Oct.14, 2013

By 2018, 3D printing will result in the loss of at least US$100-billion per year in intellectual property globally, according to Analyst group Gartner.

Gartner says it is likely at least one major western manufacturer will claim to have had intellectual property (IP) stolen for a mainstream product by thieves using 3D printers who will likely reside in those same western markets rather than in Asia by 2015.

"The plummeting costs of 3D printers, scanners and 3D modelling technology, combined with improving capabilities, makes the technology for IP theft more accessible to would-be criminals," says Gartner. "Importantly, 3D printers do not have to produce a finished good in order to enable IP theft. The ability to make a wax mould from a scanned object, for instance, can enable the thief to produce large quantities of items that exactly replicate the original."

The prediction is one of 10 'Top Predictions for 2014' made by Gartner at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 October 6-10, held in Orlando Florida and moving on to Australia's Gold Coast next week. According to Gartner, we are in the beginnings of a "Digital Industrial Revolution" that threatens to reshape how physical goods are created and 3D printing is at the heart of it.

Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75 percent in 2014 followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015, says Gartner earlier in their report. While very expensive "additive manufacturing" devices have been around for 20 years, the market for devices ranging from $50,000 to $500, and with commensurate material and build capabilities, is nascent yet growing rapidly. The consumer market hype has made organizations aware of the fact 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.

"Gartner's 2013 CEO survey suggests CEOs feel that business uncertainties are declining and yet, CIOs awake each day into a world of technology uncertainty and change," said Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "The savvy CIO will get his or her CEO to recognize the change being brought about by disruptive shifts is coming at an accelerated pace and at a global level of impact."

Gartner's other predictions:


By 2016, 3D printing of tissues and organs (bioprinting) will cause a global debate about regulating the technology or banning it for both human and nonhuman use. Near Term Flag: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration or comparable agency in a developed nation that is charged with evaluating all medical proposals will introduce guidelines that prohibit the bioprinting of life-saving 3D printed organs and tissues without its prior approval by end of 2015.

Bioprinting is the medical application of 3D printers to produce living tissue and organs. The day when 3D bioprinted human organs are readily available is drawing closer. The emergence of 3D bioprinting facilities with the ability to print human organs can leave people wondering what the effect of it will be on society. Beyond these questions, however, there is the reality of what 3D bioprinting means in helping people who need organs that are otherwise not readily available.


Gartner believes by 2017, more than half of consumer goods manufacturers will receive 75 percent of their consumer innovation and R&D capabilities from crowdsourced solutions. Near Term Flag: Consumer goods companies that employ crowdsourced solutions in marketing campaigns or new product development will enjoy a 1 percent revenue boost over noncrowdsourced competitors by 2015.

Engineers, scientists, IT professionals and marketers at consumer goods companies are engaging crowds much more aggressively and with increasing frequency using digital channels to reach a larger and more anonymous pool of intellect and opinion. Gartner sees a massive shift toward applications of crowdsourcing, enabled by technology, such as: advertising, online communities, scientific problem solving, internal new product ideas, and consumer-created products.

Social unrest

The report also says that there's likely to be more social unrest and a quest for new economic models in several mature economies due to loss of jobs, caused by digitisation.

Digitisation means that a lot less labour is required to deliver goods and services. According to Gartner, this is fundamentally changing the way we pay for work. Long term, the research house says, this makes it impossible for increasingly large groups to participate in the traditional economic system — even at lower prices.

This, it says, will lead to more and more people using alternatives such as bartering, urging a return to protectionism or resurrecting initiatives like Occupy Wall Street, but on a much larger scale.

Mature economies will suffer most as they don't have the population growth to increase demand nor powerful enough labour unions or political parties to (re-)allocate gains in what continues to be a global economy.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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Louis wrote at 10/17/2013 6:37:55 AM:

By saying this, analysts just say they are wrong ! They pointed the question is huge, and they're right. But instead of saying this will be a lost, I think this would make a LOT of companies willing create new services and solutions in order to offer intelectual property security for their designer (Just like new streaming printing solution, I think there's an article in this blog). And moreover governments will do and is already looking for solutions

Jon S wrote at 10/15/2013 11:55:17 PM:

Yes, and the automobile will put stable boys out of work; farm mechanization will put laborers (and slaves) out of work; and artificial intelligence will put idiot analysts with no vision of the future out of work. 3D printing is going to democratize hardware creation. That will generate far more economic activity than will be lost.

