Can 3D Printing Permanently Break the Law!?

law, patent, IP, 3d printing, trade mark,copyright, law, legal, Recently, Gartner reported that 3D Printing will create tremendous losses in intellectual property (IP). It is therefore important to assess how 3D printing will affect IP law.

In the past inventions were difficult to reproduce, particularly in mass qualities. However, 3D printing and 3D scanning are limiting the barriers that made patent infringement difficult.

In the US, and most other countries, patents protect the utilization of IP and inventions. Once a patent is issued the inventor is the sole entity legally eligible to exploit, sell, or lease the design for profit.

It is difficult for inventors to pursue litigation against individual home users. However, those who move towards commercialization will likely hear from attorneys.

According to Bryan J. Vogel, and register patent attorney, 3D printing has the ability to disrupt a number of long held legal protections including patents, trade secrets, copyrights, and more. 

Beyond these traditional legal protection Vogel also believe 3D printing could impact anti-trust law and the way the FDA approves medical devices. 

As industrial users begin to reverse engineer and reproduce IP, the issue of how to legally operate 3D printers will likely come before the courts.  In the meantime, institutions and lone inventors will have to find clever ways to protect their inventions.

Regardless of how the future precedes one thing’s for sure, 3D printing is a disruptive technology.

Image Courtesy of Cornell