3D Printing, the Internet and Patent Law – A History Repeating?

La Rivista di Diritto Industriale (2013) Vol. 62 Iss. 6, 352-370

15 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2014

See all articles by Marc Mimler

Marc Mimler

Bournemouth University - Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM); Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute

Date Written: February 28, 2013

Abstract

3-D printers are used to print three dimensional objects. Depending on the method applied the created object is constructed of a sort of plastic that the printer produces and shapes in the requested shape. 3-D printers have become more and more affordable in recent times and have therefore reached a wider distribution among the general public. Users can therefore nowadays print 3-D objects from the comfort of their home. Additionally, there are websites available that can be accessed to download files that contain templates which can be read into a computer and used for printing objects. This development may have important, if not dangerous ramifications. There have been reports that 3-D printing has been used to produce parts of handguns which otherwise needed to be registered.

But the development may also have an enormous impact on Intellectual Property (IP) Rights holders. 3-D printing could be used to produce objects that are covered by an IP right. One could for instance print an object which is covered by a design right. But there could also be the possibility to produce an object covered by a patent, trade mark or copyright.

This paper wishes to analyse this issue in relation to the law of patents and will discuss the pertinent laws of the United Kingdom and Germany. Its focus will be on assessing whether the making available of files that contain templates for objects used for printing may constitute an indirect infringement of the patented object. Ultimately, the paper wants to analyse whether the law of patents is adequately equipped to deal with these new developments.

Keywords: 3D Printing, Patent Law, Indirect patent infringement, United Kingdom, Germany, Internet

Suggested Citation

Mimler, Marc, 3D Printing, the Internet and Patent Law – A History Repeating? (February 28, 2013). La Rivista di Diritto Industriale (2013) Vol. 62 Iss. 6, 352-370, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2482551

Marc Mimler (Contact Author)

Bournemouth University - Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM) ( email )

89 Holdenhurst Road
Bournemouth
Dorset, BH8 8EB
United Kingdom

Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute ( email )

67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London, WC1A 3JB
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
396
Abstract Views
2,252
rank
88,782
PlumX Metrics