EFF Asks for Help Fighting Bad 3D Printing Patents
With a large number of patents being applied for and granted in the growing space of 3D printing, sometimes the patent office can be overwhelmed and grant overly generic patents, or invalid patents that already have prior art. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has recently been trying to ensure bad patents are challenged. Now they’re asking for your help.
The recent patent process updates have made the patent application more open by allowing public access to recently filed patents. This lets the public comment or point out prior art, places where another company has used the same techniques publicly. If the patent applicant isn’t the first to show the technology, then could just be trying to patent another company’s ideas, or trying to patent what is already obvious to people who use a technology.
The EFF has paired with Ask Patents, a stackexchange website, to try to find prior art for some of these 3d printing patents. The first is from Panasonic on using gas flows for better laser sintering. The second is a patent application from Stratasys on a method for 3d printing chocolates. Finally, another Stratasys patent application asks for a patent on using flattened ribbon filament for faster melting.
So if you work on the cutting edge of 3d printing, take a look at the patents they’ve flagged, and be a part of keeping 3D printing open.