A worrying development involving a patent on DRM for 3D printed objects. Librarians should take careful note and begin to educate themselves now.
“Most 3-D printing has been done in industry or by hobbyists who share their designs freely online. Now Intellectual Ventures, the company run by Nathan Myhrvold, the former Microsoft CTO and alleged patent troll, has been issued a patent on a system that could prevent people from printing objects using designs they haven’t paid for.
The patent, issued Tuesday by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, is titled “Manufacturing control system” and describes methods for managing “object production rights.”
The patent basically covers the idea of digital rights management, or DRM, for 3-D printers. Like with e-books that won’t open unless you pay Barnes & Noble and use its Nook reader, with Myhrvold’s technology your printer wouldn’t print unless you’ve paid up.”
Check out our list of 3D Printing resources for further discussion of the legal issues surrounding 3D printing.