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Intellectual Property and 3D Printing

This presentation explored the challenges that IP rights holders (and their licensees, manufacturers and others in the supply chain) face, and the opportunities for new entrants, as the technology that allows for 3D scanning and printing continues to develop and finds wider commercial (and private) uses. Those challenges are not in the future but need to be faced now. As the technology continues to develop, and innovators and entrepreneurs find more uses for the technology, the impacts are being felt throughout every industry, and at all points of the supply and distribution chain. After a brief consideration of the technology that is involved, this talk focussed on the areas where current IP laws are failing to respond to the challenges, and considered whether our laws need to change to respond to the challenges of the technology, and if so, pose a number of possible changes, and consider whether any particular approach is more favourable or whether the changes may deliver further uncertainty or an expansion of rights that will upset the current balance between rights holders and users.