After years of process, US patent number 8,515,826 has been issued to Bryan Norman of KraftWurx fame. While there are billions of patents appearing, many of which are related to 3D printing, this one bears mentioning. Here's the abstract of the patent:
Methods and systems for designing and producing a three-dimensional object selection of a base three-dimensional object from a customer device. A base three-dimensional model corresponding to the object is displayed on the customer device, and one or more custom modifications are received. A modified three-dimensional model corresponding to the modified object is prepared and displayed. Once confirmation to produce the modified object is received, data corresponding to the modified three-dimensional model is transmitted to a manufacturing device for production of the object, using the data to do so, such that the object corresponds directly to the modified three-dimensional model.
Wait, what does that mean? To us it appears that Mr. Norman has obtained what appears to be a very comprehensive patent on a standard process used by a great many online 3D model services: Tweak an existing model and have it 3D printed. This process has been done by Shapeways, 3D Systems and yes, even Thingiverse.
We're not quite sure what the existence of the patent means, but we suspect some phone calls will occur shortly.
Meanwhile, enjoy the (long) read at the USPTO link below.