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


from the locking-up-the-commons dept

We have been conversing about the great importance of patent quality, and a single of the points created in our podcast dialogue, was that many corporations felt the regrettable will need to patent one thing just to prevent having an individual else patent it later and build problems. A person point we didn’t actually get to focus on about that is that this in fact helps make it ridiculously tough for any undertaking that desires to do anything impressive and donate it to the environment, with out patents. Simply because anyone else could possibly just come along and patent it them selves.

That appears to be the scenario that has now took place to Hangprinter. Hangprinter is a fascinating challenge to build an open supply frameless 3D printing setup that virtually hangs in the air and is equipped to construct considerably greater issues than a common 3D printer. From the commencing, the thought at the rear of Hangprinter, from its creator, Torbjørn Ludvigsen, was to make it open up source and freely offered for any one to make use of it.

And, of study course, quicker or later, anyone took gain of that. UT-Battelle, a non-financial gain joint undertaking set up by the University of Tennessee and the Battelle Institute to work the Oak Ridge Countrywide Laboratory, seemingly decided to stage in and generally patent the main tips of the Hangprinter. Previously this calendar year, they have been awarded US Patent 11,230,032 for a “cable-pushed additive production method.”

Other than that, as Ludvigsen factors out, there is a ridiculous total of prior art on fundamentally almost everything in the UT-Battelle patent, not just from Hangprinter, but from some other initiatives as perfectly. Ludvigsen walks phase by step as a result of how the patent drawings practically feel like they were drawn from community photographs of Hangprinter. For instance, listed here is an graphic from 2017 of the creators working on Hangprinter:

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

Or, below was an picture of the Hangprinter team constructing a tower with their Hangprinter, despatched out in early 2017:

And here is an graphic in the patent of a printer building a structure (in the patent case, it appears like a reproduction of the Coliseum in Rome.

Either way, it is pretty clearly the very same fundamental matter. But now it is below patent, even as the creators experimented with to make this open up and free to the environment.

The Hangprinter crew has launched a GoFundMe to try out to obstacle the patent, but it is an expensive approach. As they note, this is an unfortunate switch of occasions:

With the patent in spot, we’d have to pay license charges to a very small minority, gatekeepers of the stolen crucial know-how. Expansion and even more progress of Hangprinters will not transpire until the gatekeepers care to make it possible for it. What must have develop into a bountiful forest in its place turns into a single bonsai tree in a walled backyard garden.

This is, still once more, the unlucky outcome in a entire world in which the default assumption is that each individual idea need to be “owned” by someone, and the place the notion of a general public domain or commons is not even considered. Below we have folks who tried using to lead a thing superb and useful to the earth to make it a improved place… and now they have to deal with this mess wherever a governing administration contractor (even a non-revenue one particular) has successfully locked up the commons and blocked further more innovation except the open source creators can scrounge collectively tens of thousands of pounds to combat it.

That is not excellent for any person.

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

Companies: ut-battelle


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