the decider is called, it’s called a decider, in different organizations the decider is a person, some vote in majority, in others it’s a machine…)

    Kind of a lot to sink in… (My proposal in general, and I guess that bit too, but I’m more referring to the stuff I’ve been going on, and on, and on, about)

    But in the mean time, here’s a short list of stakeholders, what I see as a set logical set of founding member organization, from my place over here… (Doesn’t need to be limited to organizations..)

    Aside from the first three, the catalyst and the two reagents, in no particular order.

    Please, “leave them in the comments”? If you can think of any more?

    What about you?

    Is it worth the time to maybe think about it for even but a single moment? Maybe ask others if it’s of worthy to think there might be an ever slim chance, given the state we are currently and to wherever -you- might want to advance?

    Is there a “chance” of -this- working? Is it worth imagining what it’d might be like to give it a try?

    Pass it on…

    To quote myself: (you probably don’t want to be subjected to all of it)

    Modern physics amplifies Newtonian mechanics, it doesn’t replace it. Imagine how much progress we’ve made in past hundreds years with accepting such, on the surface, apparently irrational claims… (Sic)

    Of course, you know, I could go on, and on, and on… And on and on, and on… (And did, where I cut it from)

    It’s quite possible that we are actually on the verge of a new kind of economy. Look at these machines, lots of us have by now imagined the very real (do I need to stress this? Robohand isn’t just some “useful trinket”) possibilities, and even that is “just the tip.” And these are only the machines that help make the other machines, they’re -more- helpful, specially if -we- build them for “us”.

    (I could mention the public talk in high places about “bitcoin” and not in the usual derision! Kind of a sign there’s some kind of changing of economy? In the traditional sense.

    Of course, it’s not only about 3d printers, that’s just what this current historical situation is about)

    Something changing, we may be in another “axial age”. Where the old rules don’t apply and something new is just about to fly. (Hey, that rhymed)

    Where and for how do you want you axis to lie? (That one did too, but the phrasing might seem awkward)

    On a solid foundation of fair moral reason? (Or however you phrase it… How do -you- phase that?)

    Or continued flailing on what we have today…

    The choice is not only mine, it’s -entirely- yours:

    Maybe let these named (and whatever others you can think of) stakeholders know if you think there’s value in sowing interest?

    It may be some time before we hear a formal reply….


    ( the name is just a working title, I’m not sure what exactly would fit and still be globally recognizable )

    Possible, probable ( some word ) Capital Foundation Members:



    “The Tinkering Maker”





    RepRap foundation

    Linux Foundation

    Open Source Hardware foundation

    Hacker spaces

    Tech shop

    Google (already has some exemptions?)

    Electronic Frontier Foundation



    (In case I’m not being clear, I’m not limiting my appeal to merely humans, for example corporations aren’t, at the very least they consist of a board … Of course there are more…)


    It’s in Your hands. Me, I think I’m going to have a laydown.. Let me know what you think…

    Anyway, thanks for listening, I think I might feel a -little- better. Thanks!

    lee douglas

    1. ObviousShill says:

      Hey man, that sounds kinda cool. Although a lot of what you said is really confusing… Not sure if it’s doable, sounds pretty complicated.

      Maybe you should put together an elevator pitch? Did you have to make it so darn long?

      Good luck!

      1. blueshift says:

        Why so long?

        Well, I was talking about a lot of tangentially related issues in this historical situation. About many things, to many people, with different languages and experiences, and through them trying to describe another set of historical situations, depending on the relation of the listener…. And their context… Allowing for transference and diffusion. (Hopefully?)

        Kind of a tensor analysis with a change of basis in space time relativity..

        From one geometric space to another… If I’ve got the terms right… (Rusty on the jargon) Depends on your metric, and and how the conic section from your event horizon on your world line intersect.. Lots of these intersections combine to make a shape on a larger universal superstructure, an overarching worldline of history.

