3D Systems sues the maker of the Form 1 3D printer and Kickstarter for patent infringement

What will this mean for low cost 3D printers and crowdsourcing?

Formlabs, maker of the Form 1 3D printer that was a runaway hit on Kickstarter, is being sued for patent infringement by 3D systems. 3D systems is also suing Kickstarter for promoting the project on the grounds that Kickstarter had a financial stake since they take a 5% cut.

The Form 1 raised $2,945,885, a remarkable feat, because it offered low-cost stereolithography printing. Other low-cost printers like the MakerBot and RepRep use a plastic extrusion technique, but the Form 1 uses UV cure resin, allowing for much higher resolution prints.

This brings us to the main issue. 3D Systems has an extensive patent on the use of stereolithography for 3D printing, and they are claiming that Form Labs violated it. Specifically, 3D systems is claiming that Form Labs infringed claim 1 and 34 of U.S. Patent No. 5,597,520.

This will be a case to watch. Regardless of the outcome, it could have a large impact on the future of low cost 3D printing and crowdsourcing.

Via Tech Crunch

Sculpture Exhibition in 3D Printed “Replicas”

Copying for art’s sake to encourage debate over copyrightWhisper Down the Lane concluded with a wrap up lecture just before the weekend, two days before its source exhibition – The Obstinate Object: Contemporary New Zealand Sculpture was due to finish, and while the last 3D printed piece was with the courier, hurriedly making its way down the country from the contributing RepRap machine.

Whisper Down The Lane is a referential art project by Bronwyn Holloway-Smith. It explores the ideas of digital fabrication with regard to copyright and reproduction issues in the world of art – a discussion that is very very slowly starting to creep out of the small tech-meets-art niche into the mainstream awareness.

Bronwyn’s project infiltrated Wellington City Gallery’s exhibition The Obstinate Object and sneakily positioned itself in a space of its own within the gallery rooms. The work is a series of 3D printed miniatures of The Obstinate Object exhibits, created with the agreement from the artists. While the 3D prints are clearly copied from specific art works, they are not intended to be exact replicas, nor are they all printed to the same scale. The miniatures are as much about communicating the digital fabrication process as they are about mimicking the general forms of the originals. The RepRap prints are constrained by the practicalities of the production method: size, material, colour and level of detail – elements that would be thoroughly considered in the original, full size works.The open source nature of the project is integral to the questions it raises – questions that we’ll be coming across more and more as digital fabrication becomes more commonplace.

The Pirate Bay now lets you download physical objects

introducing Physibles

The world’s larget BitTorrent tracker, The Pirate Bay, has just announced the addition of a new category of downloadable files — Physibles.

Physibles are described as “data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical.” And it’s The Pirate Bay’s belief that “the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form.”

They are talking here of course about digital files that can be sent to fabrication equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, Jacquard looms and so on. And with the continued improvement of such technology and it’s increasing adoption, The Pirate Bay believes that “You will download your sneakers within 20 years.”

Physibles is currently classified as Other in the line up of available torrents: Audio, Video, Applications, Games, and Other, but perhaps one day we’ll see the addition of Objects to the main categories.

We mentioned the possibility of The Product Bay two years ago, and today it’s officially happening. “We’re thinking of temporarily renaming ourselves to The Product Bay – but we had no graphical artist around to make a logo. In the future, we’ll download one,” concludes today’s announcement. (I’ve taken the liberty of throwing one together.)

Although there exist a handful of sites to find downloadable product files, including them in such a hugely popular file sharing site is a significant step in the personal fabrication movement. And just the beginning of what could make 2012 the year of the product design copyright fight.

via @golan via @bre

How 3D printing is changing consumer products

Talks from the 2011 RAPID conference

Consumer Products was one of the major topics at this year’s RAPID conference on additive manufacturing. I attended all five presentations and was honored to be one of the speakers presenting on how 3D printing was changing this area of design and manufacture.

This is the fourth and final post on my experience at RAPID. What follows is summary of each of the talks on Consumer Products.

How to Create an Industry with 3D Printed Consumer Products

The first speaker was Janne Kyttanen, founder of Freedom of Creation.

Kyttanen was 100% designer from his insistence on using his own MacbookPro to give a Keynote lecture (We were supposed to only use Windows and PowerPoint.) to his Marilyn Monroe by Warhol Madonna t-shirt.

And it was from a designer’s perspective that he talked about his vision of a new industry completely based on 3D printed consumer products.


Public outcry over Urban Outfitters stealing independent design

A simple tumblr post goes viral

It’s currently a trending topic on twitter from New York to Chicago to San Francisco. Urban Outfitters is selling a knock-off jewelry line originally created by independent designer Stevie Koerner.

Koerner’s own label tru.che is well known for its United/World of Love necklaces, silhouettes of states and countries with a single hollow heart inside.

Yesterday, Koerner published a screenshot on her tumblr I Make Shiny Things of her exact designs being sold on Urban Outfitters online store and wrote:

My heart sank a little bit. The World/United States of Love line that I created is one of the reasons that I was able to quit my full-time job. They even stole the item name as well as some of my copy.

I’m very disappointed in Urban Outfitters. I know they have stolen designs from plenty of other artists. I understand that they are a business, but it’s not cool to completely rip off an independent designer’s work.

