DSM Desotech Inc. v. 3D Systems Corporation et al.

Docket No. 2013-1298

April 18, 2014

Brief Summary: The FC panel affirmed the DC grant of SJ of no antitrust violations to 3D.

Summary: Desotech appealed grant of SJ of no antitrust violations to 3D (patent claims were dismissed but FC retains jurisdiction as case “arose under the patent laws” (Chamberlain, FC 2004)). The technology-at-issue relates to stereolithography (SL) machines that build layers of material (plastics, metals, ceramics) (an “additive technology” which includes SL, fused deposition modeling, laster sintering, 3D printing, direct metal laser sintering and digital light processing (contrast to “subtractive” technologies such as computer numerically controlled machining)). About 2005, 3D began selling machines with software-based lockout feature (based on RFID) that ensured customers use only 3D-approved resins. Two of Desotech’s resins were approved that the parties were negotiating regarding a third; those talks broke down and Desotech filed suit alleging multiple antitrust violations. The DC found no: violations of § 1 of the Sherman Act; tying under § 3 of the Clayton Act; unreasonable restraint of trade under § 1 of the Sherman Act; attempted monopolization under § 2 of the Sherman Act; antitrust violations under the Illinois Antitrust Act; violation of the Illinois Deceptive Trade Practices Act; Tortious Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage; or, Tortious Interference with Contractual Relations. After reviewing the relevant product market (whether SL machines or SL resins constitute a relevant, independent market), the lock-in theory, tortious interference claims (e.g., intent), the IL Deceptive Trade Practices Act (e.g., representation that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality or grade but are actually another), the FC panel affirmed the DC grant of SJ to 3D.

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