3D Printing and Beyond
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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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Chapter 15: The reform challenge: Australian patent law and the emergence of 3D printing

Jane Nielsen and Dianne Nicol

Abstract

The social benefits and costs of patents in new areas of technology are not always easy to elucidate. Law and policy reform bodies have been reluctant to recommend express exclusions from patenting, leaving this task to the courts. In recent times, the Supreme Court of the United States and the High Court of Australia have been interventionist in setting the threshold requirements for patentable subject matter. As yet, however, these issues have not been considered specifically in the context of 3D printing. This chapter examines Australian case law on gene sequences, software and business methods and methods of medical treatment, concluding that there remains considerable uncertainty on the thresholds of patentability. There is no certainty that software or business methods will continue to be patentable, and in the bioprinting area there is some doubt as to whether methods of treatment that utilise 3D printing will be patentable. The chapter then turns to an examination of the effectiveness of patent protection. This analysis shows that actions for primary infringement have limited scope, as do exceptions to infringement, although secondary infringement actions may have broader application.

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