I just discovered the work of John Hornick.
In his article "3D Printing and the Future (or Demise) of Intellectual Property", he states that 3D printing is to manufacturing what Napster was to music. In light of this trend towards democratized manufacturing - the ability to control intellectual property is going to disappear. The specific examples feel really old now, which basically proves the exponential growth of the field.
If you don't want to read the paper, this YouTube video is basically the same material:
One of my favorite quotes is: "the age of 3D printing has the potential to be a golden age for materials scientists." I absolutely agree with that!
If IP is really over - what are the new business and R&D models for open innovation in a world of democratized manufacturing?
What is the Soundcloud/Bandcamp/Spotify business model for 3D printing? Is it on-demand-printing ie Shapeways? Or advanced desktop tools at home? Regional/local makerspaces?
How do you distribute R&D and incentivize users to contribute their developments?