3D printing and what it could mean for rights holders

3D printing is a generic term for the process of a machine creating a three-dimensional object layer by layer. While 3D printing has been a hot topic recently, particularly with Cody Wilson offering designs for a 3D-printable gun online, 3D printing has actually been available for the best part of 30 years. That said, we are now at a stage where the technology is progressing forward in leaps and bounds and 3D printing is evolving rapidly.

The vast improvements in 3D printing technology have the potential to significantly increase the number of people and businesses who can manufacture for themselves, in the same way that social media has enabled people to publish for themselves.

In the future, this increase could even lead to some consumers bypassing traditional retail models and manufacturing products for themselves, or commissioning third-party providers to do it for them. The upshot of this is that business owners could well lose some of the revenue they currently derive from their intellectual property rights…

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