3D Printing, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy

Article

Abstract

Three-dimensional (3D) printing technologies differ from traditional molding and casting manufacturing processes in that they build 3D objects by successively creating layers of material on top of each other. Rooted in manufacturing research of the 1980s, 3D printing has evolved into a broad set of technologies that could fundamentally alter production processes in a wide set of technology areas. This article investigates how 3D printing technology has developed over the last few decades, how intellectual property rights have shaped this potential breakthrough innovation and how 3D printing technologies could challenge the system of intellectual property rights in the future. Patent protection seems to have played an important role in the industrial 3D printing sector. In the newly emerging personal 3D printing sector, the intellectual property system faces new challenges. Developers of personal 3D printing systems and services have to cope with large-scale infringement by end-consumers, a situation well known from digital content technologies. At the same time, the expiration of key patents on 3D printing has arguably contributed to a flourishing ecosystem of open source 3D printer hardware and software. As in other areas of innovation policy, the role of the intellectual property system in fostering innovation in 3D printing technologies is a complex one. It played a beneficial role in some instances (sometimes intended and sometimes unintended), and it may have played a neutral or detrimental role in other instances. Studying the progress of 3D printing technologies thereby also informs us about the intricate relationship between intellectual property and innovation.

Keywords

3D printing Additive manufacturing Innovation policy Open source 

References

  1. Amon C, Beuth J, Weiss L et al (1998) Shape deposition manufacturing with microcasting. J Manuf Sci Eng 120:656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ballardini R, Norrgård M, Minssen T (2015) Enforcing patents in the era of 3D printing. J Intellect Prop Law Pract 10:850CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bechtold S (2004) Digital rights management in the United States and Europe. Am J Comp Law 52:323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bechtold S (2007) Die Kontrolle von Sekundärmärkten. Baden-BadenGoogle Scholar
  5. Beck S, Prinz F, Siewiorek D et al (1992) Manufacturing mechatronics using thermal spray shape deposition. In: Proceedings of the solid freeform fabrication symposium, Austin, p 272Google Scholar
  6. Benkler Y (2002) Coase’s penguin, or Linux and the nature of the firm. Yale Law J 112:369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brean D (2013) Asserting patents to combat infringement via 3D printing. Fordham Intellect Prop Media Entertain Law J 23:773Google Scholar
  8. Campbell I, Bourell D, Gibson I (2012) Additive manufacturing. Rapid Prototyp J 18:255, 257Google Scholar
  9. Dasari H (2013) Assessing copyright protection and infringement issues involved with 3D printing and scanning. AIPLA Q J 41:279Google Scholar
  10. Depoorter B (2014) Intellectual property infringements & 3D printing. Hastings Law J 65:1483Google Scholar
  11. Desai D (2014) The new steam. Hastings Law J 65:1469Google Scholar
  12. Desai D, Magliocca G (2014) Patents, meet napster: 3D printing and the digitization of things. Georget Law J 102:1691Google Scholar
  13. Doherty D (2012) Downloading infringement. Harv J Law Technol 26:353Google Scholar
  14. Hovenkamp H, Janis MD, Lemley MA (2015) IP and Antitrust. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Jones R, Haufe P, Sells E et al (2011) RepRap: the replicating rapid prototyper. Robotica 29:177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jong R, Bruijn E (2013) Innovation lessons from 3-D printing. MIT Sloan Manag Rev 54:45Google Scholar
  17. Kodama H (1981) Automatic method for fabricating a three-dimensional plastic model with photo-hardening polymer. Rev Sci Instrum 52:1770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kostakis V, Papachristou M (2014) Commons-based peer production and digital fabrication. Telemat Inform 31:434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kreiger M, Pearce J (2013) Environmental life cycle analysis of distributed three-dimensional printing and conventional manufacturing of polymer products. ACS Sustain Chem Eng 1:1511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Landes W, Lichtman D (2003) Indirect liability for copyright infringement. J Econ Perspect 17:113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lemley M (2015) IP in a world without scarcity. N Y Univ Law Rev 90:460Google Scholar
  22. Lemley M, Reese A (2004) Reducing digital copyright infringement without restricting innovation. Stanf Law Rev 56:1345Google Scholar
  23. Lerner A, Tirole J (2002) Some simple economics of open source. J Ind Econ 50:197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Li P (2014) 3D bioprinting technologies: patents, innovation and access. Law Innov Technol 6:282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Li P, Mellor S, Griffin J et al (2014) Intellectual property and 3D printing: a case study on 3D chocolate printing. J Intellect Prop Law Pract 9:322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lipson H, Kurman M (2013) Fabricated: the new world of 3D printing. Wiley, IndianapolisGoogle Scholar
  27. Mendis D (2013) “The Clone Wars”: Episode 1. Eur Intellect Prop Rev, pp 155Google Scholar
  28. Mendis D (2014) ‘Clone Wars’ Episode II. Law Innov Technol 6:265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pearce J (2012) Building research equipment with free, open-source hardware. Science 337:131Google Scholar
  30. Rayna T, Striukova L (2014) The impact of 3D printing technologies on business model innovation. In: Benghozi P-J et al (eds) Digital enterprise design and management. Springer Publishing, Heidelberg, p 127Google Scholar
  31. Samuelson P (2016) Freedom to tinker. In: Harhoff D and Lakhani KR (eds) Revolutionizing innovation. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, p 217Google Scholar
  32. Van Hippel E (2005) Democratizing innovation. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  33. Wilbanks K (2013) The challenges of 3D printing to the repair-reconstruction doctrine in patent law. George Mason Law Rev 20:1147Google Scholar
  34. Wittbrodt B, Glover A, Laureto J et al (2013) Life-cycle economic analysis of distributed manufacturing with open-source 3-D printers. Mechatronics 23:713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wu T (2005) Copyright’s communications policy. Mich Law Rev 103:278CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations