The Future Of 3D Printing & Intellectual Property

Will the advent of 3D printing change the way we manufacture objects?

DC-based digital culture advocacy group Public Knowledge has just released a new white paper on the future of 3D printing and its effect on intellectual property law, copyright law, and patent protection.

The ability of 3D printing to transform bits into atoms, thereby translating computer design files into actual objects has existed in upscale design and research firms for some time. But the accessibility of new open source 3D printers is making this technology more readily available and affordable.

The report states:

Traditional patent infringement is not necessarily well suited to a world in which individuals are replicating patented items in their own homes for their own use. Unlike with copyright infringement, the mere possession or downloading of a file is not enough to create infringement liability.[36] In order to identify an infringer, the patent owner would need to find a way to determine that the device was actually replicated in the physical world by the potential defendant. This would likely be significantly more time and resource intensive than the monitoring of file trading sites used in copyright infringement cases.

The ease with which people will now be able to design and produce their own products could have a huge impact on business and industry. Will the next step be to ask congress to increase the Intellectual Property protection on everyday items?

Public Knowledge: “It Will Be Awesome if They Don’t Screw it Up: 3D Printing, Intellectual Property, and the Fight Over the Next Great Disruptive Technology”

[via BoingBoing ]

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