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.
Posted: 27 Jul 2018 Last revised: 4 Dec 2018
Date Written: July 26, 2019
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
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