3D Printing and Intellectual Property

The 3D printing industry has expanded rapidly over the past few years. Moviegoers can leave the theater and promptly create 3D replicas of their favorite film characters from home. Consumers are even printing unsanctioned copies of jewelry and kitchen utensils. Also, 3D printing technology seems to be getting cheaper, which means it’s becoming more accessible.

If you are a consumer goods manufacturer, you might be less than ecstatic about this phenomenon. After all, 3D printing – also known as “additive manufacturing” – seemingly has the potential to lower the demand for legitimate products, thereby reducing sales revenue. You’re probably wondering what, if any, legal remedies are available to you.

Lilenfeld PC’s legal team has a special expertise in the 3D printing space. Our attorneys can speak with you about the potential effect 3D printing could have on your business. We can also provide you with your legal options. Below you’ll find information on two specific options that are often available in these situations.

Infringement litigation

One possible legal avenue for manufacturers is an infringement suit. Depending on the products in question, your suit could fall under the scope of patent, copyright, or even trademark law. However, the law surrounding 3D printing can get a bit fuzzy, so considerable legal insight is required to pursue this course. Even with the right help, there can be complicated issues to work through.

For example, it can be a challenge simply determining who you should take to court. The unsanctioned products are made when someone utilizes a digital blueprint inside their computer. However, the designer of that blueprint might be someone on the other side of the country. Who should you sue: the designer or the person who operated the printer?

In addition to all that, 3D files can be difficult to trace. This means you might be unable to confirm that an infringement has actually occurred. Needless to say, this can be a major obstacle in the courtroom.

If you’d like our legal team’s opinion on a potential infringement suit in the 3D printing space, we’d be happy to help. Lilenfeld PC has a stellar reputation in the field of intellectual property litigation, and we’re always practical. You can contact our firm at (404) 201-2520.

Licensing options

Rather than combat the printers of your products, you can choose to embrace them. What does that mean? It means developing licensing agreements that authorize printers to replicate your product – for a cost. This concept is relatively new, but it’s worth considering if you’re being damaged by the rise of 3D printing.

Our firm has extensive experience managing licensing agreements for clients. We can handle the entire development process, and our attorneys are extremely efficient. To learn more about Lilenfeld PC’s licensing services, please visit our patents page.