March 25, 2014
An expert Q&A with Rose Auslander of Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP and Practical Law Intellectual Property & Technology on the current legal landscape and key considerations for intellectual property owners seeking to protect their designs from 3D printing infringements.
As 3D printers become more affordable, consumers are increasingly embracing this new technology. While 3D printing has vast potential for fostering creativity and competition in the marketplace, it also presents new challenges for intellectual property owners. For example, as evidenced by online videos, the technology is already being used to create knock-offs of well-known prestige product designs. The use of 3D printing to create counterfeits and other infringing items is likely to increase as the technology becomes more widely available. Even now, consumers do not have to purchase their own 3D printers as new online services offer 3D printing, potentially allowing consumers to copy 3D printable designs. Intellectual property developers and owners are just beginning to appreciate both the benefits of and potential threats posed by 3D printing, as shown by some companies using 3D printing to create new designs and others taking enforcement actions to protect their existing designs from 3D printing infringements through copyright, trademark and design patent law.
As 3D printing continues to rise in popularity, intellectual property owners should understand:
- The nature of 3D printing.
- The benefits and risks of 3D printing to intellectual property owners.
- The legal mechanisms available to intellectual property owners to combat 3D printing infringements, including through copyright, trademark and design patent law.
- Practical steps that intellectual property owners can take to deter 3D printing infringements.
To learn more from the experts, see: Expert Q&A on Protecting Designs in a 3D Printing World.