ClearCorrect: Intellectual Property, 3D Printing, and the Future of Trade

Gonzaga Journal of International Law, 2019, Vol. 21 (3), 55-96.

42 Pages Posted: 26 May 2019 Last revised: 1 Jun 2020

See all articles by Matthew Rimmer

Matthew Rimmer

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Date Written: April 29, 2019


This paper considers the relationship between intellectual property and trade in the context of 3D printing. Modern 3D printing has not only disrupted the discipline of intellectual property, but it has also provided profound challenges for the regulation of trade and globalization. Part II provides a case study of the patent dispute between ClearCorrect and Align Technology. The ruling of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will have larger ramifications regarding the jurisdiction of the International Trade Commission in respect of the digital economy. Part II further considers subsequent patent disputes between the parties before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Part III considers how the trade dispute between the United States and China will affect 3D printing and examines whether 3D printing will reverse the United States’ pattern of manufacturing offshore. Part III further notes the collateral impact of tariffs upon 3D printing and considers the adoption of 3D printing in China and the issues that may arise in terms of intellectual
property ownership, intellectual property infringement, and intellectual property licensing. Part IV considers larger contextual issues raised by international organizations with respect to intellectual property, trade, and 3D printing.

Keywords: Intellectual Property, International Trade, Globalisation, Patent Law, Trademark Law, Copyright Law, World Trade Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, OECD, World Economic Forum, 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing, Bioprinting

Suggested Citation

Rimmer, Matthew, ClearCorrect: Intellectual Property, 3D Printing, and the Future of Trade (April 29, 2019). Gonzaga Journal of International Law, 2019, Vol. 21 (3), 55-96., Available at SSRN: or

Matthew Rimmer (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) ( email )

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

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