Intellectual Property and Regulation
Edited by Dinusha Mendis, Mark Lemley and Matthew Rimmer
Chapter 5: 3D printing and patent law – a UK perspective: apt and ready?
The impact of 3D printing on business models that are based on protection by design rights and copyright has been widely acknowledged. Since the technology is rapidly developing, its effects may also be felt within industries that rely on patent protection. This chapter traces how the law of patent infringement in the United Kingdom applies to 3D printing scenarios. It analyses the different stages of 3D printing and whether these may lead to direct and indirect infringement. It also sheds light on how exceptions to patent infringement currently apply to 3D printing. The chapter concludes that the law of patents in the UK is currently better equipped to deal with impact of 3D printing technology than other intellectual property rights but argues for interpretive clarifications by the courts as well as possible legislative action in the near future.
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