With the availability of low-cost and high-performance 3D printers that are affordable to almost everyone, including large organizations and ordinary consumers, 3D printing is emerging as a remarkably beneficial technology for various industries. The potential use of this technology goes wider and generates both opportunities and concerns for manufacturers by facilitating them to easily manufacture objects whereas unauthorized users to effortlessly copy their products. Hence, to utilize the opportunities without coming across worries, it is vital to understand how the expanding use of this potentially transformative technology can have an impact the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
Working of 3D Printing Process
The 3D printing process refers to a technological way of using a computer-aided design model to build up a three-dimensional object, usually by adding layer by layer. The process begins with a digital file that is exported to a three-dimensional printer by deploying software that converts the digital model into a physical object. As this process builds up a molten material by adding layers (one after the other), some people call it additive manufacturing.
Since the 3D technology is developing at a rapid pace, businesses predict that it will soon attain a considerable position in almost every area ranging from food and fashion to regenerative medicines and others.
Benefits of 3D printing
The innovation-intensive companies enjoy various advantages, by using the 3D printing technology, as it:
- Enables the companies to design, develop, and test the new objects with remarkably reduced expenses
- Helps the enterprises in saving their financial assets by preventing them from paying for costly prototypes
- Allows the firms to improve their current products
By considering the changes that 3D printing brought in the ways of manufacturing objects, it is correct to say that this technology can significantly impact the manufacturers’ Intellectual Property Protection.
Intellectual Property Procurement
Firms that design, develop, or sell the 3D printers, parts, or accessories, possess the same opportunities to protect their Intellectual Property (IP) as those in other industries.They can trademark their brands, patent their technology, and copyright their creative works. Not only objects or works but 3D printing methods are also patentable.
Avoiding unauthorized 3D printing
People who are dealing with objects based on 3D printing technology are susceptible to get infringed by unauthorized users. However, the strategies to battle against infringements in regards to 3D printing vary according to the way of infringing. Consequently, the owner may need to consider different approaches for addressing infringement by a customer, a competitor, or other.
Restraining competitors from using others’ trademark, copyright, or patent in the 3D printing arena is similar to doing that in other industries. However, the forms of IPR, like Design Patents and copyrights, which the owners can obtain quickly, may seem more valuable to avoid infringement issues in this field.
Copyright rights in the 3D printing industry enable the creator to protect the originality of his work. As per Copyright Law, if he finds anyone violating his work, it is likely for him to get the relief by filing a case against the defendant. Apart from it, the patent protects the objects’ technical functionality, the trademark enables owners to distinguish its source from others, and the design rights safeguard its ornamental and aesthetic appearance, including the shape and form.
Customers creating replacement parts
One main area where infringement related to 3D printing technology appears considerably high is ‘Printing replacement parts.’ Instead of purchasing the replacement parts from the original manufacturers, a large number of customers prefer making them on their own. Original manufacturers or suppliers can prevent such happenings by using utility patents or copyrights applicable to safeguard certain replaceable parts.
Consumers sharing infringing files
Sharing of CAD files, whether recreated or stolen, can lead to infringement. However, the owners can prevent such occurrences by implementing relevant intellectual property protection strategies.
Copyright and trademark rights should extend to CAD files used to create objects, which deploy underlying IP rights so that the use of those files itself displays an act of infringement. To overcome the fact that the patent rights in the 3D printing industry are unlikely to extend to the CAD files of objects, manufacturers themselves can pursue the patent protection of their files. It would help them by showing that the copying of a stored CAD file is a direct infringement act.
With 3D printing technology, incredible manufacturing capabilities are accessible to almost everyone in the present era. However, this affordable solution can lead to concerns, like breaching IP rights, thus leaving rights holders with difficulties in finding infringers and taking action against them. So, people should pay attention to the influences of this technology on the intellectual property industry and vice-versa. It will help them in attaining the best out of 3D technology-based objects and services without suffering from any issue. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com
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