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


from the locking-up-the-commons dept

We’ve been conversing about the importance of patent excellent, and just one of the factors manufactured in our podcast discussion, was that several firms felt the unfortunate need to patent one thing just to stay clear of acquiring someone else patent it afterwards and build complications. Just one thing we didn’t definitely get to go over about that is that this actually tends to make it ridiculously tough for any undertaking that wants to do anything modern and donate it to the planet, without patents. Due to the fact a person else may just occur along and patent it on their own.

That appears to be the condition that has now transpired to Hangprinter. Hangprinter is a interesting job to produce an open up source frameless 3D printing setup that practically hangs in the air and is capable to build a great deal more substantial items than a common 3D printer. From the commencing, the strategy guiding Hangprinter, from its creator, Torbjørn Ludvigsen, was to make it open source and freely readily available for any individual to make use of it.

And, of class, quicker or later, anyone took advantage of that. UT-Battelle, a non-gain joint undertaking established up by the University of Tennessee and the Battelle Institute to function the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, seemingly made the decision to action in and basically patent the core concepts of the Hangprinter. Before this year, they have been awarded US Patent 11,230,032 for a “cable-pushed additive manufacturing system.”

Apart from that, as Ludvigsen factors out, there is a absurd quantity of prior art on mainly every little thing in the UT-Battelle patent, not just from Hangprinter, but from some other initiatives as nicely. Ludvigsen walks stage by phase through how the patent drawings virtually appear to be like they were being drawn from community pictures of Hangprinter. For instance, in this article is an graphic from 2017 of the creators working on Hangprinter:

And in this article is an graphic from the patent filed a calendar year later on:

Or, listed here was an image of the Hangprinter team creating a tower with their Hangprinter, sent out in early 2017:

And listed here is an impression in the patent of a printer building a structure (in the patent scenario, it seems to be like a reproduction of the Coliseum in Rome.

Either way, it’s rather obviously the similar simple issue. But now it is below patent, even as the creators tried using to make this open and cost-free to the world.

The Hangprinter crew has introduced a GoFundMe to test to obstacle the patent, but it’s an expensive approach. As they be aware, this is an unlucky turn of events:

With the patent in position, we’d have to shell out license expenses to a little minority, gatekeepers of the stolen vital technologies. Growth and even more progress of Hangprinters won’t take place except if the gatekeepers care to allow it. What ought to have grow to be a bountiful forest instead turns into a solitary bonsai tree in a walled garden.

This is, yet all over again, the unlucky consequence in a globe where the default assumption is that each concept must be “owned” by an individual, and exactly where the concept of a general public area or commons is not even considered. Below we have people today who experimented with to add one thing fantastic and practical to the environment to make it a greater place… and now they have to deal with this mess where a federal government contractor (even a non-earnings just one) has proficiently locked up the commons and blocked more innovation except the open supply creators can scrounge together tens of hundreds of dollars to fight it.

That’s not great for anyone.

Submitted Below: 3d printing, commons, hangprinter, open supply, patents, rep rap, torbjorn ludvigsen

Businesses: ut-battelle


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