The Internet can be a wonderful place, but it can also be a very disappointing one, especially if you are a generative design studio called Nervous System, which makes models and digital fabrication to create art, jewelry, and housewares.
Nervous System, whose website can be found here, isn't in any trouble with customers, nor does it have any sales or revenue problems that we know of.
The unfortunate thing that happened to it was falling victim to attempted intellectual property theft.
3DLT, a 3D printing service, took jewelry designs from Nervous System and hosted them without their knowledge or consent. It even used different names and new descriptions.
The site has been put on hold and it is questionable if the company itself will actually finish leaving the launching ramp. Go here to read an open apology message.
Copies of tables by designer Dirk Vander Kooij and 3D-printed shoes by Andreia Chaves have been discovered by Wired before the disappearance of the website.
What's more, Nervous System Co-founder Jessica Rosencrantz bought one of the designs for $40 / 29.83 Euro.
It was the Nervous Ring, known to Nervous System as the Hyphae Ring, and only got her a folder with a file called mCube, with random things in it, even a website template. Obviously, none of those could be 3D printed.
“They changed the names and descriptions but are using our images,” says Rosenkrantz. “They claim to have the STL files for these designs, but I guarantee they do not. The last design they show — ‘circle necklace’ (our name ‘Radiolaria Necklace’) - isn’t even 3-D printed.”
Rosenkrantz learned that some of her designs were there on Thursday, February 7.
“They never contacted us,” she says. “I had never heard of them until someone sent me the link last night to ask me if it was legitimate.”
If nothing else, happenings like this will bring the issue of 3D printing design privacy to the forefront.