They weren’t seeking to make a profit. Time was running out and they had the chance to help save lives, so they acted. Now, they’re potentially facing a lawsuit for simply trying to do the right thing.
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Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Ramaioli heard about the desperate need for oxygen valves and offered up their 3D printer to help speed up the process. They went to the manufacturer of the original part, who then refused to let the pair look at the digital specs so they could fashion a replica. They were also threatened with a lawsuit if they were to go ahead and replicate the part.
According to The Verge, the pair went decided it was worth the risk to go ahead and potentially save lives and deal with the consequences later. It only cost them a few dollars to make the parts and they didn’t charge the hospital for their services.
The replica valves made from the 3D printer have saved the lives of at least 10 patients. As The Verge reported, Fracassi said in a Facebook post that they weren’t looking for a profit, they just wanted to help.
“[The patients] were people in danger of life, and we acted. Period,” said Fracassi in a Facebook post. He also said that “we have no intention of profit on this situation, we are not going to use the designs or product beyond the strict need for us forced to act, we are not going to spread the drawing.”
Obviously, companies have every right to protect their intellectual property. But hopefully, the manufacturer in question decides to let this case drop, as it appears quite evident this was the best outcome overall. Their part worked beautifully, volunteers were able to find a quicker way to help people, and those who were sick are now getting better.
Praise God for these quick-thinking people, and their courage to act despite facing potential future consequences.