Don't Believe the Hype? Recent 3D Printing Developments for Law and Society
in Dinusha Mendis, Mark Lemley, & Matthew Rimmer, (Eds.) 3D Printing and Beyond: The Intellectual Property and Legal Implications Surrounding 3D Printing and Emerging Technology (Edward Elgar, 2017, Forthcoming)
15 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2016 Last revised: 19 May 2017
Date Written: May 19, 2017
Additive manufacturing or ‘3D printing’ has emerged into the mainstream in the last few years, with much hype about its revolutionary potential as the latest ‘disruptive technology’ to destroy existing business models, empower individuals and evade any kind of government control. This contribution will examine recent developments in 3D printing’s interaction with law and society in order to determine the extent to which 3D printing’s trajectory is conforming to these idea(l)s of revolution. It seems that despite the theoretical potential for 3D printing to be highly disruptive to various areas of regulation, the practical experience is telling a different, less socio-legally transformative story. This is because other government and corporate actors, and not just empowered ‘prosumers’, have also seen the potential of 3D printing for achieving their own goals, tied to consumer take-up of 3D printers being less than predicted.
Keywords: 3D printing, law, socio-legal studies, regulation, intellectual property, firearms, political economy
JEL Classification: K1, K10, K2, K20, K4, K40, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation