Lego Style Snap Together Pieces

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by vivalaevolucion, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. vivalaevolucion
    vivalaevolucion New Member
    I am curious if we can print out 3d lego style pieces that snap together so we can make bigger items?
  2. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
  3. vivalaevolucion
    vivalaevolucion New Member
    Thank you so much for your quick reply. Do you know if this would it work for something as big as a life size coffee table? I want to make 3d print coffee tables using about 20 or so 3d printed pieces that can be easily snapped together by customer. If possible please let me know what 3d program you recommend using to create something like this . Thanks again for your help. I can't wait to start working on it I believe 3D print is the future of furniture manufacturing.
  4. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
  5. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    That's for them and their lawyers to decide. Of course if they ask us to take it down because it violates our terms and conditions, we will.
  6. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    I must say Mike, that for an employee of Shapeways, your attitude is a tad blasé.
    Click on the link -> LEGO Fair Play policy and have a read.
    Basically, all that needs to be done with many of the examples in your search reference is to change the order of the wording for the title so that the item does not claim to be a LEGO product and no models need to be taken down. It has little to do with Shapeways policies, but everything to do with the IP rights of the LEGO Group and how they chose to allow their registered trademarks to be used.


  7. vivalaevolucion
    vivalaevolucion New Member
    I actually had problems using the word Lego on cafepress and zazzle. I had a Lego evolution design that got kicked off, but i re-uploaded it under a different name (without mention of the word lego) and it was accepted. Also, I believe using the phrase "Lego Style" would probably be ok. On a related note, I sell some knock-off Eames Chairs that I call Eames-Style Office Chair, and haven't had any problems. As long as the customer is not getting the impression that they are buying genuine Lego brand products then it should be ok.
  8. Piers
    Piers New Member
    Wouldn't this be a similar situation to 3D systems suing Kickstarter? Kickstarter hasnt actually infringed on any patents, yet they promoted and raised cash to start Formlabs and Miicraft (who apparently have). So they are indirectly liable.

  9. BillBedford
    BillBedford New Member

    Until the case goes to court and there is is a judgement, whether Kickstarter is liable or not is up for debate.

    It looks to me like a not very secure company trying to stifle competition.
  10. Phxman
    Phxman Member
    I think it is important to not look like passing-off as a genuine Lego part.
    - it would be interesting to know what rights they claim for the connecting
    matrix between pieces - how many "dimples" before it becomes a matter
    of Patent or Copyright?

    To do that it would be necessary to keep your items at arms length by
    saying compatible with Lego.

    As Bill Bedford would know, this is achieved in the model railway world by
    saying an item is compatible with Hornby, Bachmann, Dapol etc. Probably
    because everyone is using common specs'!

    Someone even has a Patent for the whole Manufacturing Management process
    for a 3D Printing Business: not the process itself, but also the monitor & control
    tasks applied to manage the Process [US Patent Application 20110313878]

    - be interested to know if Shapeways has received any flack in the way they
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  11. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    With the LEGO Group, they make it plain and simple for people wanting to use their registered trademarks (not a copyright or patent) - link already provided twice above. I really do not see what there's any issues about if people play fair ;)

    In the early days of LEGO bricks, before they started using ABS plastic, LEGO did patent a lot of their designs but so much has changed since then - for instance the standard 2 x 4 stud brick has, iirc, had at least eight different variations over the last 40 years. These days the LEGO inventory stands at something like 33,000 different designs of elements, hardly any of which are 'patented'. Most of the elements that are 10 years or older are publically available as basic 3D models via - even instruction leaflet/books are available for download via

    Anyhow, my point before was not about 'compatible with LEGO' items, copyrights or patents, but the phrasing of the Shapeways model titles as provided by the search link Youknowwho4eva posted that blatently use the LEGO trademark as the leading word. But, hey, if he don't care why should any of us.

    The LEGO Group are approachable, they do communicate and help those who ask how their 'compatible with LEGO' items can be used - do the right thing by the LEGO Group, and they'll do the right thing by you.

    Oh, just remembered, LEGO did have a Duplo play table that was a top and slot in legs on sale to the public, there are also many other LEGO designed play tables in educational/commercial environments that could be used as coffee tables. I would recommend careful research before releasing a modular table system based on anything like a LEGO product - easiest research in my books is just to email the people and ask, if they say 'yes', push for endorsement of the product, if they say 'no', you know where you stand and can move on.


  12. Piers
    Piers New Member
    your right, my bad. there should be a '?' instead a '.' at the end there.

  13. natalia
    natalia New Member
    Hi guys,

    To add a bit of light, the way we operate is under the DMCA (great wiki here: t

    We can not check every product for copyrights so we put that responsibility on the uploader. If someone is infringing a copyright, and the copyright holder contacts us (Shapeways), we will take down the model until the case is resolved. Shapeaways itself is not liable for any damages as we fall under the DMCA's "Safe Harbor" act. This means, just like YouTube, we are just a place where files are stored, we do not accept responsibility for them. But if we get a DMCA Takedown notice, we are obliged to remove the model/files and notify the owner.