        The distribution of event probabilities in the region from the world lines to its event horizons effects the predisposition in the order in the sequence of historical situations.

        My offering this solution has changed the probability of the outcome..

        That I waved my hands around screaming so enough people might notice on a message board that has the marketing sense to sell an idea like this, with an article written by an Adafruit player, in an interview with the figurehead of the one in position to make “real change” (Both in terms of the metaphysical empowerment and the real money to be made) to notice it:

        I increase the odds?

  34. blueshift says:

    Echo, this is narcissus,

    I love you!

    And I’m trying my best to find you…

    1. blueshift says:

      Darn it, that last line probably should have been

      “I’m trying the -reach- you”

      (So sorry to everybody about wasting you time, but I figured I should fix it right away… I think I’ll shut up now, I’m getting tired of hearing my own voice, thanks again for letting me vent… Ok -now- I’ll lay down)

  35. Pete Cook says:

    There is another approach.

    #1 – Start documenting everything that Makerbot/Stratsys claims in their patents and also document the prior art. And also document how they did not properly describe that prior art. If they failed to properly document prior art then that is just grounds to ask for the invalidation of their patent. The patent reviewers are in over their heads in many fields and have issued bad patents numerous times. The problem is that a company like Statsys has the funds to afford lawyers to help them violate the spirit and intent of the patent system.

    #2 – Refuse to buy products from Makerbot/Statsys. If they are going to screw us over, then why should we have to help fund them to screw us over?

    1. ObviousShill says:

      Yes! That’s leverage!

      Cut their legs out from under them through invalidation, and shrink their customer base! They have ongoing expenses to maintain, make it unprofitable for them!

      Drive them to ruin, flaunt their argument, get them to file more lawsuits, draw them out.. Pain and suffering is and will go on. Let it be theirs!

      If they sue our small business, open the doors to more!

      Shame them until they see the error of their ways (if they carry sufficient wisdom ) …

      Then offer a hand of warm friendship once they comply, dust them off, show them it really is better if we got along and they used their might to protect -their-customers rather than savage them..

      Until then,

      Make them bleed in expense and shrunken revenue…

      Make them wither and die (financially) if they refuse to admit reason is more valuable then law!


      This isn’t to protect afinia, it’s very likely they would do the same to us if they had their way, odds are good they play the same “game”.. If they choose to join us in -our- defense, gladly accept.

      If they don’t submit, burry them.. Take -them- down too!

      This is leverage, it’s a part of their game…

      Let the dissension be wide, let it be known. This is unacceptable. Tell everyone you know to add to their shame!

      But perhaps build a way for them to join with us if they decide it’s better to protect their brand. Offer them a mutually beneficial way out…

      Build in a back door.

      1. blueshift says:

        And place that lever on a fulcrum

        To maximize the efforts of that work..

        Remember the mechanical efficiency:

        A lever has greatest advantage when the fulcrum is placed close to the point of resistance, with effort a long handle away…

        Like I said they overvalued the current returnable value of makerbot in the short term, they are in a weakened position.

        They are in risk of not meeting market expectations, especially with their interference actively shutting down >their own market<… Therefore leverage will be more successful in general, but with a properly placed fulcrum you can maximize the pressure..

  36. blueshift says:

    Market failure

    Their (strata-bot’s) non competitive policy is actively restricting the growth of their customer base by dissuading development.

    Their customers need to feel like they can develop designs without hanging fear on their endeavors.

    They need to feel like there is some acceptable level of safety to produce economic development.

    If designers are afraid to design, because their -vendor- is threatening them, who buys the vendors product?

    … (Know your place, vendor!)

    Would you shop at a store that attacked you as soon as you approached them? Or beat you once you came in the door? Or would you take your business elsewhere?

    Put aside your petty claims, defend your customer, those who gladly are there to give you money!

    Show reason!

  37. blueshift says:

    Moral hazard:

    They don’t recognize the nature of the information asymmetry..

