While the joys and euphoria of discovering 3D printing are very real, so are intellectual property concerns. The making community is famous for its open-source design, which is the antithesis of the me, me, me generation, embracing a concept of sharing, improving, and furthering the world of digital design, 3D printing.
When you are building a brand or a business, however, often the reality is that you simply can’t have everyone running off with your idea willy-nilly–or stealing it outright. All that brainpower–steam coming from between the ears–and effort put into many hours of labor and iterations of a product is worth something. So while there are some designs and ideas we want to put out there to the world freely, there are others we must protect, because quite simply, they are valuable–and yes, ours.
The growing concern regarding intellectual property rights and 3D design is becoming more widespread, and several groups are taking measures to deal with the issue, as we’ve reported on before, from debates and pending lawsuits to those working to speak out on the issues.
New protection–and subsequent piece of mind–is available as of today though, via Grow Secure, which is a standalone Windows solution that revolves around protection of remote 3D printed designs. The intellectual property protection product encrypts files so that the original owners of designs stay just that way – owners of files that are not stolen or corrupted.
Available for free download now, all manufacturing hubs are able to receive a trial run at no cost for three months which can be renewed at a minimal fee.
“This is a critical area for the industrial 3D printing market where IP owners have been concerned for some time about how their designs can be securely sent for manufacture,” Ray Coyle, CEO of Grow told 3DPrint.com. Also one of the co-founders of Grow, Coyle is an attorney and an intellectual property specialist.
Based in West London, as part of the Grow software company, the Grow Secure plaform allows for distribution of files that are guarded by 3074 bit RSA encryption and a key system. Because each hub does have its own ‘key,’ if you are an IP owner you can encrypt and transfer files knowing that no one can ever get to them–even if there is an unfortunate breach in security.
“We believe that IP security and output consistency across multiple sites are the key barriers to adoption of distributed manufacturing using AM technology,” said Coyle. “Grow Secure is our first product in a series that will address these issues and help to enable this technology to reach its full potential”.
This is no spur-of-the-moment gimmicky protection plan, as the company, co-founded by Siavash Mahdavi (founder of Within Labs and co-founder of Digital Forming) and backed by EOS GmbH, has also been duly tested by Autodesk. The industry giant has been using Grow Secure over the last year with a successful trial run, as they used it to encrypt and transfer medical design files to hubs all over the world.
Also available for EOS hardware is a feature that allows the client design file to remain encrypted through the entire process. This means that not even the manufacturing bureau has access to the design. Grow Secure is currently developing further means to make this available more widely.
This company functions not just as an entity offering this unique encryption service, but also as a platform for 3D printing manufacturers and industrial designers to grow further together, knowing that they are secure. Users can add new data to files before encryption that includes instructions to manufacturers, instilling both confidence and organization on both sides due to thorough, comprehensive, and secure practices. This method not only ensures safety and protection, but also consistency.
Have you been concerned about intellectual property rights with any of your 3D designs? How important do you think it is to seek protection? Discuss in the Grow Secure forum thread over at 3DPB.com.