Friday, May 23, 2014

Not cool is not strong enough to cover this, Makerbot

As I said on G+ where I saw this, there is literally no way I can give Makerbot the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Makerbot's patent lawyers have issued a patent application for:
A bearing that provides contact force to engage a filament with a drive gear has a movable axis that can be controllably moved toward and away from the drive gear in order to engage and disengage the filament. A bearing is spring-biased toward the drive gear, and a bistable lever mechanism is provided with a first stable position in which the bearing is engaged with a filament and a second stable position in which the bearing is disengaged from the filament.
In other words the very thing that literally everyone is using on their printers already, developed and iterated by the thingiverse community to replace Makerbot's own useless plunger design, Makerbot is now trying to claiming patent for like they invented it. Now, maybe I haven't read the Thingiverse terms of use closely enough, but last time I checked it out it said they had the right to print anything we published there without compensation, but I don't remember anything about them being able to patent them without permission or compensation.

I've defended Makerbot's decisions in the past. But this one decision taints everything Makerbot in my opinion. This is a low, ugly move. The last time Thingiverse had a huge migration I kinda thought people were being a bit silly. But this time... I'm committed to never put anything else on Thingiverse ever again. Gotta decide between YouMagine or Treasure Island or pinshape. Maybe I'll do them all.

So I guess in the end this is good for me. I now have no choice but to find an alternative to Thingiverse. So thank you Makerbot for being so despicable as to force my hand.

1 comment:

  1. So technically Makerbot's patents, including one of the other ones their filing for like the one for auto leveling a build plate, are unique enough that legally they have a right to file the patent. But that won't stop them from using these to attack companies like Afinia who aren't similar, but don't have the financial wherewithal to defend themselves before going bankrupt. (Actually Afinia seems to be doing okay, so glad for that, but the fact that shots were fired isn't cool.)

    I hate the patent system as a whole. Admitedly it started when I was lied to as a kid and told that patents were to protect the little guy inventing in his garage from getting his idea stolen by deep pocket corporate monsters. Then as an adult I learned that at tens of thousands of dollars to even file patents aren't only for the deep pocket corporate monsters so they can soak the little guy inventing in his garage. 3D printing advanced the way it did in the past 5 years because patents expired. But now Makerbot, who benefited from this innovative hot bed, are slamming the door on innovation.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.