    They believe they have more information in the economic transaction then we do

    They are wrong.

    We understand ourselves better then they do.

    They fundamentally don’t understand the market they entered. They don’t know how to act rationally.


    It may sound like they know what they are talking about as experienced businessmen, but they have never dealt with a customer base like us! We aren’t the slow moving design firms of major industry they’ve built their business model servicing…

    Our cycle is fast, they expect a principle that moves slower.. They need to be informed!

    They think they have more information in the transaction, but they don’t. That misapprehension is exposing all of us to considerably increased risk

    Be wary of their advice!

  38. blueshift says:

    Moral symmetry,

    By attempting to leverage their information asymmetries in maximizing their position

    And trying to determine what they see as the acceptable risk approaching their moral hazard:

    They are making traditional linear approximations on the properties of their customer base. The maker is not a traditional linear market.

    Although a single element may behave linearly: (a single maker)

    It (the makers in general ) and the tangentially created markets (the markets that the makers create, like customer facing 3d printers, open source avionics, robohand, and other yet to be revealed markets) don’t have in aggregate those linear properties.

    They attempt to manipulate from their position in the overall market in a way that they think the market can support to maximize their profit..

    This is their game.

    Based on predictions that don’t allow for the actual probability of the outcomes. They don’t know what the probable outcome is; their projection is based on what their expected outcome is, based on expected behavior…

    Their projections and expectations in determining maximizing behavior is based on linear projections from antiquated models.

    (I use the term “linear” as a pop culture reference, not in it’s pure mathematical definition, it’s more complicated than that )

    They don’t know how this market behaves, they can’t judge the expected behavior.

    By acting immorally they are limiting the profit available that they can derive from doing business…

    Again I warn you, They don’t know what they are doing!

    They don’t understand the rules of the game…

    Their expected outcomes diverge because what they determine as normal behavior does not fit expectation.

    We are playing a different game.
    Our game is not their legal one, it is our moral one..

    1. Brett says:

      @blueshift, I’ve been following all of your posts… and while I don’t understand them all (sorry your vocabulary is an order of magnitude larger than mine), I do agree that we can’t just sit around idle and do nothing. However without knowing what exactly Stratasys’ long term goals are for the hobbyist/consumer 3D printer market it’s hard to know what we should do. It’s easy to boycott MakerBot and Stratasys, but not so easy to get the message out to every school, library and every person that watches Katie Couric. All they see is the smiling face of MakerBot and they haven’t invested the time to look into all of these hidden historical details. Personally I would just like to see the maker community embrace open source 3D printers, and when they close up their sources… find a new open source 3D printer to support. Adafruit claims they would sell an open source 3D printer if they could find one with good support, but as soon as they chose to back the next open source 3D printer company I think they will find that the community will rally to support that company and help support them. in turn that company will grow and their support will evolve and get better, just like MakerBot did. Hopefully they will stay open source and not patent the communities inventions unlike MakerBot did. I think Ultimaker and Printrbot are great examples of dedicated open-source companies. It would also be worthy for someone like Adafruit and Sparkfun to agree with these companies up front that they will help them promote their brand and products so long as they remain open-source. I would also like to see MakerShed label all of their 3D printer options more clearly as Open Source or Closed Source. For the average consumer “open source” might not mean much, that’s why companies like Make, Adafruit and Sparkfun need to speak up and show more clearly why it is important. Open Source needs more Hype!

      1. blueshift says:

        You’re right,

        A boycott won’t be effective without the participation of organizations like Adafruit Sparkfun and Make… Stratabot’s resellers and brand development partners.

        They are the mechanism that stratabot (look whose conflating now) sees as short term venues of revenue.. They still need time to develop the product lines, and open more retail spaces to successfully mass market..

