Edited by F. Xavier Olleros and Majlinda Zhegu
Chapter 12: 3D printing and intellectual property
This chapter analyses intellectual property (IP) law’s digital future, focusing primarily on the emerging technology of three-dimensional (3D) printing. To date, digital technologies (such as music and image encoding and playback) have overwhelmingly impacted copyright law, with legal battles surrounding the piracy of copyrighted music, books and movies dominating the headlines and literature. After a brief introduction to IP law, this chapter will briefly summarize IP law’s digital past because it contains helpful lessons for its digital future. Unlike the past, however, in which copyright law sustained the brunt of digital challenges, IP law’s digital future will present challenges across the IP spectrum. The remainder of the chapter will consider these challenges. Because the subject is vast and space is limited, the chapter will focus the majority of its analysis on 3D printing’s effects on patent law. It will also briefly outline the challenges other IP laws will face and will conclude by providing thoughts about reacting to these challenges.
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