Court Orders Markforged to Pay $17M to Continuous Composites

Published on April 15, 2024 by Madeleine P.
Verdict for Continuous Composites and Markforged in patent infringement case

It seems a major ongoing intellectual property saga in the 3D printing world may be coming to an end. A jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware has reached a verdict in a patent lawsuit first made by Continuous Composite back in 2021. As a result, Markforged has been demanded to pay Continuous Composites about $17.3 million in compensation.

Both Markforged and Continuous Composites are well-known for their composite 3D printing solutions. Notably, they both employ what is known as “continuous” composite printing. In this, extrusion is used but unlike many composite filaments where chopped fibers, less than a millimeter in length, are mixed into thermoplastics to increase stiffness, composite fibers are deposited in the conventional parts at the same time using a second nozzle. In the case, the jury was asked to decide whether the patent of Continuous Composites had been infringed upon, while Markforged claimed that it had invented the technology first.

The patent infringement case was first brought against Markforged by Continuous Composites in July 2021 (photo credits: Continuous Composites)

The Verdict in Markforged vs. Continuous Composites

There have been a few updates prior to this unanimous verdict. Notably, although Continuous Composites had filed a lawsuit asserting patent infringement for more patents, a decision in April 2023 eliminated four of the patents as they found that Markforged has not infringed on them, accounting for about 20 claims. This verdict was thus founded on only on single patent 11,173,660.

Specifically, it seems that though the jury found one of the two patent claims at this trial to be invalid, Markforged was decided to have infringed upon the other patent claim and ordered to award monetary damages to Continuous Composites in the amount of $17.34 million. This accounts for sales of the infringing machines from November 16, 2021 through December 31, 2023. Continuous Composites has also announced that it will take further action, including seeking additional relief through post-trial options for royalty payments on future revenue for sales on these same printers from 2024 through 2033.

Talking about the decision, Steve Starner, CEO at Continuous Composites, noted, “We are thankful for the jury’s diligence in recognizing Markforged’s infringement and our prior rights to Continuous Composites’ foundational patents. It confirms the value of our technology that the team has been working hard on since 2012, and we are committed to protecting our patents from those who wrongfully use them.”

The verdict seems to concern Markforged’s desktop 3D printing solutions, such as the Mark Two (pictured)(photo credits: Markforged)

In a competing statement, Markforged responded, “The Company strongly disagrees with this verdict and intends to seek to overturn the verdict in post-trial motions with the District Court. The Company is exploring all available options, including seeking to overturn the verdict and any resulting judgment through the appeals process.” In any case, it remains to be seen what impact this may have on either Continuous Composites or Markforged in the long term. We will keep a close eye on any new developments.

What do you think of this verdict in the patent infringement case between Markforged and Continuous Composites? Did you expect this result? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here for the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

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