Intellectual Property and Regulation
Edited by Dinusha Mendis, Mark Lemley and Matthew Rimmer
Chapter 8: Integrating a classic tool for a modern challenge: US design patents implications for 3D printing
This chapter provides an overview of legal issues related to design patent protection and 3D printing, including the process of and requirements for obtaining a design patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The chapter also looks at the options available for design patent holders to combat infringing products, counterfeits, and replacement parts. The chapter further discusses some of the problems for design patent holders that result from the 3D scanning and printing technologies that make it easier and less expensive to reproduce objects, replacement parts, and products, and share 3D printing files. Design patent holders are faced with the challenges related to the increased ease of large-scale counterfeiting and the difficulties and practicalities of halting small-scale infringement by current and potential customers at home.
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