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3D printing workshop

1 January 2014 - 1 January 2015

PI/s in Exeter: Professor James Griffin

Funding awarded: £ 595

Sponsor(s): British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association (BILETA)

About the research

Considerable social and economic advantages may arise through the development of 3D printing technologies. In order to be able to maximise these advantages, we should consider the manner in which legal regulatory frameworks may support or undermine the development and operation of 3D printing technology. Current regulation covers aspects from the initial design of the technologies, through to their everyday operation. There are numerous sets of regulation that are relevant, and these include aspects such as intellectual property, health and safety, and product liability. The focus of the proposed research is intellectual property, which includes copyright, patent, trade mark and design law.

Current literature focusing upon the relationship between 3D printing and law is limited. There are four key articles at present. Bradshaw, Bowyer and Haufe [1] consider the barriers posed by the IP framework; Mendis contemplates the need to consider new business models; [2] Weinberg suggests that those utilising and creating 3D printing technologies should be aware of the implications of the law, [3] and Li et al highlight the need to develop workable exploitation strategies. [4] The proposed research will add to this literature by an empirical investigation into the opinions of 3D printing companies about IP law in order to draw up a declaration of rights that those companies would like to see amended or introduced.

The workshop involved in a number of academics from over the UK and overseas, as well as 3D printing companies.

[1] S Bradshaw, A Bowyer and P Haufe, "The Intellectual Property Implications of Low-Cost 3D Printing", (2010) 7:1 SCRIPTed 5

[2] D Mendis, ‘ “The clone wars”: episode 1 - the rise of 3D printing and its implications for intellectual property law - learning lessons from the past?’ (2013) European Intellectual Property Review 35(3)155-169

[3] M Weinberg, ‘It would be awesome if they don’t screw it up: 3D printing, intellectual property, and the fight over the next great disruptive technology’ (2010) Public Knowledge.

[4] P Li, S Mellor, J Griffin, C Waelde, L Hao, R Everson, Intellectual Property and 3D Printing: A case study on 3D chocolate printing, (2014) 9 Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice 332.