    So Paul, Mike was right in what he said, in that it is not up to us to police our users, rather, like you suggest, we hope they police themselves.

    To make that easier, I have a quick update on the Copyright 101 guide!

    We're currently at the US Patent Office Conference on 3D Printing in Washington D.C today and will be talking with Michael Weinberg from Public Knowledge next week so keep sending me your questions in this thread and I'll make sure I cover all the bases! 2&#msg_60592

  14. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member

    My point was and still is, the attitude that is conveyed.

    People generally follow by example, if the examples they are shown are from a Shapeways employee as "That's for them and their lawyers to decide. Of course if they ask us to take it down because it violates our terms and conditions, we will." then what kind of example are prople going to follow?

    As an analogy, would anyone in their right mind steal a car and wreck it just because they had been told it is ok to do that because it is only wrong if you get caught? (car = IP rights, wreck it = rip off a tradename, getting caught = voilating T&C's)

    Yes people can 'police themselves' if they are shown how to.

  15. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    Shapeways needs to be a platform not an agent -- if they were to start taking responsibility for policing users, it would expose them to an infinite level of liability. It won't happen.
  16. vivalaevolucion
    vivalaevolucion New Member
    i agree with Bathsheba that shapeways needs to be a platform and not an agent. In the future there will probably be a phone app that allows people to scan just about any object and make 3d file that can be uploaded to shapeways. imagine how difficult it would be for shapeways to monitor everything uploaded to their site and cross check it with every imaginable product to make sure it is not violating some manufacturers intellectual property. It is up to name brand manufacturers to patrol the marketplace for that type of thing. I believe shapways should focus on 3d printing, and also be looking into 3d woodworking and CNC wood routers, and leave the intellectual property violation monitoring to the name brand manufacturers. of course if shapeways is contacted by a manufacturer about a product listed on their platform that is in violation of an intellectual property or copyright then they should remove it.
  17. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member
    Just to play Devil's Advocate:

    If someone buys a model of mine (I wish!) from SW who are they buying it from? Me or SW?

    I (hopefully) own the rights and am paid a license fee (the markup), but I would have guessed that since SW is making the physical object, taking the money and shipping the item tehy are the vendor. ALl backed up by the fact that I have no direct contact with the end customer unless they pm me...

    And, discuss ...
  18. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    It's not very different from the fact that you can't sue your phone company if someone lies to you by phone. The telco is the one that you have the documented financial relationship with, and they have the deep pockets too. Nonetheless, they don't provide the content that they transmit, and they're not responsible for it.

    Remember the RIAA trying to hold ISPs, and later Youtube, liable for music pirating? They were denied, and this clarified the federally protected "safe harbor" status of these platforms. A platform could decide to voluntarily assume that liability, but it would instantly be sued out of existence by a million copyright holders.

    As far as I know, it hasn't been legally tested whether Shapeways does in fact fall into that "safe harbor" zone. We have to hope that it does, and meanwhile we can't expect them to say or do anything that might sound like wanting to police content for copyright violations.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  19. Whystler
    Whystler New Member

    If I were in charge of the world, the universe and everything ....

    I would say if you're a company who is given a design by a user and you make that design in reality and deliver it *to that user*, then you are not responsible for the user's bad decisions regarding copyright.

    I would also say that you you're a company who is given a design by a user, and you make that design in reality, and provide a marketplace where that design can be sold to customers other than that user, then you are entering into a partnership with that user and are jointly responsible for any bad decisions regarding copyright.

    Licensing choices available to us today are all kinds of varying shades of grey. But when you don't have a license to produce a product or represent a trademark, then to me it's very black and white.

    Good if you follow a licensing arrangement identified by a company who owns a design or trademark. Bad if you don't - whether the company pursues you or not. Also bad if you assume that since you haven't read anything that says you can't use a design or trademark, that there isn't a restriction.

    Unfortunately, I fear that people have made more money from not respecting intellectual property than those who have respect.

  20. vivalaevolucion
    vivalaevolucion New Member
    check out the book called Against Intellectual Property, which talks about how it is contrary to a free market, holds back innovation, and creates scarcity of non-scarce resources. Is stealing information really the same as stealing someones tangible property? The people who benefit most from the US companies intellectual properties are the Chinese, as they don't give a F about it, and will gladly steal our ideas. if a US company creates a pill that cures cancer, and they decide to charge $1 Mill for the pill, would you respect their intellectual property if you were broke and had cancer, or would you buy the Chinese or Indian version of the pill for $20?