3-D Printing: The Next Big Thing in IP Law?

Back in February, President Barack Obama indicated in his State of the Union address that 3-D printing may be the next big thing in manufacturing. What he didn’t say is that 3-D printing may also be the next big thing in intellectual property disputes.

The new technology, which makes it possible to create an item by simply downloading a design file and printing it out as a plastic object, is likely to trigger conflicts surrounding copyrights, trademarks, and patents. And while a scenario in which the average person would be using a 3-D printer at home seemed until recently like far-off science fiction, lawyers now say it won’t be long before widespread use of the technology leads to litigation.

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