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The Machines are here – 3D Printing – A genuine challenge to Intellectual Property laws and rights holders?


Although 3D printing technology has been in existence for several decades, its recent proliferation makes it clear that never before as much as now, has this technology presented as acute a challenge to Intellectual Property (IP) laws and rights holders, and to traditional manufacturing practices.


The prolific rate at which 3D printers are being produced is realistically projected to result in a 3D printer becoming a common household device in the next few years. This could ultimately decentralise manufacturing, by enabling virtually anyone to become a manufacturer in the comfort of their home. Naturally, such a result would significantly disrupt the general order of business, and do so in a far-reaching manner that would affect the economy at large, e.g. with reference to the availability of employment and the collection of taxes.


3D Printing requirements Generally, to create a product using a 3D printer, one requires (i) a digital file of the product to be 3D printed, (ii) instructions that would instruct the 3D printer to additively print the product, and a material that will be used to print the product in 3D. A 3D printer also needs […]

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