I’ll no longer be shopping at any of their stores [they also own Free People & Anthropologie], and I’m going to do my best from here on out to support independent designers & artists.

Please feel free to pass this link on. I really appreciate all the support & love I’ve received today.

“Ten Rules for Maker Businesses” by Wired’s Chris Anderson — Rule #6

Be as open as you can.

Why not release your designs, free for all to use? I realize that for many people this seems insane, but we’re seeing more and more examples of such Open Source Hardware business models working brilliantly.

It’s what we do at DIY Drones, and here’s why: when you release your designs on the web, licensed so that others can use them, you build trust, community, and potentially a source of free development advice and labor.

We release our electronics PCB designs in their native form (Cadsofts’ Eagle format), under a Creative Commons Attribution + Share and Share Alike license (“by-sa”), which allows commercial reuse.

Our software and firmware, meanwhile, is all released under a LGPL license, which also allows for commercial reuse as long as attribution is maintained and the code stays open. The result: hundreds of people have now contributed code, bug fixes, design ideas and made complimentary products to enhance our own.

The simple act of going open source has provided us with a free R&D operation that would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if we’d been closed source and had to hire our own engineers to do the work, to say nothing of the quality of that work.


The Truth and Future of Design Copyright

There’s a lot of speculation on what is and what is to come of design copyright. How does copyright work? Why is it important? Will digital manufacturing spawn product design piracy? Should we give away our designs for free? How can we protect our creative work?  And what is the deal with big retailers stealing from independent artists and designers?

This five part article sheds some light on the truth and asks for discussion on the future of design copyright. (more…)

Competition Fine Print

The large print giveth, but the small print taketh away.

Reading about the LG Design the Future competition via the Solidsmack Blog I was at first excited by the prospect of the generous first place prize of $20,000 Cash Award + 1 Wacom Intuos4 medium tablet (ARV of $349) + Autodesk industrial design software (ARV of $500) until reading further down the Solidsmack blog where Josh quotes the fine print:

All Designs will become the exclusive property of Sponsor, and none will be acknowledged or returned. You hereby waive any moral rights or any equivalent rights regarding the form or extent of any alteration to the Design or the making of any derivative works based on the Design, including, without limitation, photographs, drawings or other visual reproductions or the Design, in any medium, for any purpose. You acknowledge that LG owns all Designs whether patentable or unpatentable, and all works of authorship, whether copyrightable or uncopyrightable, made, developed, conceived, acquired, devised, discovered or created by you for this Contest. BY ENTERING A DESIGN IN THIS CONTEST YOU HEREBY IRREVOCABLE ASSIGN, CONVEY AND TRANSFER TO SPONSOR ANY AND ALL RIGHT, TITLE AND INTEREST IN THE DESIGN INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ALL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS EXISTING THEREIN.

So theoretically even if you do not win the competition you cannot legally use or modify the design ever again?

But then again LG is not renowned for ethical actions. From a recent recent article in the The Age Newspaper:

AN ELECTRONICS manufacturer with a history of making false environmental claims has been caught doctoring fridges to make them appear more energy efficient.

LG Electronics has agreed to compensate potentially thousands of consumers after two of its fridges – models L197NFS and P197WFS – were found to contain an illegal device that activates an energy-saving mode when it detects room conditions similar to those in a test laboratory.

The so-called circumvention device was discovered last month by consumer advocacy group Choice.

The device detects test conditions and activates the mode, creating the impression of lower running costs and energy usage. The devices have been banned in Australia since 2007.


However I am sure of the 28 competitions for April listed in a recent Ponoko blog post are more fair.

T shirt available at Zazzle

Copyright Clinic in Canberra

For information about sponsorships, partnerships and donations to the arts.

The Australian Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) is holding a free half day mentoring clinic in Canberra that will provide practical advice and tips on copyright to be held 2 June 2010 from 9:30am to 12:00pm.

Topics include:

– Overview of legislation for visual artists on moral rights and duration.
– Tips on protecting your copyright if working in Australia or overseas.
– Artists’ rights and responsibilities in relation to creative commons.
– Tips for dealing with possible infringements
– Protecting your artwork on the web (flickr, myspace and youtube)

The workshop will be presented by Ian McDonald, a senior legal officer with the Australian Copyright Council.
Download the registration form here.

What does AbaF do?

We make connections. We work with businesses large and small, arts organisations of all types, individual artists, trusts and foundations. We provide advice, professional development, volunteering and networking opportunities. Many of our services are free. Find out more about the AbaF approach.

Although mainly set up for visual artists, they have much online information and advice may apply to Ponoko users in Australia and around the world.

Copyright Criminals Documentary

Examines the creative and commercial value of musical sampling, including the related debates over artistic expression, copyright law, and (of course) money.

Copyright Criminals traces the rise of hip-hop from the urban streets of New York to its current status as a multibillion-dollar industry. For more than thirty years, innovative hip-hop performers and producers have been re-using portions of previously recorded music in new, otherwise original compositions. When lawyers and record companies got involved, what was once referred to as a “borrowed melody” became a “copyright infringement.”The film showcases many of hip-hop music’s founding figures like Public Enemy, De La Soul, and Digital Underground—while also featuring emerging hip-hop artists from record labels Definitive Jux, Rhymesayers, Ninja Tune, and more.