IP infringement 3.0

In the old days people copied cassette tapes, later cd’s and dvd’s. And of course using your inkjet printer to print logo’s to iron onto a brandless t-shirt. But nowadays there are 3-D printers. The infringements of the future are here now.

It all started with Golan Levin’s son who wanted to build a car, but could’t. Not because he was 4 years old, but because his Tinkertoys, meant to be used for making the frame, did not fit onto his K’Nex, meant for making the wheels.

Luckily his father, an artist, hacker and professor at Carnegie Mellon, helped him out. It took him over a year, but he came up with the perfect solution. He released the Free Universal Construction Kit: a set of digital blueprints that a 3-D printer can use to create more than 45 plastic objects, each of which provides the missing interface between pieces from toy construction sets.

Now your Lego bricks can connect to your Fischertechnik girders, and your Krinkles connect to your Duplos. How cool is that?

But this has lawsuit written all over it. Although Levin noticed that all relevant patents have expired, there are bound to be trademark or copyrights that he is infringing.

This “Dad of the Year” helped his son out, but maybe – without knowing – started a revolution. 3-D printers are still expensive and yet for the average consumer. But this will change in the near future and we will surely see more of these infringement cases.

This will most definitely be continued. May we live in interesting times.


Source: Forbes.com (Thanks to Ivar Klaas for the heads up)

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