While you were busy getting yourself all worked up and declaring 3D printing the beginning of a new age, one of the most maligned figures in modern patent law is preparing to rain on your parade. Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft CTO and founder of patent holder Intellectual Ventures, has managed to get an expansive patent on 3D printing DRM. That 3D printing revolution we’ve been hoping for just got a lot trickier.
The system envisioned by Myhrvold would be used to prevent users of 3D printers from abusing “object production rights.” The idea is that you would load a digital file into your computer and before any printing could take place, you would have to connect to some remote server that checks to make sure you have authorization to print the object. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it’s basically what happened to music in the wake of Napster.
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uh. so somebody has a patent on it. great. we want patents on obnoxious things. we don’t want patents on nice things we want to do.
that makes it even less convenient for anyone to include or require DRM. which is fine. we don’t want to do DRM.