Patently Absurd

Patent Trolls Target 3D Printing, Seek to Limit Our Ability to Print Human Flesh

Patent 8,286,236 would also restrict printing food.
3dprinterpatentdrm Patent Trolls Target 3D Printing, Seek to Limit Our Ability to Print Human Flesh

Fig. 1 from patent no. 8,286,236

Apparently the advent of 3D printing technology is scary enough that before we’re even able to print out a new pair of shoes, patent trolls Intellectual Ventures have secured a patent that might prevent the use of 3D printing technology for making really fun stuff like cars, or zeppelins.

MIT’s Technology Review blog has taken a look at the patent and finds that it is a weirdly comprehensive attempt to enforce digital rights management (DRM) for items no one ever knew might need such protection:

The patent isn’t limited to 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. 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.”

As the MIT blog points out, Intellectual Ventures, which is run by Microsoft’s former Chief Technical Officer Nathan Myhrvold, couldn’t have better timing, since MakerBot has already opened their magical, SoHo-based “real-life portal” for people ready to jump into the brave new world of 3D printing.

If Mr. Myhrvold and his company have their way, a trip to the Nolita MakerBot to get a shiny new skin may be out of the question.

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