Dinusha Mendis – ‘The Clone Wars’ – Episode 1: The Rise of 3D Printing and its Implications for Intellectual Property Law – Learning Lessons from the Past? European Intellectual Property Review, 2013, 35 (3), 155-169
Additive Layer Manufacturing or 3D printing as it is more commonly known is increasingly being embraced by the manufacturing sectors. The technology, although, in its early stages has already raised questions pertaining to intellectual property (IP) implications. This paper considers the IP implications of 3D printing. In particular the paper considers the challenges to patent law, trademark law, copyright law and design law as a result of this emerging technology. The paper also questions whether lessons can be learned from the entertainment industry and the manner in which this industry has attempted to deal with online piracy. The paper suggests that rather than focusing on stringent IP laws, the future in dealing with emerging technologies which challenges IP laws lie in adopting new business models in adapting to technologies such as 3D printing.