3D Printing and Intellectual Property
Research Handbook on Digital Transformations, edited by F. Xavier Olleros and Majlinda Zhegu. Edward Elgar, 2016
18 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2014 Last revised: 22 Jul 2016
Date Written: May 19, 2015
This chapter analyzes intellectual property (IP) law’s digital future, focusing primarily on the emerging technology of three-dimensional (3D) printing. To date, digital technologies (such as music and image encoding and playback) have overwhelmingly impacted copyright law, with legal battles surrounding the piracy of copyrighted music, books and movies dominating the headlines and literature. After a brief introduction to IP law, this chapter will briefly summarize IP law’s digital past because it contains helpful lessons for IP law’s digital future. Unlike the past, however, in which copyright law sustained the brunt of digital challenges, IP law’s digital future will present challenges across the IP spectrum. The remainder of the chapter will consider these challenges. Because the subject is vast and space is limited, the chapter will focus the majority of its analysis on 3D printing’s effects on patent law. It will also briefly outline the challenges other IP laws will face and will conclude by provided thoughts about reacting to these challenges.
Keywords: 3D printing, three-dimensional printing, intellectual property, patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, design patent, infringement, digital technology
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