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Mark Lemley

3D printing shares two essential characteristics with the Internet: it radically reduces the cost of production and distribution of things, and it separates the design of those things from their manufacture. The role of IP in 3D printing is both controverted and critically important. IP rights are designed to artificially replicate scarcity where it would not otherwise exist. It makes ideas scarce because then we can bring them into the economy and charge for them, and economics knows how to deal with scarce things. Far from necessitating more IP protection, cost-reducing technologies may actually weaken the case for IP. If people are intrinsically motivated to create (as they seem to be), the easier it is to create and distribute content, the more content is likely to be available even in the absence of IP. And the point of IP is to encourage either the creation or the distribution of that content.

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Mark A. Lemley

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Mark A Lemley and Robin Feldman

Traditional justifications for patents are all based on direct or indirect contribution to the creation of new products. Patents serve the social interest if they provide not just invention, but innovation the world would not otherwise have. Non-practicing entities (“NPEs”) as well as product-producing companies can sometimes provide such innovation, either directly, through working the patent or transferring technology to others who do, or indirectly, when others copy the patented innovation. The available evidence suggests, however, that patent licensing demands and lawsuits from NPEs are normally not cases that involve any of these activities. Some scholars have argued that patents can be valuable even without technology transfer because the ability to exclude others from the market may drive commercialization that would not otherwise occur. We demonstrate that even if various commercialization theories can sometimes justify patent protection, they cannot justify most NPE lawsuits or licensing demands.

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Dan L. Burk and Mark A. Lemley

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Dinusha Mendis, Mark Lemley and Matthew Rimmer

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Dinusha Mendis, Mark Lemley and Matthew Rimmer

In a 2006 short story, ‘Printcrime’, Cory Doctorow imagined a dystopian future of contraband 3D printers. In the work, police try to shut down a bootleg operation engaged in the 3D printing of intellectual property. In his 2009 novel Makers, Doctorow explored the rise of the maker community, and its do-it-yourself ethic.

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3D Printing and Beyond

Intellectual Property and Regulation

Edited by Dinusha Mendis, Mark Lemley and Matthew Rimmer

This ground-breaking and timely contribution is the first and most comprehensive edited collection to address the implications for Intellectual Property (IP) law in the context of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing. Providing a coverage of IP law in three main jurisdictions including the UK, USA and Australia. 3D Printing and Beyond brings together a team of distinguished IP experts and is an indispensable starting point for researchers with an interest in IP, emerging technologies and 3D printing.
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Stacey L. Dogan and Mark A. Lemley