Authors: Anita Bhushan, John F. Hornick
In an interesting turn of events, a segment of the 3D printing (3DP) community is leveraging the concept of crowdsourcing to find prior art and file it using the preissuance submission process.
3D printing—more formally known as additive manufacturing—is a technology for creating three dimensional objects from CAD files. Generally, 3DP works by fusing layer upon layer of materials, such as plastics or powder metals, to build a final, fully formed product. “Makers,” a segment of the 3DP community, are entrepreneurs, garage, and school lab innovators who practice 3DP. They are ordinary people using 3D printers to make things like working vinyl records, cases for cellphones, jewelry, art, and even 3D printers that can self-replicate. Makers are generally dedicated to open availability of the technology, and decide, collectively, whether and what intellectual property is appropriate in the 3DP world.