Who's Afraid of 3D Printing?

41 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2019

See all articles by Ben Depoorter

Ben Depoorter

UC Law, San Francisco; Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society; Ugent - CASLE

Bregt Raus

University of Chicago

Date Written: April 2, 2019


Heralded for ushering in a new era of personalized manufacturing, there is a growing fear that consumer 3D printing is the next frontier of massive intellectual property infringements. Described as the Napster of patents, illegal 3D printing is foretold to disrupt manufacturing in the same manner as digital piracy unsettled the music industry. This Article shows that the negative forecast of rampant 3D printing piracy is unfounded. We explain how the purported analogies between P2P file sharing and consumer 3D printing overlook essential differences between piracy of media content and physical property. We caution against aggressive enforcement against unauthorized consumer 3D printing that would impede innovation and the development of 3D printing technologies.

Keywords: 3D printing, intellectual property, piracy

JEL Classification: K1, K19, K41, k42

Suggested Citation

Depoorter, Ben and Raus, Bregt, Who's Afraid of 3D Printing? (April 2, 2019). Boston University journal of Science and Technology Law, Vol. 25, 2019, UC Hastings Research Paper No. 318, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3364667

Ben Depoorter (Contact Author)

UC Law, San Francisco ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society ( email )

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

Ugent - CASLE ( email )

Universiteitstraat 4

Bregt Raus

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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