3-D Printing Materials You Can't Patent
by jpearce, published
Broad patent claims on materials for 3-D printing may hamper the open-source 3-D printing community's ability to innovate. This algorithm is presented here as a defensive publication of prior art to help identify obvious materials for 3-D printing.
Patent examiners: Following the non-obvious requirement under patent law, claims on 3-D printing materials that can be generated with the algorithm presented below should be denied and existing patents based on materials that can be generated from this algorithm should be revoked as they would be obvious to any materials scientist with a rudimentary understanding of 3-D printing.
Makers: You are encouraged to use/share/develop materials for 3-D printing that can be generated by the algorithm. Being identified as obvious does not prohibit sale of the materials. We undoubtedly missed some clauses- if so please add them to the comments. We,MOST, are currently developing an academic article on the effects of IP on 3-D printing and the role that theories of algorithms for innovation play in validating IP. We will list any substantive contributors in the acknowledgments of the paper.
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There is a persistent widespread belief that intellectual property law (and patents in particular) encourage innovation. This is intuitive, however, the evidence to the contrary is now overwhelming and the unavoidable conclusion is that intellectual property actually stifles innovation. For those of us in open-source 3-D printing this is fairly obvious Ã¢â¬â when the patent ran out which enabled the RepRap project to be born, there was an explosion of innovation that continues to accelerate in an open-source ecosystem supporting dozens of businesses. Some fields are not so lucky, such as nanotechnology, where a patent thicket has developed with a large number of overlapping claims on Ã¢â¬Åbuilding blockÃ¢â¬Â technologies that prevent innovations from reaching the market. For more information on that acute intellectual property tragedy (see: http://www.academia.edu/2174920/Make_nanotechnology_research_open-source -click on the Nature.com link to get an open access version). For a good summary of the literature on intellectual property and innovation in general from two economists see: Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/againstnew.htm
How to use the algorithm:
Variables and definitions:
@ = Ã¢â¬ÅAll of the preceding materials andÃ¢â¬Â
& = Ã¢â¬ÅAll combinations of all possible mol fractions of the aboveÃ¢â¬Â (e.g.  chemicals a+b, a+c, a+b+c, etc. until all combinations have been reached over the set up to N+M and  all fractions so that compound [ax][b1-x] would be stepped through from x=0 to 1 under all percentages)
N = the total number of natural chemicals and compounds including the entire set of elements in the periodic table
M = the total number of man-made chemicals. This includes, but is not limited to, the entire CAS REGISTRY (https://www.cas.org/content/chemical-substances), which is the most authoritative collection of disclosed chemical substance information, containing more than 71 million organic and inorganic substances and 64 million sequences.
Functional agent = any chemical species that provides some form of beneficial property of the 3-D printing material. For example this includes (but is not limited to) species to improve rheological properties, melting temperature, setting time, hydrodynamics (e.g. hydrophobicity, hydrophillicity, etc.) electromagnetic properties (e.g. phosphorescence, color, light transmission, reflection and refraction etc.), chemical properties (e.g. reactivity, smell, catalytic activity, etc.), mechanical properties (e.g. strength, flexibility, stiffness, fracture toughness, etc.), thermal properties (e.g. thermal conductivity, thermoluminescence, etc.), magnetic properties, and electrical properties, etc. (For other material properties see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_materials_properties )
Materials capable of being used as 3-D printed feedstock include:
- Known natural chemicals and compounds including all organic and inorganic substances
- @ & from 1 to N
- @ known man-made chemicals, compounds, and metamaterials including all organic and inorganic substances
- @ & from 1 to M
- @ & from 1 to NM
- @ & where 1 to NM acts as a functional agent
- @ & where any natural or manmade material is controlled for size from 1 Angstrom to 1 m in dimension (e.g. to account for any size related physical or chemical property change as is well established at the nanoscale)
- @ & any arrangement of the combinations (e.g. superlattices, metamaterials, core in shell quantum dots, etc.)
- @ & where a nanoscale collection of atoms (e.g. nanocrystal, quantum dot, nanotube, nanocolum, etc.) is used as a functional agent or filler
- @ & where the shape of the collection of atoms is altered to adjust properties (thus all geometric shapes, and all known complex shapes capable of being generated by a mathematical algorithm (e.g. fractals))
- @ & where the surfaces (both internal voids or external surfaces) are adjusted (e.g. roughening) to adjust properties.
- @ & at any temperature from 0 K to infinity (or any sequence or combination of temperature)
- @ & at any pressure from 0 bar to infinity (or any sequence or combination of pressure)
- @ & printed in any environmental medium [NM] (meaning that some 3-D printing materials may need to be used under vacuum, under water, etc.)
- @ & printed with the assistance of electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength.
- @ & printed with the assistance of any solvent from N or M or combination of the above.
- @ & for any physical orientation of the chemical species.
- @ & for any N or M or combination that acts as a catalyst during the printing process.
- @ & for any field catalyzed reaction (e.g. magnetic).
- @ any order of the above.