3D Printing’s Legal Landscape Remains Wild, Untamed

By Eric Barnes, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

This article was originally published on AuntMinnie.com on April 25, 2017.

3DHEALS2017: Regulatory Panel, April 20th, 2017

April 25, 2017 — Many of the qualities that make 3D printing such an exciting field are the same ones that create a perilous legal environment for the industry, according to experts at last week’s 3DHeals conference. From patent protections to product liability, 3D printing’s sparse legal track record and unique manufacturing processes raise issues that lack clear answers.

At a panel session discussing these issues at the San Francisco conference, intellectual property specialist Eric Birkeneder, from the Nixon Peabody law firm, and Colleen Davies, a partner at Reed Smith and a member of the firm’s Life Sciences Health Industry Group, talked about law in the emerging field.

Birkeneder said his firm started working in intellectual property in issues related to 3D printing about a year and a half ago, about when Nixon Peabody pulled together a task force to gather knowledge and create strategies for the field.

Protecting intellectual property

“Traditionally, we want to protect the product with patenting and maybe sometimes the process for making it. But for 3D printing, there are so many different products and processes that can be patented, including scans if you’re doing medical implants,” Birkeneder said.

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