The US Navy has been using 3D printers for years. These produce simple spare parts, for example on aircraft carriers, which would otherwise have to be purchased at great expense. The technology has now progressed so far that more and more private individuals can use it. Either with your own device at home or in so-called makerspaces. The individual parts do not have to be redesigned every time. Instead, there are countless printing instructions on the Internet. Legally, however, it is not entirely clear to what extent certain parts can be reprinted just like that. Complicating is the fact that brand manufacturers do things very differently. This can be illustrated by the example of the automotive industry. For example, while Ford publishes its own print instructions and supports the scene in other ways, Honda, on the other hand, has now launched a legal offensive and is taking action against websites where Honda print instructions have been distributed.
Even the character in the file name was criticized
Logically, this does not concern safety-relevant or complicated parts. Brake discs or cylinder head gaskets are not really reprintable anyway. Instead, it involves things like covers, handles, closing flaps, brackets or housings for car keys. It is of course not prohibited in principle to print such matters or to publish printing instructions for them. However, things become problematic when the Honda brand name comes into play. For example, the Printables portal confirmed that it had received mail from the carmaker’s lawyers. Therefore, all instructions containing the name of the car manufacturer had to be removed. This also applies if the mark appears only in the file name. According to the information provided by the portal operator, the carmaker’s lawyers have gone into great detail. Not only did they send a general decision, but they also added a list of all the entries to be removed.
Some legal questions are still unresolved
An official statement from the car manufacturer is not yet available. Honda printing instructions can still be found on similar portals. This may also be due to the fact that the legal situation is still partly unclear. Honda, for example, invokes its trademark and patent rights. Whether these are sufficient to ban the mention of the name completely, however, remains to be elucidated. Theoretically, the building description can simply be uploaded again after the brand name has been removed. However, then it should be much more difficult for other users to find the instructions they want. Czech 3D printer manufacturer Prusa, which also operates the Printables portal, now increasingly wants to engage in dialogue with brand manufacturers. The aim is to encourage collaboration with the 3D printing community to be seen as an opportunity. To what extent this will succeed remains to be seen. In the future, the outstanding legal questions should also concern the courts.
Via: The Standard