Hmmm… from Technology Review:
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.
“You load a file into your printer, then your printer checks to make sure it has the rights to make the object, to make it out of what material, how many times, and so on,” says Michael Weinberg, a staff lawyer at the non-profit Public Knowledge, who reviewed the patent at the request of Technology Review. “It’s a very broad patent.”
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.”
Like I said… hmmm…