Sometime in the none-too-distant future, replacing your favorite coffee mug or creating a new iPhone case might be as simple as downloading a design you like from the Internet and firing up your 3-D printer.
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. It also covers using digital files in extrusion, ejection, stamping, die casting, printing, painting, and tattooing and with materials that include “skin, textiles, edible substances, paper, and silicon printing.”
Control schema: A drawing from a patent won by Intellectual Ventures describes how to control digital rights for 3-D printing.
“This is an attempt to assert ownership over DRM for 3-D printing. Myhrvold’s operation, based in Bellevue, Washington, basically exists to file and buy patents, and currently controls nearly 40,000 of them, according to a spokesperson.
The manufacturing control patent, number 8,286,236, was filed back in 2008 and issued on October 9 to Invention Science Fund I, an arm of Myhrvold’s company.
Source article with longer text: http://www.technologyreview.com/view/429566/nathan-myhrvolds-cunning-plan-to-prevent-3-d/
If you want to know more about war on general computing (and in probably future war on general manufacturing) watch: