Digital Intellectual Property: Follow Up

legal, law, printer, 3D, innovation, PLM, V6, LifeLike, CATIA, Solidworks, enovia, 3DS, 3Dvia, Simulia, swym, Dassault, Systèmes, Systemes, system, delmia, customer, value, engineer, engineering, design, industrial, draftsight

Last week  after publishing Bernard Charlès’ interview on IP at Hannover Messe, we received an email from one of our readers (thanks Patrick!) suggesting we look at this article. It covers what is perhaps the first intellectual property complaint ever on a 3D design.

Ulrich Schwanitz came up with a 3D design of the Penrose Triangle, famous for being impossible to create. He started selling his model via an online platform but soon after that, someone else (Artur Tchoukanov) recreated it and uploaded instructions on how to make it. Schwanitz then filed a complaint against Tchoukanov and the story went on so that he’s now called “the inventor of copyright threats over open 3D repositories.”

What’s new, you’re going to ask? Well, indeed, this is the first time someone gets a complaint for creating (not copying) a 3D model from an open 2D drawing. Was Schwanitz right? Is there any copyright to his 3D model? Or is it just not possible?

As Bernard Charlès stated last week, we have to come up with a proper legislation on digital Intellectual Property. So, what are the options? If we look at the music and movie businesses, such questions are still not answered. However, something I think we’ll all agree upon is Bernard’s quote: “when we encounter a conflict, we need unified ways to resolve issues.”

When it comes to industrial product creation, the issues go beyond those of the movie and music industries. This is because we’re talking about the creation of physical products that people use in their everyday lives. How about 3D printers? I know they’re pretty expensive at the moment… but can you imagine in a few years time, they will be democratized, powerful and you will find online CAD files for anything!

Say your door handle is broken… you will be able to reproduce it from scratch with your 3D personal printer! Take a look at this video if you doubt it:

Do you think physical product sellers will like this? I personally don’t think so. There is an urgent need to do something legally speaking. But again, this is still blurry…

So… what do you think?



  • I’ve given everything away to the public domain. If I had ever come up with something really unique I would have gotten a patent. Just because you model something doesn’t make your creation a private and owned idea. If that were the case then you have to keep it to yourself entirely and not let the world see it. You create it, make it, sell it, you already made your money. Someone that duplicates it for purposes of making money, well then I say it is too late. You already put it out there. The wheel belongs to the world not the original creator of it. Patent laws were not in effect then anyway. Also, suppose someone takes your idea and revamps it into a really great idea. The world gets a better product. Do you want to get paid for every variation of the original? This is way out of hand now.

  • I definitely agree with you Richard! However, I’m wondering if everybody feels the same (hence the poll) since people have grown fond of properties: this is MY house, MY car, MY idea, etc.

    With this trend of free stuff (music) and shared goods (at least in Europe, it is common to have bikes you rent) it seems like people progressively become free of this property notion.

    But again, will it be possible? the world we’re describing looks a lot like the smurf’s!