Transfer Pricing Associates

3D Printing

post Wednesday May 8, 2013


As technology continues to develop, it is becoming clearer that one area of potential patent or copyright infringement is three dimensional printing. With the advancements of 3-D printing and the growing usage of this tool, the protection of patented designs could become the newest and fastest growing battlefield for intellectual property protection. Now that more users are able to use 3-D technology to fabricate various components, large portions of products and possibly entire parts from home, the protection of intellectual property could become very difficult to maintain.

Additive manufacturing has the ability to take computer designed information and create a product. Instead of utilizing ink like normal documents, it uses a wide variety of materials such as plastic and metals and then is formed via a 3-D printer to create objects. As the costs of 3-D printing further falls, and the number of open-source designs increases, the applications of 3-D printing will surely continue to grow. The wide distribution of extremely customizable 3-D printers will surely lead to an increase in the difficulty of protecting the intellectual property rights of different products.

Products created by 3-D printers are fully protected under a combination of copyrights, trademarks and patents. The complication of enforcing and upholding these patents is the most challenging and difficult issue facing IP law and 3-D printing. The protection provided by the copyrights, trademarks and patents is complex and somewhat convoluted. Copyrights protect created works, trademarks are related to brands and how goods are identified while patents defend technical objects. This complicated mixture of protection ultimately is likely to govern 3-D printing.

Source:Thomas Net

Image Source: Free digital photos

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