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3D Printing: Intellectual Property and Innovation

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The Edge

State Library of Queensland

Stanley Place

South Brisbane, QLD 4101

Australia

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Join members of the QUT Faculty of Law's Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Program for this half-day event where we will consider the role of 3D printing in intellectual property, education, community participation, and innovation.

Event Overview

The first session will provide a comparative consideration of intellectual property and 3D printing. Professor Marcus Norrgard from the University of Helsinki will provide a keynote address on intellectual property and 3D printing in the European Union. There will be a consideration of intellectual property and 3D printing in the United States, Canada, Ireland, and Australia. There will be an examination of the relevance of the various forms of intellectual property – including copyright law, designs law, trade mark law, patent law, and trade secrets, as well as forms of open licensing. The second session will consider the role in 3D printing in culture heritage, community participation and cultural engagement. The State Library of Queensland will consider the role of cultural institutions as hosts of makerspaces in Queensland and Australia. Living labs have also played an important role in promoting digital participation and cultural engagement.

The third session will explore the role of makerspaces, fabspaces, tech shops, and hackerspaces in relation to innovation, business, and enterpreneurship. There will be a consideration of the application of 3D printing in the fields of health, medicine, and biotechnology and a focus upon how small-to-medium enterprises have made use of 3D printing. There will also be a discussion of the role of crowdfunding in supporting ventures of the Maker Movement. This event will seek to pass on both theoretical and practical insights gained from an ARC Discovery Project to the local maker community.

Keynote Speaker

Marcus Norrgård is a Professor of Law at the University of Helsinki, Vaasa Unit of Legal Studies. He was awarded the Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree in 2002 and law degree in 1996, both at the University of Helsinki. Norrgård is Chairman of the Finnish Copyright Council (Tekijänoikeusneuvosto), editor-in-chief for Tidskrift, utgiven av Juridiska föreningen i Finland, chairman of the ethics board of the Finnish Franchising Association and member of the board of Nordiskt Immateriellt Rättsskydd (NIR). He has previously served on the Board of the Finnish AIPPI Group and as editor for Tidskrift, utgiven av Juridiska föreningen i Finland (JFT) and Nordiskt Immateriellt Rättsskydd (NIR).

Keynote Abstract

3D printing (3DP), is gaining foothold as a viable manufacturing technology especially for small-series, customizable products. Patent, copyright, trademark, and design laws have not however been especially adapted to take into account the advent of this decentralized mode of production. As with many new technologies, 3DP creates friction with IP laws, especially in the form of under-protection.

This presentation gives a general overview of some of the key issues in the clash between 3DP and intellectual property law seen from the point of view of European intellectual property law. Many of the issues stem from the electronically distributable CAD file, which contains the information of the product to be printed in the form of a digital three-dimensional representation. For patent law the CAD file poses an interesting challenge because it is not at all clear, at least in European patent law, that the distribution of CAD files infringes a patent. Especially in cases where the printing itself is done by a private person with a non-commercial purpose, the problem becomes accentuated. A problematic situation may also arise where the infringing acts are divided geographically between different jurisdictions. It would thus be in the interest of the patent holder to be able to enjoin the distribution of CAD files, but it is far from clear that this is possible, at least in Europe.

Trademark law faces similar issues in that commercial use is required for infringement. 3D printing trademarked products in a non-commercial setting would normally fall outside of trademark protection, but it might still have a deleterious effect on the value of the trademark. Also here distribution of CAD files would be a clear point of focus for enforcement efforts. In copyright law the issues are a bit different, since European copyright law does not require commercial use. Also here at least some of the problems boil down to the significance of the CAD file. Is the CAD file a representation of the ‘work’ the distribution of which is an infringement? Or is it a computer program? Or is it more akin to a blueprint for a product? These questions have not yet been finally solved.
The presentation will primarily focus on these infringement-related questions, but will also briefly touch upon the question of what the rightsholder can do to enhance protection against 3D printing (for example, through patent claim drafting).

Additional Speakers

Dr. Kylie Pappalardo
QUT Faculty of Law

Professor Matthew Rimmer
Professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation Law, QUT Faculty of Law

Margaret Warren
State Library of Queensland

Associate Professor Michael Dezuanni
QUT DMRC

Dr. Sam Tavassoli
RMIT University, School of Management

Anne Matthew
QUT Faculty of Law

Angela Dahlke
QUT Foundry

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Date and Time

Location

The Edge

State Library of Queensland

Stanley Place

South Brisbane, QLD 4101

Australia

View Map

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