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Posts Tagged: "3d Printing"

3D Printing: Adoptability, Assurance, IP and Consumer Concerns

Conceiving of an idea and then turning that idea into an actual end-product were two distinct processes prior to the era of 3D printing. But thanks to recent advancements in technology, what used to take a number of days can now become a reality with just one click. However, that “single click” involves generating a computer-aided design (CAD) model, creating the required Standard Triangle Language (STL) file, converting it into machine codes, pre-setting the machine for the desired material, and then, finally, printing it.  3D printing is thus as easy as printing a letter on your desk jet printer on the one hand, and as difficult as setting up a lathe machine on your tabletop on the other. Considering all of the variables, the question becomes, is 3D printing adoptable for the average consumer?

‘Not a Field of Giants’: Trends in 3D Printing Tech Include Key Contributions from U.S., Small Companies

On July 13, the European Patent Office (EPO) published a landscaping study titled “Patents and additive manufacturing: Trends in 3D printing technologies”. The study highlighted current trends and identified industry leaders in additive manufacturing (AM), i.e. 3D printing. It noted that between 2015 and 2018 the number of AM patent applications increased at an average annual rate of 36%, with more than 4,000 AM patent applications filed in 2018 alone.

Protecting Innovation During the 3D Revolution

Innovators often face the question of how to best protect their new ideas.  Patents immediately come to mind for new products and processes.  However, copyright protection should also be considered.  While patent protection is limited to the claims in a particular patent, copyright protection can be broader, particularly where 3D works of art are concerned.  Additionally, copyright protection may provide some protection where a 3D rendering is made of a known 2D work.

Patent Filings Increase for E-Cigarettes, 3-D Printing and Machine Learning

One interesting aspect of IFI CLAIMS’ most recent annual patent analysis is a list of eight areas of technology that have seen the fastest growing increases in patent applications between 2013 and 2017. To do this, IFI computed the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of patent applications for all Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) codes over the course of the study period to see which CPC codes were receiving the greatest number of patent applications. According to IFI’s analysis, the greatest growth in patent applications were for E-cigarettes and other technologies under the CPC code A24F for smokers’ requisites.

Government and 3D Printing: A New Line of Innovation to Protect

For the last 20 years, manufacturers have used 3D printing to build prototypes, but it was only recently that this industrial technology entered the mainstream.  The 3D printing of products can enable faster time-to-market, save money, mitigate risk and allow manufacturers to customize a component to suit customer needs. 3D printing can produce individual, specifically tailored parts on demand. Boeing printed an entire plane cabin in 2013 and Ford can manufacture vehicle parts in four days that would have taken four months using traditional methods.

3D Printing for Consumers: What Does it Mean for the Future of IP?

Patent filings relating to 3D printing have increased 23-fold over the last five years, and trademark filings for businesses involved in 3D printing have increased 300 percent over the same time. Obviously, there is great excitement over the promise of 3D printing, but there is also concern about how 3D printing could make it too easy to copy a patented product with a push of a button… Traditionally, it is more important to have patent claims that protect products, components of products, arrangements of products, etc. Future IP will weigh more heavily on ideas and designs, rather than methods, which will be increasingly become difficult to police. These files will serve as proof of an owners’ pre-established rights, and could prove to be a major profit-making source in the future. And while copyrights are susceptible to fair use claims in a way patents are not, copyrights last for an extremely long time (e.g., 70 years beyond the death of the author).

Oculus Rift Patents that change the Virtual Reality Landscape

Of the virtual reality options currently on the market, the Oculus Rift is arguably built upon one of the most technologically robust VR platforms. Capturing the movements of a person wearing the Oculus Rift headset is a sensor which tracks infrared LED constellations projected onto a user. Each Oculus Rift unit comes with the IR LED sensor, a mounting stand, and a cable to connect the sensor to a personal computer for processing resources. Users can also use an Oculus Rift remote or a compatible remote controller, such as an Xbox game controller, to input commands and interact with the virtual world.

New method uses patent data to estimate a technology’s future rate of improvement

The team devised an equation incorporating a patent set’s average forward citation and average publication date, and calculated the rate of improvement for each technology domain. Their results matched closely with the rates determined through the more labor-intensive approach of finding numerous historical performance data points for each technology. Among the 28 domains analyzed, the researchers found the fastest-developing technologies include optical and wireless communications, 3-D printing, and MRI technology, while domains such as batteries, wind turbines, and combustion engines appear to be improving at slower rates.

Mattel unveils updated ThingMaker at 2016 Toy Fair, introduces kids to 3D printing

One of the more attention-grabbing offerings in this field was Mattel’s ThingMaker 3D printing system for creating custom toys at home. The system includes the ThingMaker 3D Studio digital platform, accessible through the ThingMaker Design App, for creating original toy designs which are wirelessly sent to the ThingMaker for printing.

University research leads to breakthroughs in 3D printed organs

In the middle of February, the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology published a paper from a team of researchers at Wake Forest University which reported a breakthrough in creating transplantable human organs with the use of an integrated tissue-organ printer. The Wake Forest breakthrough provides 3D printed tissues with a biodegradable material to serve as a temporary framework for cells as they take hold in a host body; the tissue material also enables oxygen and nutrients to flow into the printed organ more easily. Still, issues in tissue complexity for certain organs remain, although we are closer than ever to the world’s first 3D printed liver thanks in part to work performed by engineers at the University of California, San Diego.

3D Printed Human Organs and the Debate on Applicable Patent Law

3D printed human organs are coming increasingly close to being a reality according to several reports. In addition to potentially saving thousands of lives every year, this ground-breaking technology raises issues related to patent law that cannot be ignored. Are human organs and/or tissues that are created through 3D printing process that use naturally-occurring cells eligible for patenting? Or are such organs and tissues considered to be products of nature and therefore ineligible for patenting? The America Invents Act (AIA) creates serious questions, as do some recent Supreme Court ruling on patent eligibility.

Limitless range of 3D printing applications fuels rapid industry growth

There’s almost no limit to the range of practical items that could be created through 3D printing equipment. A team of chemical researchers working at the University of Illinois have created a 3D printer capable of creating small molecules less than 900 daltons in molecular weight for the manufacture of pharmaceutical agents. A similar project at Glasgow University in Scotland resulted in the development of a 3D printing process for creating a series of precise reacting chambers which could be injected with chemical reagent “inks,” also performed by the printer, for making complex molecules. Specialized 3D printing equipment has been created for fabricating dental devices such as permanent crowns and denture frames. There’s even a 3D printer designed to use filaments of graphene, an incredibly hyped substance which is essentially a two-dimensional lattice form of carbon.