AM SoftwareCopyright and IPLegislation

Cadchain’s CADPlug helps designers earn from their models’ 3D prints

Using blockchain technology

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Cadchain is a startup providing a blockchain-enabled software as a service solution that acts as a bodyguard for 3D files. The bodyguard plugin protects files from unauthorized access and tracks every interaction. One of the key use cases of the innovative CADPlug IP management plugin is 3D printing. Today there are many platforms for hosting 3D model files to download and print. This regularly leads to a variety of issues – often voiced in social media communities – as there are no clear IP usage rules.

One of the primary issues is that people may take any design and sell it, leaving it unchanged. In addition, users could potentially take designs, change them slightly, and then claim them as their own. In most cases, 3D prints are not traceable and not controllable at all.

Cadchain developed a plugin that allows signing NDA and licensing agreements automatically, tracking who, when, where, how many times, and with what characteristics have printed from a 3D model that they have downloaded. CADPlug is added on top of CAD software and provides IP protection of a CAD asset from within the software itself.

CADPlug helps designers earn from their models' 3D prints

This end-to-end IP protection system secures the CAD model while an array of services and smart contracts communicate through a blockchain protocol to store data and create the digital twins from the CAD file. CADPlug handles user identification and everything related to files being used in the CAD software.

Through the plugin, files can be protected by state-of-the-art encryption and tracked when shared. As this all happens within the CAD software, it is easy and fast, requiring no extra work by the engineer. Verification assures the identity of entities and individuals that the file data is being shared with, guaranteeing that anyone reviewing the file has been verified, even if that person is an external collaborator.

The 3D model owner can offer different licenses, for example, to get paid for a number of 3D printing events. When the limit is reached, a user may request a prolongation. Or an unlimited printing license at a different price. The solutions available today on the market are covering only a part of this process, or operate through a platform that owns the 3D model data. Cadchain, on the other hand, does not have access to the data, leaving the designer as the only fully independent owner.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites and, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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