A thread on the GBAtemp.net forums this week includes directions to remove region locking from select Nintendo 3DS units, a process that users report having varying degrees of success.
The thread, called "Region Free Cart Loading with EmuNAND No flashcards," describes a method of hacking a 3DS running system software between versions 4.1 and 4.5. The result: Systems can load and run region-locked cartridges. The hack does not support ROMS. It only supports cartridges.
In the ensuing forum posts, some users report that they have been able to download patches for games, while others claim that the eShop is region locked. A forum poster reported being unable to play Monster Hunter 4 online because it required a patch they couldn't download. The initial post in the forum specifies that the hack allows users to download "Region Free Patches only."
Last year, Nintendo filed suit against against a console and handheld hacking website. The most recent official patch for the Nintendo 3DS family of products, version 7.1.0-14U, was released in December.