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Third Dimension of IP Protection

An important intellectual property rights issue continues to simmer on the back burner of industrial consciousness, that of protecting the rights of individuals and patent holders when 3D printing moves into the mainstream.

We first wrote about the potential effects of file sharing in September following an article on the topic that appeared in MIT Technology Review. Even in these early days of 3D printing innovation there are those with the foresight to understand the potential harms to those whose designs might be pirated.

There is an ongoing debate related to the actual effects of copyright and intellectual property piracy on profit and innovation. Some hold that piracy is a detriment to revenue and innovation, while still others that innovation actually thrives in markets where intellectual property protections are weak or non-existent.

(Writing as an individual creator, I sympathize most with those who seek to protect original works and to profit from their creative labors.)

Discussions related to copy protection as they pertain to 3D printing are real and gaining momentum. An article recently appearing in the Philadelphia Business Journal goes into some detail on the issue, addressing a number of questions from the rudimentary (What is 3D printing?) to deeper legal issues (are existing patents protected against copying via 3D printers?).

Authors Joan Kluger and Andrew Chou, both intellectual property attorneys, conclude their article by suggesting that owners of intellectual property rights give proper consideration to their rights and take steps to adequately protect those rights in the marketplace.

HoGo agrees and would add that such steps not only involve legal protections, but practical and technical protections that may thwart the intentional or inadvertent sharing of documents that may put IP at risk.

As it turns out, one such protection was announced yesterday as HoGo ended its beta trial and launched the full version of its secure document sharing platform. Here’s a nifty little video that gives you more information.

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