        They could seek shelf space in office supply stores and market solely though Kouric right now, but the income from that is marginal to the current revenue that they derive from selling to this community (a segment of the overall market)

        Currently, if they limit their market to the mass market they may sell volume in the short term because of the current hype but that volume will drop off as the average joe becomes frustrated by how fiddly it is. The mass market designs are not mature at a marketable price point.

        Ultimately by the time the mass market opportunities fully develop, those customers don’t care about “open source roots” other than a blurb on marketing literature.

        There is still a period before the mass market opportunity opens. This is -our- period of opportunity.

        By maintaining relation to this maker segment, they build a brand that is better positioned as marketable to the mass consumer. It’s transferable; it’s developed, it’s recognizable.. (“Oh, I’ve heard of those makerbots, their a market leader”)

        I want to be clear, I’m not trying to destroy their company, what I’m advocating is coercing them into making a mutually rational decision. An opportunity of lower risk for all parties.

        It’s better for both of us (the agent and the principal) if they continue selling to the makers.

        Like I said, ultimately a boycott only works if organizations like adafuit, sparkfun, make and the others that are actively giving comfort to stratabot’s threatening business practices decide to back away withdrawing their short term support in protest to stratabot’s position to threaten their (adafruit’s, sparkfun’s, et al) customer.

        Protecting their customers (MAS: make, adafruit, and sparkfun) is in their own interest.

        In this case they (MAS) are the deciders of action.. (Again this is a real term — that guy made up plenty of malapropisms but this isn’t one of them)

        They need to decide if it’s better to give comfort to a partner that is actively threatening their own current and future customers or if it’s better to protect their customers

        1. ObviousShill says:

          Boycott adafuit, spark fun and make until they decide to protect us!

          1. Brett says:

            In general I believe all three companies strive to “do what is right” by the community and provide a ton of value to us. Adafruit is very passionate about sharing and keeping their IP open to the community. I don’t think boycotting them will encourage them to “protect us”, and I’m not sure how they would even protect us because we don’t really know what will come of this lawsuit with Afina just yet… but we can certainly make our voices heard that we don’t approve of what is currently happening with Stratasys and MakerBot. We can however strongly encourage companies like Adafruit (currently only sell MakerBot), Make (Currently sells Ultimaker, Afina, Printrbot, Cube 3D, Ditto+, Shopbot, Orion Delta, Zen Toolworks, Felix and MakerBot) and Sparkfun (currently they only sell the Eggbot) to continue providing open-source solutions to the Maker Communities’ ever growing needs, and let them know we really REALLY appreciate them for it ;) <3

    2. blueshift says:

      A maker doesn’t make typewriters or rocketships. A maker creates creation…

      They don’t know what that means…

      They don’t understand their market, they don’t know how to behave!

  39. blueshift says:

    Afinia is a ticking bomb,

    What they (make, adafruit, sparkfun, ultimachine, printrbot and all the other open source, and closed source, firms that will be effected by the fallout) do is organize to either attempt to defuse the bomb before it explodes or organize to triage the fallout after it is decided…

    They can either wait and see, or prepare.

    If there was a missile with a warhead that’s already been fired, what’s the best course of action before it lands on its target?

    This is only the first volley. Their lawyers can file wave after wave, probably against all of the companies you mentioned, they are all in danger!

    What are the responsibilities of the communities’ leaders?

    Look up and stare waiting for the devastation to happen or do something or fortify defense? Build a foundation of shared protection…

  40. Karl says:

    We need to unite as a community, let’s take this out of the courts, and show the world that an open source way is the way of the future, let’s start a “Print it Forward” campaign, everyone with a 3D printer, use it to print another 2 printers, give them to friends, family or co-workers, help them with the electronics, all under the condition that they do the same. Stratasys and MakerBot survive only on the market purchasing their products, if we take away their market, we take their power, do you really think they have enough money (or even the audacity) to sue half the population (provided we can get that many units out there), if they did, do you think anyone would buy their products afterward?

    Stick together as a community, and show them what Open Source is really all about.

