Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property

Consumer 3D Printing: Is the UK Copyright and Design Law framework fit for purpose?

Pedro Malaquias * *

Keywords: 3D Printing, three-dimensional printing, additive manufacturing, intellectual property, copyright, designs

Abstract

Three-Dimensional Printing (3D Printing) is a technology that allows the production of physical objects from digital files. The increasing use of consumer 3D Printing technologies and services is prone to raise questions in relation to the intellectual property protection of digital files and material products. This paper surveys the UK Copyright and Design Law framework to assess if it allows for the development of the technology, while protecting the legitimate interests of right holders. It concludes in favour of the need for slight clarifications to the law and recommends that right holders adapt their business models and search for innovative ways to benefit from the technology.

Author Notes

The author would like to thank Professor Uma Suthersanen and Dr Marc D Mimler for fruitful discussions regarding the topic.

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