3D printing and the intellectual property system
Economic Research Working Paper No. 28
Author(s): Stefan Bechtold | Publication year: 2015
Three-dimensional (3D) printing – or “additive manufacturing” – technologies differ from traditional molding and casting manufacturing processes in that they build 3D objects by successively creating layers of material on top of each other. Rooted in manufacturing research of the 1980s, 3D printing has evolved into a broad set of technologies that could fundamentally alter production processes in a wide set of technology areas. This report investigates, from the perspective of an intellectual property scholar, how 3D printing technology has developed over the last few decades, how intellectual property rights have shaped this breakthrough innovation and how 3D printing technologies could challenge the intellectual property rights system in the future.