3D Printing Patents – Expiring Patents and DRM
Just As Key 3D Printing Patents Get Closer To Expiring, Intellectual Ventures Patents 3D Printing DRM
3D printing is on the verge of really going mainstream, in part because of improvements in the technology, but in large part because the key patents that have limited that advancement are getting close to expiring. Of course, as it takes off, though, expect a ton of people to try to “tax” the success with new patents of their own. And, of course, it comes as little surprise that Intellectual Ventures will be a player in that space. Though its first attempt might backfire… Technology Review has a story about Intellectual Ventures getting a new patent on DRM for 3D printing. You can see the patent (8,286,236) yourself. It’s a pretty broad patent that seems to cover a broad array of “authorization” measures for manufacturing based on a data file.
We’ve talked in the past about how patents too often get granted for taking something known or common and basically saying “on the internet” on it. Perhaps the next wave of 3D Printing Patents will be the same kinda thing, but “… with 3D printing.” Of course, patenting DRM might actually have a good, if unintended, result: perhaps it will scare people and companies away from making the mistake of trying to DRM up 3D printing files, and leave the system much more open. Though, given the historical comparisons, that seems unlikely..