RE: Midwest vs. DTM

From: Brock Hinzmann (
Date: Wed Jul 30 1997 - 21:18:57 EEST

The structure of the RP industry has led to what I consider a rather
peculiar supply system; sort of like Boeing selling airplanes and jet fuel and
demanding that you use their jet fuel or they will sue you.

Most of the RP equipment vendors are linked to some material supplier.
This is understandable from the point of view of the material supplier,
because once the industry really takes off and the installed base reaches some
large number (like tens or hundreds of thousands of machines, to start)
selling materials will be like Gillette selling razor blades.

However, it seems to me the equipment vendors have to sell machines first
and foremost. If the customer wants to use a different material in the
machine, I don't see why that should prevent a sale or cause a lawsuit. The
vendor has the option of voiding a service contract (no refund) if the
customer uses an unauthorized material that messes up the machine. This
should keep the customers in line that are really just trying to cut costs.
But if someone is dead set on experimenting with a new material, they should
ask the new material supplier to cover the cost of maintaining the
machine or be prepared to suffer the consequences.

In other words, it seems to me a matter of taking responsibility for
actions, but not one that requires legal action.

Brock Hinzmann
SRI International

David K. Leigh wrote:
>So, what is everyone's take on the issue of Nylon powders?
>My take:
>DTM did not handle this one very well. It seems that their first
>was to "sic" the lawyers on Midwest. Well, that didn't work and now DTM
>trying to recover. It will be interesting to see how the counter suite
>comes out. From what I understand, DTM has been granted the "license"
>be the sole supplier of the Nylon material for use in the Sinterstation.
>think this is probably the heart of the "restriction of trade" clause in
>Midwests counter suite. This thing is going to drag on so long that we
>will have forgotten what rapid prototyping was.
>I personally think DTM has the right to be the sole supplier of the
>if only . . .
>They would have told new customers that our supplier of nylon powders is
>XXXX Company and we have the exclusive rights as the distributer. But,
>they didn't do that. So, do you penalize someone for being creative?
>This issue should have been settled out of court.
>DTM should have announced the agreement with their supplier.
>Instead, DTM tells customers that they want to promote multiple
>on their Sinterstation platform. But, most customers are afraid of
>potential litigation. So, we have a lot of people using materials and
>sharing information. This whole deal has slowed the growth of material
>Any comments???
>This is just my personal opinion, and not my desire to flame either DTM
>David K. Leigh phone (254) 742-1822
>Harvest Technologies fax (254) 742-0053
>Rapid Prototyping Services
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>Subject: Midwest vs. DTM
>Date: Mon, 28 Jul 1997 10:15:34 -0500
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