Oct.13, 2012

A new patent issued on October 9, 2012 by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and titled 'Manufacturing control system', describes a system whereby an authorization code is requested before a 3D printer-like machine is allowed to print items requested by the user.

Methods and systems for a manufacturing control system include but are not limited to identifying at least one object data file configured to produce an object by a manufacturing machine; confirming that an authorization code is associated with the object data file, the authorization code configured to be received by the manufacturing machine, the manufacturing machine adapted to receive the authorization code; and enabling the manufacturing machine to interface with the object data file only if the authorization code meets one or more predetermined conditions.

This system is similar to that found in the music, movie and video games applied four years ago. Now Intellectual Ventures, established by Nathan Myhrvold, the former Microsoft CTO, has been issued a patent on this system to protect piracy in 3D printing.

"You load a file into your printer, then your printer checks to make sure it has the rights to make the object, to make it out of what material, how many times, and so on," says Michael Weinberg, a staff lawyer at the non-profit Public Knowledge, "It's a very broad patent." "This is an attempt to assert ownership over DRM for 3D printing. It's 'Let's use DRM to stop unauthorized copying of things'"

The patent isn't limited to 3D printing or additive manufacturing. It also covers using digital files in extrusion, ejection, stamping, die casting, printing, painting, and tattooing and with materials that include "skin, textiles, edible substances, paper, and silicon printing."

 

Summary of the patent application:

In one aspect, a method for secure manufacturing to control object production rights includes but is not limited to identifying at least one object data file configured to produce an object by a manufacturing machine; confirming that an authorization code is associated with the object data file, the authorization code configured to be received by the manufacturing machine, the manufacturing machine adapted to receive the authorization code; and enabling the manufacturing machine to interface with the object data file only if the authorization code meets one or more predetermined conditions. In addition to the foregoing, other method aspects are described in the claims, drawings, and text forming a part of the present application.

 

In another aspect, a computer program product related to a control technique for object production rights includes but is not limited to a signal bearing medium bearing at least one of one or more instructions for identifying at least one object data file configured to produce an object by a manufacturing machine; one or more instructions for confirming that an authorization code is associated with the object data file, the authorization code configured to be received by the manufacturing machine, the manufacturing machine adapted to receive the authorization code; and one or more instructions for enabling the manufacturing machine to interface with the object data file only if the authorization code meets one or more predetermined conditions. In addition to the foregoing, other computer program product aspects are described in the claims, drawings, and text forming a part of the present application.

 

In one or more various aspects, related systems include but are not limited to circuitry and/or programming for effecting the herein-referenced method aspects; the circuitry and/or programming can be virtually any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware configured to effect the herein-referenced method aspects depending upon the design choices of the system designer.

 

In one aspect, a manufacturing control system for secure manufacturing includes a processor, a data store coupled to the processor, the data store configured to contain authorization guideline data including one or more authorization codes, the data store adapted for identifying at least one object data file configured to produce an object by a manufacturing machine; a confirmation module coupled to the processor, the confirmation module configured for confirming that an authorization code is associated with the object data file, the authorization code configured to be received by the manufacturing machine, the manufacturing machine adapted to receive the authorization code; and an authorization module coupled to the processor, the authorization module configured for enabling the manufacturing machine to interface with the object data file only if the authorization code meets one or more predetermined conditions. In addition to the foregoing, other control techniques for object production rights system aspects are described in the claims, drawings, and text forming a part of the present application.

 

The foregoing summary is illustrative only and is not intended to be in any way limiting. In addition to the illustrative aspects, embodiments, and features described above, further aspects, embodiments, and features will become apparent by reference to the drawings and the following detailed description.

Source: technologyreview

 

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

 

 

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