Prototype and digital manufacturing specialist Proto Labs Inc. has settled a patent dispute with injection molder ICO Products LLC.
Proto Labs of Maple Plain, Minn., said the settlement agreement includes Proto Labs receiving monetary compensation and an equity stake in ICO Products with an option to take a larger stake in the company in the future.
Concurrent with the patent agreement, ICO Products agreed to license certain aspects of Proto Labs' proprietary technology in its quoting system. Proto Labs' automated quoting software analyzes 3D models to determine real-time pricing and provide interactive design for manufacturability feedback in less than 24 hours.
ICO Products of Holland, Ohio, introduced its Instant Quote and Project Management System in August 2014. The company offers mold building as well as custom injection molding and CNC machining of plastic parts. ICO Products said it can offer to build a mold in its Shenzhen, China, facility and mold parts there. Alternatively a customer can have the mold built in China and exported to a U.S. injection molder specified by the customer.
The company said it offers a "best of both worlds" business model. Project management can reside in the United States while production occurs in China. A U.S. anchor for projects allows a U.S. customer to direct a project in a time zone similar to its own, and in the English language.
Officials at Proto Labs and ICO Products did not respond to requests for more details on the agreements announced April 11.