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3D printing spurs copyright clash on iPhone gear

August 13
12:53 PM 2013

Wohlers Associates Inc estimated that by 2021, the printing market would surge to US$10.8 billion from last year's US$2.2 billion. However, clashes continued to arise as 3D printers become more affordable. Legal battles about high-tech designs were expected to threaten the printing market.

Fernando Sosa was part of the increasing number of designers that are currently facing legal trials for utilizing consumer version of the 3-D printers. Sosa, co-owner of Nuproto LLC, printed a sword-covered iPhone dock that was inspired by HBO's hit television series 'Game of Thrones'. However, HBO defended its copyright on electronics that feature the show and demanded Sosa to stop the sales on his website.

"We're indifferent to the technology," Jeff Cusson, HBO's spokesman, said. "If you are going to infringe on our copyright, we are going to take steps to prevent you from doing so."

Subsequently, problems regarding patents would continue to grow as printer makers like 3D System Corp and Stratasys Ltd. sell machines worth less than USD3,000. Additive Manufacturing Users Group's board member, Todd Grimm, said over 45,000 low-end units were sold within the last three years.

"They could spend years and millions of dollars suing customers, or they could make it easy for people to access their stuff online," digital advocacy group Public Knowledge vice president Michael Weinberg said.

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