  41. blueshift says:

    Deeply conflicted

    Im having trouble deciding if I should submit some more unsolicited material that will either help explain some of the material I’ve offered, or confuse my position even more deeply…

    I sincerely don’t want to waste anyone’s time…

    I don’t want to overburden those who care and may be struggling to keep up with what I’m representing..

    And I don’t want to want to offend any who don’t care for my opinions, and wish I’d just shut up…

    It already feels like I’m monopolizing the discussion..


    Frustrated by this situation and frustrated by my frozen tongue…

    I don’t know how much more I should do, or how far should I go…

  42. Brett says:

    @blueshift I think part of the problem is that an insignificant amount of people see these comments unless they already read the article and posted a comment (and checked the “notify me of follow-up comments via email” box), i.e., this might not be the best place to rally the community. Perhaps the Adafruit forums or some reprap forums might be the best place? I am interested in your ideas of a foundation that serves to create IP and keep that IP accessible and open to the Maker community. I don’t know if it makes much sense to get patents on that IP though, because even then the Maker community wouldn’t have the funds to prosecute large corporations that infringe on that IP. Perhaps the CC BY-NC-SA licence (such as Printrbot uses would be an appropriate deterrent without investing a ton of time and money into something like patents. I suppose a large corp. could still just swoop in and nab up the communities’ IP and say, “catch me if you can (afford to)!” … but with a Foundation at work, a larger respected presence in the community could speak up and be heard about crimes committed against them, verses our desperate cries from the bottom of this “comment well”.

    1. blueshift says:

      Stratasys would get a disproportionately significant portion of the licensing revenue to motivate prosecution as a partner in the foundation.

      It’s their army of litigators, it’s their expenses, it’s their game… They want more IP to license and prosecute…

      We offer the foundation intellectual capital.

      They protect us.

      The foundation would authorize them (stratasys) to prosecute infringer… Perhaps Afinia first?

      Maybe a 80 20 split? (They get the 80%) They are familiar with that ratio.. Pareto efficiency is something they are seeking.

      The proposing and implementing of any plan is more effective if it comes from the inside (b)… With assistance from the outside. (p)

      remember so far this is a 400 million dollar deal, the returns are even greater.

    2. blueshift says:


      “Whim” from the well… (Feel free to look that up). Also used in mining…

      1. blueshift says:

        Carry my whim wherever it takes you.

  43. blueshift says:

    Axial age

    …Or maybe it’s like picking a spinning top up with a piece of string to carry it to another location…

    The top must be spinning and must continue to spin while being translocated… And the tension on the string requires sensitivity and it must be done with great care, but very much needs to be done quickly, or it all falls down..

    (Considering the season: “Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel”; although the traditional “dreidel” shape doesn’t seem to have a fine enough point to make it easy to pick up with string)

    That’s why I kind of like the term axial age. Never read the original work, could be horrible anthropological science, but I like the idea (in/e)’voked in the phrase.

  44. blueshift says:

    20 year development cycle

    (“Hey, it’s better then copyright!”)

    Does stratasys think that the desktop fabrication market and this ensuing revolution should be restricted by a 20year development cycle?

    Do they understand that this hurts and dissuades their makerbot customers? You know, the ones that made the designs that the current model is based on.. (Well, pretty much)

    How many customers do they want? More or less?

    Their traditional development cycle for a new model is probably a few years, they don’t understand how fast the cycles go in their customer base..

    It’s like the power band of a car, their idea is low rpm , lumbering along and that gives them the properties and probabilities to satisfy the customers they understand.

    The tinkering maker, has a different powerband. It’s a high rpm model, they aren’t building commercial automobiles, planes and oil tankers that take ages.

    These customers are fast, self organizing structures.

    Remember you paid quite a bit for this, you paid that, for a crumb of what this cake has to offer. -You- (stratasys) see this tiny opportunity in particular because it’s in your area of expertise..

    This is just a glimmer..