Balint wrote at 10/15/2013 7:40:19 PM:

And to my (more likely accurate :D ) prediction: More new ip will be stolen by said companys (or by their employees) from 3d printer users... and noone will notice!!

Jeff wrote at 10/15/2013 6:25:13 PM:

This sounds like the music industry executives that gnashed thier teeth and wailed about how much money would be "lost / stolen" due to file sharing of digital copies of music, or the book industry execs who said the same about e-publishing. While there will always be theft and losses from it, far more people will be willing to pay a reasonable cost for a copy of an item (to the original developer) than who will want to steal it. And far more will make their own, independant work than will copy and mass produce someone elses.

Dan wrote at 10/15/2013 2:35:07 AM:

"Gartner says it is likely at least one major western manufacturer will claim to have had intellectual property (IP) stolen for a mainstream product by thieves using 3D printers who will likely reside in those same western markets rather than in Asia by 2015." Ok. And let's remember that the 3D-printers it in fact rather simple production robots. And the problem that further rising of labor productivity is impossible without robotization, and robotization will conduct to reduction of number of people taken in production. Robots are done already much quicker and better than people by all that is bound to a physical activity. Also the silly situation when more productive, effective and economic technologies will conduct not to welfare rising, and to an impoverishment of an increasing number of people turns out. On one bowl of balances at us more and more developed opportunities for production of more and more difficult and various production, on another - the economic logic demanding the termination and restriction of development and production equipment and qualification of people occupied in production to keep that level of prosperity which they have. It is old, industrial logic. Though even in its borders it has to be clear that welfare is framed not by printing of money, and production. But nevertheless conclusions from it follow absolutely unfavourable - development of robotization will be inevitable to be conducted to falling of employment and welfare falling. Therefore spreading of 3D-printers can be surveyed as the process which partly is in advance compensating possible negative consequences of development of automation within industrial economic model of production. It in fact process of democratization of the robotized production gaining strength. And within new, post-industrial economic model which just now also is formed, the industrial economic logic ceases to work, starting harming frankly to further increase in production, as so perfectly it is visible. Therefore it is possible further to try to pull industrial model of production on post-industrial technologies, without paying attention that this model simply doesn't allow these technologies to develop in the direction of the increasing rising of productivity, quality, a variety. But in my opinion it is a remediless invention because the industrial equipment already gradually changes becoming more and more post-industrial - robotized, automated, computerized. It would be much better already to start thinking as the working post-industrial model leaning on possibilities of post-industrial equipment and allowing to use these opportunities with the maximum return for all society as a whole and for each his member has to look. Only not imitating post-industrial model when one robot replace five Chinese or Malaysian peasants, and real, with the real robots ("3D-printers").

AA wrote at 10/14/2013 10:21:46 PM:

http://advancedmanufacturing.tumblr.com/ This blog contains a analysis of why Gartner's claim might not hold as much weight as it looks. Kindly comment.

JC wrote at 10/14/2013 9:29:08 PM:

It is hard to believe this. Firstly 3D scanner + 3D printers aren't that easy to work with. It is not like copying music or photocopy a book. The scanners can only work with the surfaces, at least for time being. Come on.. not everyone out there are computer or 3D model experts. In fact it may actually increase the number of IPs instead as more and more people are creating new things where big companies never thought of in the past.

Ben wrote at 10/14/2013 6:41:22 PM:

I can see certain things getting digitized and stolen, but there will have to be heavy alterations to things that are injection molded. The engine cylinder requires multiple heat tempering treatments and that information cannot be scanned out of the object. The equipment needed to temper steel is no joke either.

Geoff Treseder wrote at 10/14/2013 6:08:40 PM:

silicon rubber shock horror, it's much more reliable and faster than 3d scanning and printing, Have they factored that into the equation? A load of tosh from someone who isn't really that savvy about how stuff is made.

jp wrote at 10/14/2013 4:13:21 PM:

These are the same things that were said during the CNC revolution 30 years ago as numerical tools were replacing mill wrights, machinists, and tool and die makers on the shop floor.

Bri wrote at 10/14/2013 2:48:20 PM:

Gartner to the rescue with the absurd estimations!! The sky is falling!!

CornGolem wrote at 10/14/2013 2:46:33 PM:

BULL SHIT Even for a single billion $ I wouldn't believe their report. How did they come up with this number ? show the data ! And who asked for this report to be made ? To me it's just a way to tax the end users.

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