3D Printing Tests IP Issues With Pokemon Go Merchandise

Artists are trying to take advantage of the explosion of popularity for the Pokemon Go mobile app, and have gotten creative in doing so.

Multiple designers have produced three dimensional toys based on characters and other game related themes, and made them available to 3d print wherever you are.

There's no confirmation from Nintendo that these are licensed products, and by the looks of things, they aren't.  Yet they have garnered quite a bit of attention on Thingiverse, one of the platforms that hosts these Pokemon Go related 3d prints.

For those that haven't played the game, you must pick a team when you start.  Team Valor, Team Instinct or Team Mystic.  If you want to "purchase" (which in this case means 3d print with no cost except for that of the material) something to represent Team Valor, you can snag a branded 3d printable item on Thingiverse easily, and the other teams aren't hard to find on the file platform either.

There are other Pokemon Go items available on 3d printing file libraries, but the larger point here is how Nintendo and other consumer brands will react to this phenomenon of individual people creating branded merchandise so quickly.  It offers new avenues of growth - taking advantage of events on a daily, weekly or monthly basis - and also challenges  - how will companies protect their intellectual property?

Will they go the way of Hasbro, asking fans to create art around their brands and allowing people to order 3d printable merchandise, or will they go the way of Katy Perry and her legal team, which demanded "Left Shark" 3d prints be taken down from the web following the 2015 Super Bowl. 

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