3D printing is quickly becoming more accessible and affordable. As more businesses and households purchase 3D printers, patent laws face a challenge. The existing laws are not prepared for 3D printing issues. For individuals and businesses in North Carolina, patent protection is crucial. How can you protect your patent against 3D printing?
Intellectual Property Watch explains that with 3D printing, it is extremely easy to reproduce products. A user only has to download a computer-aided design file and follow the instructions to print the object. Users can transfer these files to anyone on the internet. When businesses see a printed copy of its invention, it knows that there is a potential loss. Patent holders that want to sue have to prove that the person used a 3D printer to reproduce the invention.
This issue revolves mostly around intellectual property. To protect assets, you need to maintain a portfolio of copyrightable files. These files are your evidence that you have pre-established rights. Now, copyrights are subject to fair use, copyrights also last for longer. Now, it might be difficult to sue individual parties who 3D print your product. However, under the Patent Act, you can sue parties that induce infringement. For instance, websites that sell the CAD file and instruct users how to reproduce the patented invention are facilitators. Additionally, you may even be able to file a suit against the sellers of the 3D printers.
None of the above information regarding 3D printing and patent law is to be used as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.