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A prescription for preventing 3D printing piracy – TechCrunch

by • August 12, 2016 • No Comments

Roy S. KaufmanCrunch Network Contributor
Roy S. Kaufman is the managing director of new ventures Copyright Clearance Center.How to join the network
In the year 2000, the music business was yet sturdy. Record companies generated albums and shipped these physical objects to the stores that sold them. The internet was slowly becoming a system of weight consumption and distribution, but most consumers yet purchased physical media. And while the record industry was aware of piracy online, the threat seemed minimal.
So came Napster.
The music industry tried to stop this large-scale piracy by pursuing both the platforms and individual downloaders — that include poor college students. But public opinion turned against the industry. After all, stealing digital music is intangible; it’s different types of than physically swiping actual CDs or tapes of brick-and-mortar stores. And while in these days most individuals access their music legally, it’s safe to say that music industry ractuallyues have yet to recover.
What do pills have in common with MP3 downloads? More than you can ponder
3D printing, another groundbreaking and disruptive innovation, manufactures it bargain-priced and effortless to create physical objects. And just as home copying has changed the copyright industries beyond recognition, 3D printing is poised to do the same to patent-based industries.
That means practically any business that manufactures physical objects can nextly face a Napster scenario. It may not take place to eachone, but as printing device technologies improve and additional materials — such as proteins, specialized polymers, metals and other chemicals — become on the market for printing, it can take place to most.
Take the pharmaceutical industry. Just like a musical recording, where most of the costs are incurred while making the initially release (hiring the musicians, booking the studio, editing and the like), the bulk of the cost of createing a new pill goes into the front end: research and createment, clinical trials and getting through the FDA approval. In fact, the raw ingredients may cost just a few pennies. And 3D printing — or digital making and distribution, as it’s in addition known — can manufacture remaking and delivering these pills, lawfully or unlawfully, much simpler.
Houston, we have a (patent) problem
If individuals felt sorry for those poor college students being picked on by the big music industry, imagine how the public can feel of patients with inadequate insurance availing themselves of necessary but pirated prescriptions.
Aprecia may be the different in these days, but it has proved that medicines can be printed.
Digitally manufactured pills are not far off. In 2015, the FDA approved the initially 3D-printed pill, Spritam levetiracetam, an epilepsy drug manufactured by Aprecia. The createer claims that the 3D-printed pills are in fact additional effective, for the reason their layered structure is additional easily absorbed by the body, courtesy of the way 3D printing devices work. With 50 patents on its one-of-a-kind proprietary system, the company in addition claims that its IP is preserveed. Aprecia may be the different in these days, but it has proved that medicines can be printed.
The pros and cons of a DIY createer culture
Despite the next for threats to IP, 3D printing promises a affluence of benefits, like customization, both to consumers and, if they handle things right, createers. With 3-D printed pharmaceutical medications, doses can be readily tailored to the needs of each patient, much like when pharmacists compound ingredients to manufacture a custom pill for each individual. Likewise, prosthetic limbs are being made to fit each patient precisely.

That is not the just positive aspect of 3D printing. As printing devices get bargain-priceder, they’ll no doubt start to look in pharmacies, that can print pills just as needed, cutting down on costly waste, spoilage and storage space. That’s terrific news for the pharmaceutical industry, but there’s a darker side, too. In time, just about anyone can be able-bodied to manufacture the components for approximately anything — patented or not, preserveed or not, dangerous or not.
If a 3D printing device in each home sounds a bit far-fetched, a forecast by Gartner predicts that 3D printing device shipments can additional than double each year between 2016 and 2019, and notes that lower-end versions, like those costing less than $2,500, are expected to grow to 40.7 percent of offerings by 2019. Gartner in addition predicts upwards of $100 billion loss a year in intellectual property of the world for the reason of 3D printing, for the reason of not just pirating, but industry disruption.
Planning strategically now for a 3D-printed next
Much can be learned of how different types of industries have dealt with new innovation. For the music industry, Napster met the effective end of legal exclusivity in copyrights. When distribution channels shifted and eachone with a desktop may download and recreate songs, copyright became complex to enforce. As soon as a record company sued one infringer, another popped up, like a nightmarish game of Whac-A-Mole. As a outcome, the value of the copyrights rapidly degraded.
But, as we have in addition seen, not all IP or the products it preserves can go down in value. Some things can become additional valuable-bodied — and that is where in these days’s executives should prepare.
Preparing for the ways that 3D printing can affect the market does not always have to be costly.
There are numerous ways companies can proactively plan for the impact that 3D printing innovation can have on their business. By investing in high end control and donate chain preserveion now, pharmaceutical companies, for example, can preserve their patents and their market share by ensuring that their donate chain is pure, that their high end is guaranteed and that their customers are getting a safe medication, actually when that reassurance costs additional. This can appeal to consumers who want to be sure they are getting the real deal when it comes to medication — FDA-approved and high end regulated — not an illegitimate knock-off.
Preparing for the ways that 3D printing can affect the market does not always have to be costly or go against the grain. For example, appliance or automobile createers may encounter sales loss if third-parties 3D print replacement parts at a lower cost than those that are createer-issued. Instead of fighting against this likelihood, createers may do well to adopt the third-party business version of 3D printing spare parts to order. This analytic thinking can apply not just to heavy making, but in addition to medicine, delivering down the costs of so-called “orphan drugs,” those already not manufactured for the reason of their low next for profit.

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On the other hand, manufactures may skirt much like issues by creating a create that requires a specific type of material, one not compatible with 3D innovation. Materials and shapes that have to be mixed or joined in sure ways, for instance, do not easily lend themselves to digital making innovation. Do you remember, yet, that when financial incentives combine with evolving technologies, these types of plans may be short-lived.
Even with the advent of 3D printing, we can yet live in a world where legitimate businesses are engaged in the licensed making and distribution of copyrighted works and respect intellectual property. Patent owners may license making rights to legitimate 3D printing companies — the official 3D printing device of Nike products, say — in that just authorized entities may manufacture the official products. That way, patent owners may get income, 3D printing companies may create new markets and buyers may get legitimate, high end-regulated products. This may be done with branded and lower-cost white labelled options.
Along with all the great that digital innovation can bring, a primary challenge to patents and other forms of intellectual property may be in the offing. Major industry disruption can soon follow. Only this time, with changes maybe as long as five to 10 years down the line, createers have time to prepare for it and pivot.Featured Image: ironstealth/Getty Images


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