    Other things are going on in areas that you don’t understand. They are unknown unknowns…

    You don’t access -that- profit without enabling your customer…

  45. blueshift says:

    Markets want certainty

    Claims of Intellectual property lower certainty and the perception of increased risk.. This dissuades investment, and stunts growth.

  46. blueshift says:

    Our little top

    Is spinning out of control, it’s near the edge of something.. We either do something about it or it falls.. What are the odds, how will it fall…

    We can either keep nudging it back…

    but the safer bet, in the long run, would be to translocate (the thing with the string, that kids do) it rather than just keep nudging..

    -my- preference is to translocate it to a foundation of moral reason with enough abundance of naturally occurring intellectual capital (representational language) to successfully manage actually scarce naturally occurring resources..

    There is a good chance this particular set of events is probably the opportunity to lay the first brick of that foundation.

    If you want to leave it (the axis of the age) here surrounded by all this clutter, that’s your choice. I’ll go tumbling into the void with you… Like I said, I love you…

    I’m just trying to present an option (or more completely, a set of options, depending on the volition and interrelation of the deciders) that is probabilisticly favorable during this historic situation..

  47. blueshift says:


    Of course they aren’t looking for an exact 80/20 but they’ll recognize those numbers.

    80/20 is the ratio first observed by Pareto. (The Pareto principle) The actual ratio depends on the individual market and historic conditions. Various markets find optimization at different ratios.

    Ideally you approach optimal state from your current state by making small adjustments. You make an adjustment, look at the result. Observe the outcome and use that in determining the next adjustment. These are Pareto improvements to achieve optimization.

    (The federal reserve is making adjustments like this when they change the rates)

    Of course If you’re way out of wack, large adjustments are needed. (Currently stratasys is way out of wack)

    As Stratasys doesn’t know the market they are getting into, they are approaching it either in the manner that their culture has developed in servicing their current markets or they are trying to enter the market using models from other markets that they think are similar..

    (What they think is close enough, they are wrong)

    For example they might think that a model that was successfully developed in servicing a 2d printer market should be applicable… Or they are using some other model from some other consumer facing industry, or set of models to build a hybrid model..

    This market is unlike any other market.. Traditional models won’t directly apply..

    Again, consider what a maker makes.. Not only does a maker make things in the traditional sense, (doodads) a maker also makes Intelectual capital, IP, and very importantly (I don’t think I can stress this enough) a maker also makes new markets.

    They seem to be operating under the assumption that makers only make things.. And in general, statistically, they are right, but again Pareto says that 80% of your productivity comes from 20% of your effort..

    The makers who make generic things is the 80 in the market that is only returning 20… The 20 that are creating intellectual capital and developing new markets are returning 80…

    You get a larger return from the smaller segment, so if you don’t support that segment you’re going to underperform. This is what they are doing, they are trying to only service the 80 and throwing away the higher valued 20.

    Someone might say “well if the 20 is where most of the money is coming from why bother with the 80?” Well the reason is the segmentation isn’t clearly defined.

    A 80er might be going along just making things of small economic value, then one day decide to try building something new and this new thing might have more economic value. They are now in the 20 who are doing the more profitable activity.

    You don’t reach the totality of the 20 without enabling the 80. You support the market as a whole and the individuals move from segment to segment depending on what they are working in that day..

    (Like I said, Fast moving, self organizing)

    It may seem confusing, it may take time to soak in if your not already familiar with these concepts.

    You tube might be an example: there are a lot of videos. Let’s say that you’re going to YouTube and only 1% of the videos are relevant (probably much much smaller, but as an example) to you but you don’t get that 1% without enabling the 99% that are irrelevant. (To you)

    In this case I’m claiming Pareto optimal is 99/1 in this example rather than the generic 80/20..

    That 1% that is of higher value is not objective. A different 1% is higher value to each individual operating in the market..

