Honda Has Demanded the Removal of All Brand-Related 3D Printable Files
One of the biggest uses of 3D printing has been to create customized parts in the automotive world. Creative minds around the world are solving problems or customizing their cars with the help of additive manufacturing. And many of the automotive companies support this community of makers, in fact there are several that provide drawings and files to help build and share these custom parts. A recent example of this was Ford, which released a large number of files to 3D print accessories for the Maverick model. However, not all automakers share the same sentiment.
Recently, automaker Honda asked 3D printer manufacturer Prusa to remove all files with the brand name from its “Printables” platform. A Prusa spokesperson explained to The Drive, “I can confirm that we have received a letter from a lawyer representing Honda, informing us that we were required to remove any model which used ‘Honda’ in the listing, the model itself, or one of several trademarks/logos also associated with Honda. This will also be related to the naming of the files it self (sic), as for Honda this would be considered as a violation of their trademark/patents”
In the past, the additive manufacturing community has made available numerous open source designs and files for fixtures and other parts from well-known brands. For example, global electronics firm Panasonic has made more than 75,000 free CAD files available to customers for its electronic components. So has automaker Ford, which released CAD files for customers to print their own Maverick pickup truck accessories.
Honda Models on Printables
Last week, manufacturers began reporting on Reddit that their Honda-related 3D models had been removed from Printables without warning. Those files included windshield washer fluid caps, key covers and more. Many of these parts did not have Honda branding explicitly written on them but were compatible with Honda vehicles.
According to Prusa, the mass deletion is the result of the notice issued by Honda, as they do not want to get into a legal fight with the automaker, and given the tight timeframe they had to respond to the letter, they complied with the request. The 3D files affected by this mass deletion were not only those containing Honda logos, but also specific elements with certain shapes and dimensions that the company perceived as an infringement of its trademarks.
What is interesting about the decision is that according to the reddit posts some of these files were spare parts created by the community. It is well known that after a certain period, many automotive manufacturers choose to discontinue parts for vehicles, ostensibly due to lack of demand and high costs related to making these parts. However, 3D printing has often been put forth as a solution to this issue. In this case, it seems the manufacturer would prefer that any parts for Honda come specifically from the company. Though, the carmaker has remained tight lipped on the decision.
Despite the files removed from Printables, we can still find Honda-related 3D files on Thingiverse and Thangs. What do you think of the decision made by Honda and intellectual property within the industry? What do you think of this microfluidic bioprinting method? Let us know in a comment below or on our Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.
*Photo Credits: Sourav Mishra