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3D printing shakes up intellectual property rights

22nd October 2018

The emerging trend in 3D printing of products has resulted in a massive spike in patents being classified, according to QUT researchers.

The QUT Faculty of Law Intellectual Property and Innovation Research Program is hosting an event on 3D Printing on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at the State Library of Queensland.

The half-day symposium considers the role of 3D printing in intellectual property, education, community participation and innovation.

“Metal 3D printing has significant implications in respect of engineering, car manufacturing, and aerospace,” said Professor Matthew Rimmer from QUT’s Faculty of Law.

“A sign of the rising commercial value of metal 3D printing has been the emergence of patent conflicts in the field.”

Professor Rimmer said a dispute between Desktop Metal and MarkForged over patents, trade secrets and unfair competition was an example of how future conflicts over intellectual property and 3D printing may arise.

As part of an ARC Discovery project, Professor Rimmer has been mapping the patent field of 3D printing.

“We have created a database in excess of 20,000 patents classified under the category of additive manufacturing, with the help of analysts,” he said.

“The field of 3D printing patents was the second fastest growing field of technology last year after e-cigarettes.”

The symposium will feature a keynote address by Professor Marcus Norrgard from the University of Helsinki on intellectual property, regulation, and 3D printing in the European Union.

Professor Norrgard will also discuss what the rights holder can do to enhance protection against 3D printing, through patent claim drafting.

The event also features leading Australian academics in the field of intellectual property.

QUT lecturer Dr Kylie Pappalardo said a cornerstone of copyright protection was originality and 3D printing was a significant “disruption” regarding the creative value of work.

“3D printing poses challenges to the application and enforcement of intellectual property law because it facilitates the copying and production of objects with ease, in the home,” she said.

 Associate Professor Michael Dezuanni from QUT Digital Media Research Centre will be discussing the role of social living labs for communities at the event.

Anne Matthew from the QUT Faculty of Law will explore the business of 3D printing.

Angela Dahlke from the QUT Foundry will be investigating 3D Printing Technologies and the Circular Economy.

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