Home / Austrian Economics / 3D Printers vs. Patents
Print Friendly and PDF

3D Printers vs. Patents

Written by Gary North on September 10, 2016

We know about 3D printing. It is in its primitive phase.

Think about this technology 30 years from now. Of course, your guess will look silly in retrospect — primitive.

People invent things. They apply for patents. Governments issue them. They grant a monopoly of manufacture for about 15 years. The inventor can license his invention and collect royalty payments.

Patent law works because it is enforceable. A manufacturer has a facility. It is in a location. If it produces goods based on designs that belong to someone else, the owner of the counterfeiting operation can be fined or sued by the owner.

What happens when the tools used to manufacture items are owned by individuals? They don’t sell what they produce. They use it. There is no trail of money to trace buyers to a single manufacturer.

How does an inventor sue 10,000 manufacturers?

He has a schematic. That is the basis of his patent. The schematic is available to the public. It just cannot legally be used.

So, someone with a web server in a tiny nation obtains a domain name in that nation. The United Nations is now in charge. This person can post a schematic online. Google can find it.

What happens when the schematic is a digital code that can be used to produce the item on a 3D printer anywhere on earth?

Maybe the inventor can hire lawyers to get the schematic removed from a server in an island nation. But at what price? Maybe it gets removed from the server. How long will it take for someone in another nation to post the same schematic?

This will be digital whack-a-mole.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

Continue Reading on www.garynorth.com

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

Comments are closed.