Blowback Over 3D Systems Suit?

3D Printing & Imaging
Blowback Over 3D Systems Suit?

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In the wake 3D Systems’ patent infringement suit against Kickstarter and Formlabs, celebrated 3D printing artist Joshua Harker has removed a 3D Systems shout out from his Kickstarter campaign.

Joshua’s Crania Anatomica Filigre project, a beautifully ornate 3D printed skull, has become an icon  of the consumer 3D printing world. It was also Kickstarter’s top funded sculpture project of all time. His new Anatomica di Revolutis projects depicts a winged skull with a pull-chain with provocative imagery he says symbolizes the 3D printing revolution. It’s a gorgeous work of art.  Says Joshua:  “Each component is designed to assemble together to present a larger narrative about the developing 3rd Industrial Revolution. The fully assembled sculpture features all 3 pieces & symbolizes liberty & prosperity through an empowered participatory populace.”

As part of a video compilation for his Kickstarter campaign, Joshua included a who’s who of the 3D printing industry, each of whom says “join the revolution.” The vanguard included 3D systems. But Joshua doesn’t find 3D Systems’ suit so revolutionary so he cut them from his honor roll of 3D printing heavies.  In a letter to his backers on Kickstarter he explains his move:

I am not a lawyer & I have no idea what’s happening behind the scenes or of the overall validity of claims for either side. I can only say that my message of revolution is about empowering the individual & the technologies & networks which support that. The inclusion of all the big name players & brightest stars was intended to demonstrate a sense of community in the field.

So, I have decided to remove 3D Systems from my presentation. This is not an attempt to sway opinion or harm them in any way but rather to distance myself from looking like I’m making some kind of endorsement or have an affiliation without knowing all the facts, especially given the context, timing, & place where this is all playing out. With the press release already live I felt the need to leave a statement of reference.

While this whole thing is not directly about me, it has put me in a shit situation given what I’m professing as well as the integrity & credibility I wish to keep. This may illustrate better than I could have ever presented the need for supporting the “DIY Makers” & the technologies that enable their innovation & independence.  Seems like this revolution may have some teeth but unfortunately it’s already looking to feed on itself. Time will clear the field.

[Emphasis is original]

In a post about Josh’s decision, Josh Mings wonders if 3D Systems has injected a dose of fear into the DIY community. What do you think? Will 3D Systems’ suit come back to haunt it?

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Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

View more articles by Stett Holbrook


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