February 4, 2023
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Articles

Part-2 | 3D Printing in Footwear

PATENT TREND ANALYSIS

Filing & Publication over the years

  • US5435959A – Nike’s patent based on Method of making a mold and parts from the mold.
  • Maximum filing is observed in the year 2017.
  • The references mostly focus on method of manufacturing footwear soles using polymer, resin or elastomer as raw materials.
  • Around 62% of the identified relevant references are active, out of which 42% have already been granted.
  • The ratio of active patents is quite high which suggests that the domain is still budding.
  • Recently expired patent: EP1085971B1 – Application of textured or patterned surfaces to a prototype.

Top Geographical Growth Insights by YOY

USA and Japan were early entrants in the domain

  • We witness the steady rise of China after the year 2014 and a peak in innovation in the years 2017 and 2018.
  • The Chinese jurisdiction is majorly focused on polyurethane based 3D printed footwear.
  • In 2017, CHANGSHA TIANKE filed 14 patents in the domain. The references focus on modified ABS 63 for 3D printing.
  • As China entered the domain in 2011, sudden growth in the industry is observed. The references in this phase are focused on the composition of macromolecular compounds which can be used in the footwear industry.

Top Country-wise mapping of Major Innovators

Nike: 58

Velo 3D: 12

Carbon: 12

Under Armour: 08

Adidas: 04

Ford Global: 05

Changsha Tianke: 14

Heilongjiang Xinda: 11

Peak Shoes: 10

Guangxi Zhumeng: 09

Hunan Farsoon High Technology: 09

Adidas: 14

Covestro Deutschland: 08

Unique Materials: 15

Footwear & Recreation Technology: 03

Orisol Asia: 03

Prominent Geographical Markets

  • US and China are the biggest markets for the technology. It is interesting to note that China being the innovation hub is also a prominent market; however, USA shares an equal market position as China.
  • Japan, Korea and Taiwan have gained equal attention from investors as the count of patent publications in these jurisdictions is more or less comparable.
  • It is interesting to note that, although Europe has not got much attention in innovation and R&D, Europe has been able to secure the third spot in the Major Market Jurisdictions, suggesting that assignees see potential in Europe as a market for the technology.

Key Patents

The table shows technology segmentation for 3D printing of footwear using polymer, resin or elastomer as raw materials are disclosed by the top cited patents in the domain.

  • Most of the top cited patents are related to method of manufacturing and 3D printed product. The raw material majorly used is polymer.
  • A significant number of top cited patents are of Nike, which further suggests Nike’s strong presence in R&D among other players of the domain.

Interesting  Patents

2009

Footwear Component > à 3D Pattern

Raw Material > à Polyester, resin

JP2010248668A

Teijin Fibers

Cloth and textile product

2010

Footwear Component > à Sole

Raw Material > à Polyester

FR2955330A1

Arkema

(Thermoplastic powder composition and three dimensional objects manufactured by sintering of such a composition)

2011

Footwear Component > à Midsole

Raw Material > à Polyurethane

US2013125421A1

Nike

(Article of footwear with an internal and external midsole structure)

2012

Footwear Component > à Generic

Raw Material > à Polyamide

WO2013017647A1

Materialise

(Additive manufacturing of openings with reduced dimensions)

2013

Footwear Component > à Midsole, Outsole, Insole, Upper

Raw Material > à EVA, Nylon

WO2014100462A1

Nike

(Customized footwear, and method for designing and manufacturing same)

2014

Footwear Component > à Generic

Raw Material > à HDPE

WO2015006697A1

 (Surface modified particulate and sintered extruded products Impact )

2015

Footwear Component > à Generic

Raw Material > à Polyethylene, Resin

WO2015196149A1

Velo3D

(Apparatuses, systems and methods for three-dimensional printing)

2016

Footwear Component > à Generic

Raw Material > à Polyethylene, Resin, Silicon

WO2017100695A1

Velo3D

(Skillful three-dimensional printing )

2017

Footwear Component > à Generic

Raw Material > à Polyethylene, Resin, PET

EP3208077A1

Velo3D

Accurate three-dimensional printing)

2018

Footwear Component > à Generic

Raw Material > à Polyethylene, Resin

US2018186080A1

Velo3D

Optics in three-dimensional printing

2019

Footwear Component > à Generic

Raw Material > à PLA, ABS

US2019297995A1

Wolverine Outdoors

(System and method for customizing footwear)

Patent Summary

The identified references are related to the method of manufacturing 3D-printed footwear.

Around 67% of the identified relevant references are ALIVE, out of which 39% have been granted. The ratio of the active patents is quite high which suggests that the domain is still budding.

Recently expired patent: EP1085971B1 – Application of textured or patterned surfaces to a prototype.

Top Inventors

  • The top inventor Chen Zhengshi has all of its patents taking priority from Taiwan and are filed in the year 2015. All the references are assigned to Unique Material Technology.
  • Yang Ke, the second top inventor has all its patents taking priority from China. They are filed in the year 2017. All the references are assigned to Changshe Tianke IP.
  • Buller Benyamin, the fourth top assignee works in conjuction with Velo3D.
  • From this, we can observe that the top inventors of the domain are working majorly in China, thus strengthening the fact that China is the top innovation hub for the domain.

Top Patent Classifications

  • The graph above showcases the patent family filing in the last 20 years distributed by their IPCs.
  • IPC B33Y, B29C, C08 are the most cited classifications, their definitions are as follows:
  • B33Y:  ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, i.e. MANUFACTURING OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL [3-D] OBJECTS BY ADDITIVE DEPOSITION, ADDITIVE AGGLOMERATION OR ADDITIVE LAYERING
  • B29C: SHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
  • C08L:  COMPOSITIONS OF MACROMOLECULAR COMPOUNDS 
IPC CodeDefinition
B33Y-070/00Materials specially adapted for additive manufacturing
B33Y-010/00Processes of additive manufacturing
B29C-067/00Shaping techniques not covered by groups
B33Y-080/00Products made by additive manufacturing
B33Y-030/00Apparatus for additive manufacturing; Details thereof or accessories therefor
C08L-067/04Polyesters derived from hydroxycarboxylic acids, e.g. lactones
A43B-013/18Soles
A43B-023/02Uppers; Boot legs; Stiffeners; Other single parts of footwear
B33Y-050/02For controlling or regulating additive manufacturing processes
B29C-064/118Using filamentary material being melted, e.g. fused deposition modeling [FD

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