Thursday, 11 April 2013

3-D Printing Fun or Massive IP Infringement

Recently, co-blogger Neil Wilkof wrote about 3-D printing.  The promise of 3-D printing is astounding and could be the next technology that changes the game in many different industries/fields—from biotech to ordinary manufacturing.  And, as with any new technology, there are a ton of IP issues.  I spent some time browsing this website the other day:  I strongly recommend you check it out.  Here is the description of Thingiverse:

Thingiverse is a place for you to share your digital designs with the world. We believe that just as computing shifted away from the mainframe into the personal computer that you use today, digital fabrication will share the same path. In fact, it is already happening: laser cutters, cnc machines, 3D printers, and even automated paper cutters are all getting cheaper by the day. These machines are useful for a huge variety of things, but you need to supply them with a digital design in order to get anything useful out of them. We're hoping that together we can create a community of people who create and share designs freely, so that all can benefit from them.

Click on the “Explore” “button” at the top of the home page and spend some time browsing (You will enjoy it—I promise).  Here is a link to their IP policy and here is one to the terms of use.  Enjoy!  (Is it really time to rework (rethink) copyright (IP) law or do we stay the course?!?!  I think either way--the lawyers will win!!!). 

1 comment:

Suleman said...

Once 3d printers can make most things, I suppose that retailers won't selling physical objects, but simply instructions for producing the relevant item at home. I suppose for any claim:

1. Object X

patent attorneys should then be thinking harder about claims to:

2. A set of instructions which when run on a 3d printer leads to production of object X.

Clearly, such claims have lots of issues, but perhaps they could be worded in ways where they are more acceptable to patent offices.