Written by Clare Difazio
RapidChange Revo™ High Flow & Intellectual Property
The background for our own high flow solution is a two year, ground-up development process, looking into every aspect that affects material flow – not simply melting and extruding material ‘faster’, but in an optimal way. You can read the full High Flow story in our launch blog here.
But I do want to touch on the ‘hot topic’ of intellectual property, especially as with Revo High Flow there is some complexity. As per our policy announced in September 2021, we do have a pending patent around the Revo system, including Revo nozzles, to protect the quality of the system, the experience for all Revo users, and of course to protect our bottom line.
We also have some other pending patents, one of which specifically deals with high flow solutions, and was the basis of the resulting product that we’re launching today.
For anyone concerned we’re leaving our open source family behind – we’re not: our objective to be open source where possible and where useful is still a key driver for us. In the same way that a patent exists for our original E3D V6, but has never been used to inhibit the growth of the industry, we intend to be selective about how we utilise any granted IP, protecting our bottom line and the user experience for the consumer, without preventing innovation and market growth.
We’re not the only fish in the pond, and that ‘free creative space’ I’ve referred to in talks over the last year IS contracting. IP is being filed literally left, right and centre.
Whilst we reached the final development stages of Revo High Flow we encountered a dilemma: our own high flow system, though unique in many aspects and – as you’ll see – beautifully and originally engineered – has some design features that cross into what we see as a grey area, edging around someone else’s patent, and we weren’t sure what to do about it. It’s the first time this had happened to us, and we faced a number of laborious and potentially expensive options:
- Ignore the existing IP. It’s a grey area anyway. Tons of companies are blatantly ignoring it and making their own versions – or simply direct copies. They don’t care. Why should we?
- Give up. We’ve come this far, spent over a year developing a great solution, but it’s not clear if we have ‘freedom to operate’ (a legal term which I’m personally all too familiar with now). Pack it all in and don’t offer our customers the best high flow solutions. Just make longer nozzles. Whatever.
- Fight. We can spend a ton of money, time, sleepless nights on a legal battle. Hell, we might win! However, this is not who we want to be. We may also cause damage to a competitor: is that what we want? We’ve always encouraged competition. Do we really want to cut them down? It might be ‘objectively correct’ to challenge someone else’s IP, but is it the right thing to do? The answer to this might sometimes be yes, and as I’ve stated before, when a patent is restricting ‘progression of science and the arts’, when it’s not being used in the way that the patent system was set up to encourage, then challenging a patent is a valid option.
- Collaborate. It’s not a unique idea. I’ve hinted again and again that we’re focusing on closer collaboration across the industry, and you’ve seen a few examples come to market over the last 12 months: Biqu H2 x Revo, Microswiss NG Extruder x Revo. As always, much, much more to follow.
Without drawing things out, the route we’ve taken is one of collaboration. I’m really excited about this one – a lot of you have seen me getting enthusiastic about product solutions, and I can say this is 10 out of 10 Clare excitement level.
I’m delighted to say that E3D has reached a unique agreement with Bondtech, who have exclusive rights to the 3D Solex’s CHT patent, to license core heating technology for the Revo system.
Clare (left) E3D and Martin (right) Bondtech demonstrating Revo High Flow.
But why aren’t you just using the CHT design?
We did test it. By now I feel like we’ve tested and benchmarked just about every possible design on the planet.
Within the Revo nozzle form factor, our design performs the best, flows the fastest, extrudes the extrudiest. I think you will enjoy using it.
So what does this mean?
Revo users have unrestricted access to our unique high flow system. We fully support 3D Solex and Bondtech’s IP ownership and rights over their Core Heating Technology. We stand with Bondtech against the cloners, the poor copies and the companies ‘trying their luck’ by ripping off CHT, or trying to circumvent their patent with quirks in design that they see as loopholes (spoiler: they’re not loopholes, and every product sold is taking income away from the CHT inventor, Carl Beck).
But doesn’t E3D have it’s own ‘patent pending’ high flow design?
Yes, we do. There are some unique features we are told are patentable, and an application is pending – at some point in the future the results of that will become clear and we expect to have patent coverage. Watch this space! The overlaps with the CHT solution mean we want to cover all the bases, and instead of launching a product regardless of Bondtech’s position, we approached Bondtech up front, and slowly built up a relationship and an agreement that works for both parties. I’m very proud of the position we’re now in, and equally proud to be announcing this partnership.
Thanks for reading this latest update of E3D’s journey through the IP landscape. Revo High Flow is now available, so you can try out the result of all this IP navigation for yourself.Buy Revo High Flow Today