Guest Post: Are 3D Printing and Intellectual Property Protection at Odds?

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3D Printing Intellectual Property Protection

Editor’s note July 1: This post is currently under editorial review for content accuracy and the copy has been removed.


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2 Responses to Guest Post: Are 3D Printing and Intellectual Property Protection at Odds?

  1. Michael Mount says:

    I would like to thank the author for this article, but, unfortunately must differ with a couple of the author’s conclusions. First, it the author’s premise that 3-D Technology is a “disruptive” technology. While the technology has indeed been around for some 30 years, it has yet to prove disruptive to any industry. Rather than a replacement for large scale (or even small scale)manufacturing, 3-D Printing has only proven to be a somewhat interesting hobbyist technology in the main. The important development has been its growth in small volume, highly specialized, custom fabrication such as medical devices and industrial design prototypes. Non of these uses – so far – have brought the technology into unforeseen confrontation with the current intellectual property legal regimes. Both copyright and patent law seems quite adequate to handle any “new” problems that are arising with the spread of 3-D Printing. There is one area that may cause problems; that is the area of industrial design. While copyright covers some “design”, such as sculpture, it doesn’t not do a good job of covering any elements of functionality that may be incorporated into a design. The US Copyright Office is loath to issue copyright registrations for any articles of design that contain an element of functionality. Patent law does a better job of covering articles of design that contain elements of functionality, but the term of protection is short (14 years), it takes a long time for a patent to issue (currently about 1.5 to 2 years), a patent does not automatically attach to an invention (unlike copyright)and must therefore be applied for, and the application process is usually expensive. But, this problem area has existed before 3-D Printing. If it is exacerbated by the growth of 3-D Printing and results in some improvement on the current law, so much the better. But, as of the moment, current law seems poised to handle any problems created by the spread of the use of 3-D Printing.

  2. [...] and intellectual property protection at odds? Well, in a nutshell, yes. But…Check out HERE for more information. It is a guest post by Steve Erickson, whose bio is at the end of the [...]

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