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The Provision of Research for 3D Printing and Intellectual Property: Where are we now?

The project commissioned and funded by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the first of its kind to consider the Intellectual Property (IP) implications of 3D Printing.

The project is divided in to two parts and aims to provide (a) a quantitative analysis of online file-sharing and 3D printing online platforms and (b) a qualitative study of six case studies focusing on industry and in particular the replacement parts industry, customised goods industry and high value small status goods industry.

In relation to Part A, the research will aim to present a framework of the type of content that is being shared; the current conditions for online sharing, and to what extent it affects industries. The data that is analysed will then be applied to the current IP framework to understand the implications for IP law.

The second objective of the project in Part B, will be met by interviewing key actors in the field of 3D printing. The case studies will be drawn by utilising Econolyst Ltd’s rich contact network, which will help understand the impact of 3D printing on the industrial sector.

In particular, the project will investigate the current applications and challenges associated with the interaction of 3D printing and IP Law.

The project team consists of Dr. Dinusha Mendis (Principal Investigator); Dr. Davide Secchi (formerly BU, now Southern University Denmark) and Dr. Phil Reeves (formerly Econolyst Ltd, now Stratasys Consulting Ltd).

Awarded in October 2013, the project was completed in March 2015. The project led to two research outputs and an executive summary. All three Reports can be found here.

Further information about the research findings including conclusions and recommendations for the UK Government, Industry and Intermediaries can be found here.