Taylor Wessing Download — 3D printing

There is a fresh batch of content on the Taylor Wessing Download site, which provides insights into the legal implications of the latest media and technology developments. The topic on Download this month is 3D printing. With 3D printing becoming increasingly accessible to consumers, Download takes a look at the technology. It looks at the legal issues and predicts how businesses might apply their rights to prevent unauthorised copying of their products, but also at how those rights holders may embrace the technology to ensure their share of what it has to offer.

3D printing is an additive process which is capable of turning virtually any digital model into a three-dimensional solid object.

To begin with a digital CAD (Computer Aided Design) file is created using a 3D modelling program or scanned using a 3D scanner. Software within a CAD modelling programme then divides the design into hundreds, sometimes thousands of horizontal layers, and plans the build path for the 3d printer to follow. Unlike other manufacturing methods that rely on the removal of material (subtractive process), the 3D printer then follows the built path constructing the model by adding material where required layer by layer, hence the name additive process…

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