    (As a popular point if reference: Some people think cat videos are highly valuable and include that in the 1, some don’t and think it’s in the 99)

    Back to using models to determine behavior (can also be described as a corporate culture)

    They (stratasys) may successfully force a model on the market, and they may even operate it at a profit return more moneys then it costs, but it won’t be efficient, and they won’t maximize their profit.

    In general a business wants to maximize their profit. Because they aren’t doing that, they are behaving irrational…


    Ask yourself if -you- want to maximize your profit… (The profit of your company) Ask the other board members if they want to maximize profit…

    If y’all don’t want maximum profit, and just want profit no mater how small, then by all means destroy the market alienate the higher value 20 and market only to the 80. (Personally I don’t recommend this)

    If you and they do want to maximize your profit, then another strategy is necessary.

    My model (the one I’m representing with the foundation) draws in the higher value 20 and also gives them more revenue streams. (Again a diversified portfolio is typically more stable and lower risk) They can sell printers and they can license an expanding pool of IP they don’t have to pay to develop..

    1. blueshift says:

      The “them” referred to in the last paragraph is stratasys. Stratasys gets more revenue streams,,a more diversified portfolio and gains access to IP that stratasys doesn’t have to pay to develop directly.

      I’ll try to be more clear… Essentially I’m sketching on a napkin so my lines won’t always be straight, but I’ll try to do better.

  48. blueshift says:

    Patent pool logistics

    The open source IP in this model is open for open source developers, their uncertainty is reduced when developing in the pool, but licensed to closed source developers. (Still plenty of them)

    I don’t think there is an explicit open source patent model currently. My understanding is that GPL BSD CC, and all those licenses are completely under copyright law.

    This foundation model would use the same existing patent legal framework but be administered and prosecuted by the foundation. (Bottom up regulation rather than wait for top down legislative reform)

    In general no new legal framework would need to be developed. Patents would be filed the same way, the patents would be either held by the foundation or licensed to it the way patents already are.

  49. Louis Roberts says:

    Could’a bought a 3D printer. Or a LOT of ’em. Or other stuff. Didn’t. Wrote a $10,000.00 check to the EFF, instead, and THIS DISCUSSION is the reason why. Principles are prime – toys are not on the page. Teach your kids that. It’s important. While you are about it, also teach them that it is not a good idea to defecate into one’s own water supply. Perhaps that lesson is for all large predators. I hope so. MAKERS, AWAKEN!

  50. openbeamusa says:

    “You can’t blame me, MakerBot or Stratasys for the patent system. What you can blame us for is creating products and working within the current system to make sustainable products that are innovative and powerful.”

    No, but we can blame Makerbot for trying to patent community originated ideas as their own:

  51. 3D printing patent war « adafruit industries blog says:

    […] We’ve stocked the MakerBot and we have open-source and “open printers” – we’re watching this just like all of you are. Please check out the fully open source LulzBot TAZ 4 – Open source 3D Printer & PrintrBots if you want to vote with your wallets and check out an interview with Bre regarding patents on MAKE. […]

  52. Stratasys se cierra, Tesla se abre. Comunidades Open source e innovación emocional | Pere Losantos says:
  53. says:

    Stratasys Lawsuit, Patents and More: An Interview with MakerBot’s Bre Pettis | MAKE

  54. Impressão 3D, a lenda? - says:

    […] as entrevistas com ex-empregados da MakerBot, sobre como eles agora odeiam seu CEO e co-fundador, Bre Pettis. Como sua visão original de garagem, de uma empresa voltada ao código-aberto e ao hardware aberto […]

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  61. kangen water says:

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  62. What is going on at MakerBot ? Our take @makerbot @stratasys #makerbusiness « Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! says:

    […] history (you can see interviews with Bre here that Phil did as MakerBot took funding, went closed source and […]

  63.           says:

    Passing the fuckin’ buck. Bre, we can blame you because YOU CHOSE to sell out and fully integrate with these slime-bags. Disgusting.

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