Patenting Physibles: A Fresh Perspective for Claiming 3D-Printable Products

28 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2015 Last revised: 26 Sep 2015

Date Written: February 5, 2015


To successfully combat patent infringement, it is necessary to have an effective way to extinguish infringement at the source. In the case of 3D printing, this means being able to enforce one’s patent against those who are selling or distributing the printable CAD files. But the law does not currently provide patent protection for CAD files. Because this severely limits the enforceability of patents in the emerging 3D printing space, it discourages innovation and needs to be remedied.

Beauregard claims are perhaps the best existing option for patents that might encompass CAD files, but Beauregard claims are still largely ineffective because they are tied to a physical storage medium. A better approach is to push for a new Beauregard-like claiming style that permits patenting CAD files per se. Such claims can overcome likely abstractness or printed matter challenges to patentability. If this claiming practice is implemented, it will stop putting digitally-designed and sold products at an unfair disadvantage to other types of product inventions.

Keywords: Patent, Patents, Claims, Claiming, 3D Printer, 3D Printing, Printer, Printing, Patent Infringement, Infringement, Copyright, Design, Patent Enforcement, Beauregard

JEL Classification: O3, O30, O31, O33, O34, O38, K00, K11, K39

Suggested Citation

Brean, Daniel Harris, Patenting Physibles: A Fresh Perspective for Claiming 3D-Printable Products (February 5, 2015). Santa Clara Law Review, 2015, Available at SSRN:

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