New Patent Could Saddle 3D Printers With DRM

One of the greatest benefits of 3D printing technology — the ability to make replacements or parts for household objects like toys, utensils and gadgets — may be denied to US citizens thanks to the granting of a sweeping patent that prevents the printing of unauthorised 3D designs. It has all the makings of the much-maligned digital rights management (DRM) system that prevented copying of Apple iTunes tracks — until it was abandoned as a no-hoper in 2009.

US patent 8286236, granted on 9 October to Intellectual Ventures of Bellevue, Washington, lends a 3D printer the ability to assess whether a computer design file it’s reading has an authorisation code appended that grants access for printing. If it does not, the machine simply refuses to print — whether it’s a solid object, a textile or even food that’s being printed — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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