From the Maker Movement to the 3D Printing Era: Opportunities and Challenges

In Dinusha Mendis, Mark Lemley, and Matthew Rimmer (Eds.) 3D Printing and Beyond: Intellectual Property and Regulation. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham and Northampton, MA., 2019, 1-29.

Stanford Public Law Working Paper

Posted: 27 Jul 2018 Last revised: 4 Dec 2018

See all articles by Dinusha Mendis

Dinusha Mendis

Bournemouth University

Mark A. Lemley

Stanford Law School

Matthew Rimmer

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Date Written: July 26, 2019

Abstract

On 23 November 2017, the European Parliament, published a Working Document titled Three-Dimensional Printing, a Challenge in the fields of Intellectual Property Rights and Civil Liability. The publication went on to state that the European Commission ‘has made 3D printing one of the priority areas of technology’. The technology was also referred to in the European Commission’s recent reflection paper on ‘harnessing globalisation’ stating that 3D printing, amongst other emerging technologies, ‘will revolutionise how we produce, work, move and consume’ (emphasis added). In April 2018, the European Commission demonstrated its commitment to exploring the intellectual property implications of industrial three-dimensional printing by commissioning research in to this area, in a move to shape policy.

In a further publication titled, The Next Production Revolution: Implications for Governments and Businesses, it was emphasised that ‘long-term thinking is essential’ for technologies such as 3D printing. The report went on to say that ‘in addition to addressing short-term challenges, leaders in business, education, unions and government must be ready to frame policies’ and reflect on ‘how policy priorities may need to evolve, in fields as diverse as the intellectual property system, competition and trade policies, and the distributional implications of future production’. As such, 3D printing, presents various challenges for the legal, ethical , medical and health and safety sectors. Amongst these various concerns, the report makes reference to the impact of 3D printing on intellectual property rights (IPRs).

The imminent change and the need for responsive policy, particularly in the area of IPRs has been acknowledged and echoed in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA) and Australia – the jurisdictions which are the focus of this book.

This introductory chapter is set out as follows. It commences with a brief introduction to 3D printing, additive manufacturing and the more recent phenomenon of the maker movement. Thereafter, it moves on to setting out the reasons for selecting UK, USA and Australia as a basis for consideration, before providing a brief synopsis of some of the intellectual property challenges addressed in the book. It concludes with an overview of the layout of the book.

Keywords: 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing, Intellectual Property, Innovation, Regulation, Makerspaces, FabLabs, TechShops, Hackerspaces

Suggested Citation

Mendis, Dinusha and Lemley, Mark A. and Rimmer, Matthew, From the Maker Movement to the 3D Printing Era: Opportunities and Challenges (July 26, 2019). In Dinusha Mendis, Mark Lemley, and Matthew Rimmer (Eds.) 3D Printing and Beyond: Intellectual Property and Regulation. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham and Northampton, MA., 2019, 1-29.; Stanford Public Law Working Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3220827

Dinusha Mendis

Bournemouth University ( email )

Fern Barrow
Poole BH12 5BB, Dorset BH8 8EB
United Kingdom

Mark A. Lemley

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Matthew Rimmer (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, Queensland QLD 4000
Australia

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