Creaform has announced that the Chinese Patent Re-examination Board has upheld Creaform’s Chinese patent on the proprietary 3D scanning technology used in a number of Creaform products. This includes the flagship product, the HandySCAN 3D™ scanner, of which several Chinese copies have appeared recently. The decision was greeted with considerable satisfaction by management of the Canadian company, which specializes in the development of 3D measurement technology, and also by its worldwide sales network that has been affected by inferior copies serving to form a false impression of Creaform's advanced and well-proven technologies.

In a recent publication sent to subscribers of the Creaform Shanghai newsletter, the company states (translated from original Chinese), “Recently, several competitors from China have developed self-positioning handheld scanners and have put them on the market, claiming that they can provide products with similar performance levels to Creaform’s patented HandySCAN 3D™".

The challenge contesting the validity of Creaform’s Chinese patent was filed with the Chinese Patent Re-examination Board by a Chinese citizen in July 2017. It came, coincidentally, just as several competitors from China had begun developing and commercializing auto-positioned handheld scanners with claims that they provide similar levels of performance to Creaform’s patented HandySCAN 3D™. Some of these manufacturers have blatantly copied design aspects of Creaform’s products, including hardware, software and marketing material.

Creaform develops and provides industrial 3D scanning equipment used for reverse engineering, non destructive testing (NDT) and quality control. A trademarked product, the HandySCAN 3D™ is only one of Creaform’s handheld scanners to which the patents apply, capable of attaining 3D images at up to 0.040 mm (0.0016 in.) accuracy or 0.030 mm (0.0012 in.) dependent on the chosen model. The device is certified by Airbus, and is applied to a wide variety of cross industry projects including aerospace and automotive applications.

Creaform introduced the HandySCAN 3D™ scanner in 2005. As the first generation of truly portable handheld, self-positioning 3D laser scanners, the easy-to-use devices are able to accurately measure complex shapes in environments previously considered too rugged for dimensional metrology. The technology developed by the firm has evolved over time and underwent an important redesign in 2014, making it the best-selling and most popular metrology-grade handheld laser scanner in the global market.

The patent validated by the Chinese Patent Re-examination Board covers proprietary 3D scanning technology used in Creaform’s HandySCAN 3D™ and Go!SCAN 3D™ scanners as well as other products, such as the MetraSCAN 3D™. Creaform’s proprietary auto-referencing technology (also known as self-positioning technology) for handheld 3D scanners is patented in most parts of the world, including in the United States, Japan, and Europe. The Board’s ruling strengthens Creaform’s position as it assesses its options for taking further action against patent infringements by manufacturers or their representatives / resellers, to defend its intellectual property.

Creaform’s dimensional measurement devices and application software feature several patented technologies. The company’s 3D scanners, portable coordinate measuring machines and photogrammetry measurement devices are the result of 15 years of intensive R&D and offer unmatched accuracy, resolution, repeatability, traceability and ease of use. The quality, accuracy and performance of these technologies have been undermined by sub-standard attempts to copy their products. 

The copying of technology products has become quite common, and many companies are now keen to vigorously defend such intellectual property (IP) violations. Like many others involved in such infringements, Creaform are clear as to their intentions, stating “For third-party attacks and violations, Creaform will continue to actively defend and protect its intellectual property.”