Good insight from Elsa Malaty, Associate in the law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, and Guilda Rostama, Doctor in Private Law, on the legal aspects of 3D printing and IP. This is a potential minefield and as many found out in the music and movie industry in the 1990s with the advent of Napster, it needs to be managed proactively.
3D printing technology emerged in the 1980s largely for industrial application. However, the expiry of patent rights over many of these early technologies has prompted renewed interest in its potential to transform manufacturing supply chains. The availability of low-cost, high-performance 3D printers has put the technology within reach of consumers, fueling huge expectations about what it can achieve. But what are the implications of the expanding use of this rapidly evolving and potentially transformative technology for intellectual property (IP)?