Ridiculous: Gov’t Contractor Copies Open Source 3D Printing Concept… And Patents It

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from the locking-up-the-commons dept

We’ve been speaking about the significance of patent quality, and a person of the points manufactured in our podcast dialogue, was that a lot of providers felt the regrettable need to have to patent something just to prevent possessing somebody else patent it later on and produce challenges. Just one issue we did not genuinely get to examine about that is that this truly helps make it ridiculously hard for any task that wants to do some thing ground breaking and donate it to the earth, with out patents. Mainly because an individual else may well just arrive along and patent it them selves.

That appears to be the problem that has now took place to Hangprinter. Hangprinter is a interesting project to produce an open up source frameless 3D printing set up that actually hangs in the air and is equipped to create substantially larger matters than a classic 3D printer. From the beginning, the idea powering Hangprinter, from its creator, Torbjørn Ludvigsen, was to make it open supply and freely offered for anybody to make use of it.

And, of course, faster or later, a person took edge of that. UT-Battelle, a non-gain joint venture set up by the College of Tennessee and the Battelle Institute to operate the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, seemingly made the decision to move in and generally patent the core thoughts of the Hangprinter. Before this 12 months, they were being awarded US Patent 11,230,032 for a “cable-pushed additive producing system.”

Besides that, as Ludvigsen details out, there is a absurd volume of prior art on fundamentally all the things in the UT-Battelle patent, not just from Hangprinter, but from some other assignments as very well. Ludvigsen walks stage by move as a result of how the patent drawings virtually appear to be like they have been drawn from public illustrations or photos of Hangprinter. For instance, in this article is an picture from 2017 of the creators functioning on Hangprinter:

And below is an graphic from the patent submitted a calendar year later on:

Or, in this article was an image of the Hangprinter workforce making a tower with their Hangprinter, despatched out in early 2017:

And below is an graphic in the patent of a printer making a construction (in the patent case, it looks like a duplicate of the Coliseum in Rome.

Either way, it’s pretty clearly the same fundamental issue. But now it’s below patent, even as the creators tried out to make this open up and no cost to the environment.

The Hangprinter staff has launched a GoFundMe to attempt to challenge the patent, but it’s an expensive approach. As they observe, this is an unfortunate convert of gatherings:

With the patent in place, we’d have to shell out license service fees to a very small minority, gatekeepers of the stolen crucial technological innovation. Enlargement and further more growth of Hangprinters won’t transpire except if the gatekeepers care to make it possible for it. What should really have grow to be a bountiful forest rather turns into a solitary bonsai tree in a walled backyard.

This is, however once more, the regrettable consequence in a earth in which the default assumption is that each and every thought ought to be “owned” by another person, and where by the strategy of a general public area or commons is not even considered. Right here we have folks who attempted to contribute anything fantastic and valuable to the earth to make it a much better place… and now they have to deal with this mess where a government contractor (even a non-profit a person) has correctly locked up the commons and blocked additional innovation until the open up resource creators can scrounge together tens of 1000’s of dollars to combat it.

That is not very good for everyone.

Submitted Beneath: 3d printing, commons, hangprinter, open resource, patents, rep rap, torbjorn ludvigsen

Organizations: ut-battelle

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