3D-printing changes the way we develop products: an idea can be transformed into a tangible product faster than ever, and it is not even expensive anymore.
But what is 3D-printing? Simply put, it is a machine that builds an object out of base materials by successively stacking thin layers of the materials in accordance with a Computer-Aided Design (CAD). The major advantage over conventional molding processes is its adaptability: one 3D-printer can print any template and does not require prefabricated molds.
Today, 3D-printing offers various printing methods and can print almost anything from medicine, weapons, to organs, and even food (so called Bioprinting).This versatility allows 3D printing to revolutionize almost every industry sector.
Since the prices have fallen, 3D-printers are no longer just a product for the industry, but for everyone. On the Internet, templates can be exchanged on online forums (both legally and illegally).
However, despite its benefits, 3D-printing also poses new risks and new questions with regard to intellectual property rights. Who is liable for an infringing 3-D-print template or sharing such templates online? What responsibilities should the user of a 3-D print have to make sure no intellectual property rights are being infringed? What should you do if 3-D printed products impair your IP rights?
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.