While you were busy getting yourself all worked up and declaring 3D printing the beginning of a new age, one of the most maligned figures in modern patent law is preparing to rain on your parade. Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft CTO and founder of patent holder Intellectual Ventures, has managed to get an expansive patent on 3D printing DRM. That 3D printing revolution we’ve been hoping for just got a lot trickier.
Turns out that the patents Whitwam references belong either to Searete, LLC or to The Invention Science Fund I, LLC, both apparently vehicles of Intellectual Ventures. Myhrvold is not listed as inventor.
Here is a list of Searete's and Invention Science's US patent and pending applications that address digital rights management and 3D printing and, more generally, secure manufacturing. Some pendings are continuations of the same specification and differ only in the claims. Nonetheless, this list does provide an overview into Intellectual Ventures' efforts in these areas.