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Intellectual Property and Regulation
Edited by Dinusha Mendis, Mark Lemley and Matthew Rimmer
Marc D. Mimler
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.
Peter S. Menell and Ryan Vacca
This chapter explores how 3D printing fits within US copyright law. US copyright law provides a well-developed framework for protecting creative designs, whether fixed in CAD files or 3D objects. Although 3D printing poses similar challenges encountered by content industries whose works were disrupted by the digital revolution, 3D printing brings distinctive issues. Although grounded in statute, US copyright law has a rich common law tradition affording courts significant leeway in adapting doctrines to new and unforeseen technological developments. This capacity is reinforced by the range of business strategies available for confronting appropriability challenges. This chapter surveys the 3D printing terrain on three levels: copyrightability of CAD files and 3D objects; enforcement challenges; and business strategies. The ultimate governance regime will depend upon business strategies that copyright owners and disruptive businesses pursue, the extent to which courts adapt doctrines to new and unforeseen challenges, and the Copyright Office’s DMCA exemptions.