New patent cripples 3D printing with DRM

3D printing is not even a widespread technology, yet the industry seems already eager to kill the freedom for users to manufacture (or “print”) whatever solid object they like: a patent granted by the USPTO describes a “manufacturing control system”, a technology potentially useful to control if the “project” to print is already classified as forbidden for personal printing.

Granted to the well know patent-eating company Intellectual Ventures (one of the top five owners of US patents in 2011), the new patent depicts a method “for secure manufacturing to control object production rights” on 3D printer-like machine.

A file containing the data for the project to print must be validated from a remote location (over the Internet, seemingly), the patent suggests: only if certain conditions are met, ie if the object to print isn’t filed as restricted by the organization controlling the validation scheme, the printing process works as intended.

The software needed to control the printing must be embedded into the 3D printer, a requirement that clearly doesn’t bode well for the success of the technology if it doesn’t become mandatory. Michael Weinberg, lawyer for the non-profit organization Public Knowledge, says the new patent “is an attempt to assert ownership over DRM for 3D printing”, a way to use DRM restrictions to stop unauthorized copying of things”.

Source: TorrentFreak

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