These are the Top 10 Blocking Patents in 3D Printing

The domain of 3D printing has been in headlines recently since the news emerged that companies are 3D printing the medical equipment including ventilators and PPE kits to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It has other applications too, and if you’re working in the domain of 3D printing, you would want to know juicy insights that can help you make better decisions. 

As a patent portfolio manager, you might, for instance, want to know the top blocking patents within your portfolio. Knowing the blocking patents is really interesting as it tells you which of your competitor’s patents are getting rejected because of your patents. 

You know and swear by the fact that analyzing the blocking patents is an unconventional yet innovative approach which can generate wonderful insights for the R&D team like:

  • The patents that are frequently cited can reveal where your competitors are directing their R&D efforts.
  • The top blocking patents in a particular technology are like the star patents in that domain and one must be aware of these before entering a domain. 
  • For a company, the top blocking patents can be a big deal. If their patents block patents of multiple companies, it’s a clear indication of how important the patents are.

However, if you have a huge portfolio of 1000+ patents, finding the blocking patents in them is quite a challenging task. In fact, it has been bothering the portfolio managing teams for a long time. 

Databases like Google patents do provide the citation data but one needs to manually do it one by one for all the patents in the giant portfolio. Troublesome, right?

No need to worry anymore, because today, I will give you a sneak peek into the tool that can help you find the top blocking patents in your portfolio. 

To show the tool in action, we picked the technology we talked about at the beginning of the article – 3D Printing.

Finding the top blocking patents in 3D Printing

We collated a set of ~14k patents related to 3D Printing technology and ran these on our BOS tool. If you have read our recent articles on BOS, you would know it’s a beautiful patent monetization tool that can make any monetization campaign plain sailing and help you find great licensing insights from any portfolio. 

BOS can also help find the good patents in your portfolio, the patents which were the reason for blocking other applications. 

Getting back to our example, here are the top 10 patents which were involved in blocking the maximum number of applications:

S NoPatent NumberTitleAssigneeApps. Blocked102/103 RejectionsKey Assignees Blocked
1US7277572B2Three-dimensional interior design systemAR Design Innovations5781Autodesk, Sony, Panasonic, Qualcomm
2US8369607B2Method and apparatus for processing three-dimensional imagesSanyo Electric8850Apple, Canon, Nokia, Nvidia, Panasonic, Nintendo, Philips, Samsung, Warner bros
3US7735018B2System and method for providing three-dimensional graphical user interfaceSpaceTime3D INC10046Apple, Autodesk, Cisco, Facebook, Google, LG, Microsoft, Salesforce, Samsung, Sony, SAP, Verizon
4US5121329AApparatus and method for creating three-dimensional objectsStratasys Inc7444Airbus, HP, Nike, MIT, Xerox
5US7821502B2Two-Dimensional Position SensorNeodron Limited7040Apple, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Neutron, NXP
6US20140291886A1Three dimensional printingMarkForged INC6836Autodesk, Nike, NASA, Xerox, 
7US7149665B2System and method for simulation of virtual wear articles on virtual modelsBrowzwear Solutions5833Apple, AT&T, Microsoft, Sony, Toshiba, Mathworks, Nike
8US6129872AProcess and apparatus for creating a colorful three-dimensional objectNanotek  Instruments5032Boeing, IBM, MIT, Microsoft, Stratasys, Xerox
9US9511543B2Method and apparatus for continuous composite three-dimensional printingContinuous Composites Inc4430Boeing, Nike, IBM
10US8166421B2Three-dimensional user interfaceApple Inc6228HP, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Texas Instruments
Source: BOS Database

Looking at these patents, it seems like they are core patents of 3D printing and one must be aware of these patents before entering into this domain.

You can see that many prominent firms like Autodesk, Sony, HP, Apple, etc. were trying to get their hands on similar concepts, but could not due to these patents.  If they had known about them, they might have designed around these patents or applied other strategies to ensure the grant of their application. 

Failing to act or ignoring blocking patents can cause trouble at the later stages of the patent examination in the form of unwanted rejections. 

You have no reason to fret though, since be it a portfolio of 100 patents or 10k+ patents, BOS can get the full blocking data indexed and can find the top blocking patents in no time.

Apart from this, one of the patent publications (US20140291886A1) listed above seems to be abandoned.

As you can see that this publication blocked 68 applications of 36 assignees and there’s no doubt that this could have turned out to be a valuable one!


You know the importance of blocking patents, and also know now how easy it is to find them. So what’s stopping you from finding the blocking patents in your technology domain or your own portfolio(for monetization purposes)?

Want our help to find the blocking patents in your portfolio?

Get in touch

Authored by: Gaurav Neema, Product Development.

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