Exploring the Future of 3D Printing: Key Insights from the Adobe-Figma Acquisition

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[Source: ZMorph3D via Pixabay]

Charles Goulding and Valentina Alzate consider the impact of the failed Adobe-Figma acquisition on 3D printing innovation.

The failed acquisition of Figma by Adobe presents an interesting intersection of technology, business, and innovation. Adobe’s proposed US$20 billion deal to acquire Figma, a leading web-first collaborative design platform, was ultimately abandoned due to regulatory hurdles​​​​. This acquisition faced significant scrutiny, particularly from UK and EU competition regulators, over concerns that it would reduce competition in the product design, image editing, and illustration markets​​.

Adobe’s pursuit of Figma underscored their interest in expanding their capabilities in the design software arena. Initiated amid the Covid-19 tech investment surge, the deal aimed to acquire Figma for a value about 50 times its yearly revenue. Regulatory bodies, however, proposed drastic actions like the divestiture of major assets such as Adobe’s Illustrator or Photoshop, or Figma’s primary product line. Adobe and Figma found these requirements excessively harsh and unreasonable, leading to a breakdown of the proposed acquisition. According to the Financial Times, Adobe is required to compensate Figma US$1 billion in termination fees, thus dealing a large financial blow to the industry giant.

Adobe has been a substantial player within the 3D printing sector. The potential incorporation of Figma into Adobe’s lineup might have served to amplify Adobe’s design prowess, especially in the prototyping of diverse product offerings, among them 3D printing-related items. Figma could potentially have fine-tuned the design methodology used for packaging and 3D printed objects, thereby elevating the user experience and boosting the effectiveness of product development.

3D printing’s convergence with this unfulfilled acquisition underscores the mounting relevance of software within the 3D printing ecosystem. Software platforms such as Figma hold the potential to revolutionize the creation, sharing, and iteration of designs within the 3D printing process. Though the merger didn’t ultimately take place, the investigation of such potential integrations highlights the continual evolution of design and manufacturing technologies.

The Research & Development Tax Credit

The Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit, now a permanent fixture, is accessible for companies creating new or improved products, processes, and software applications.

3D printing can assist in enhancing a company’s R&D Tax Credits. Time spent by technical staff in creating, testing, and making revisions to 3D printed prototypes can be counted as part of eligible time for the R&D Tax Credit. Likewise, when 3D printing is used as a way to enhance a process, the time spent incorporating 3D printing hardware and software is considered an eligible activity. Finally, costs of materials used during the development process, such as filaments, can also be recovered if they’re used for modeling and preproduction.

3D printing can indicate that activities eligible for R&D Credit are happening, whether it’s being used for the creation and testing of prototypes or for final production. If they’re using this technology, companies should contemplate availing of R&D Tax Credits.


The potential acquisition of Adobe and Figma may not have come to pass, however, its consideration has highlighted the prospect for a larger confluence between digital design software and 3D printing. This cements the possibilities for future innovative strides in this domain. Moreover, it paves the way for other tech firms to look into similar tie-ups, potentially triggering an increase in innovative design solutions curated for the 3D printing industry. These advancements could eventually lead to a more cohesive and efficient ecosystem.

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