Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Why Expiring Patents Shouldn't Overly Concern 3D Systems Corporation Investors

By Steve Heller – Mar 25, 2014 at 2:31AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

There’s a lot more to consider than just the threat of new competition.

Between now and next year, a host of key 3-D printing patents related to stereolithography and selective laser sintering will be expiring, inviting new competition for 3D Systems (DDD -0.39%). The fear is that 3D Systems won't be able to maintain the high prices it's been enjoying, resulting in pricing and profitability headwinds down the road.

While these are certainly valid concerns, investors should be careful not to assume that new competitors will be able to offer 3-D printing products and services at the same caliber as 3D Systems. For instance, the upcoming $3,299 Form 1 stereolithography desktop 3-D printer only offers one 3-D printing material, whereas some of 3D Systems' stereolithography machines can handle more than a dozen different materials. In addition, relatively cheap competitors such as the Form 1 likely won't have much of an impact on 3D Systems' high-end professional and industrial lines of 3-D printers.

In the following video, 3-D printing analyst Steve Heller makes the case that investors should remain watchful over new competitors entering the 3-D printing space, but worrying too much about this potential threat is currently unwarranted.

Steve Heller owns shares of 3D Systems. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.