Impervious claims make you win the Technology game.
As a matter of constant debate, it is often cited how traditional Intellectual Property laws and attorneys shall keep-up with the pace of the technical advancement and literal improvements. The recent evolution of 3D printing and its multifold capabilities have reverberated across all fields alike. Additive Manufacturing, commonly known as 3D-printing has revolutionized the manufacturing process with its disruptive advancement in domains like automotives, manufacturing, aerospace, pharmaceutical & healthcare, fashion, retail and sports, leaving aside the fabrication of a human tissue as we’ve already seen in endless episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. Almost a decade back, a for “fused deposition modeling” had expired and inventors began to brain-storm around the periphery of the said invention. Kick starter introduced 3D printing and the hype built then has not witnessed a dip ever since. Tracing the developments from the past few years, the top-10 scoreboards leaders are from US and a few from Germany; these include General Electric, HP Inc. and United Technologies Corporation as the flag bearers.
Although, it has substantially pushed down the cost and issues of feasibility, it certainly has escalated the problem of potential infringements in the domain of intellectual property rights. holders often robe themselves with a rhino’s skin when they hear about how copyrights are infringed by piracy and flouting of , hoping to remain untouched by such technology capable of printing not just books but objects as well.
While brushing upon the issue of , its quintessential to note how there’s a depression in the IP system not catering to flouting of proprietor rights by deployment of such technologies under the existent framework. Considering a CAD file which lays the blueprint for printing an object, incorporates the article’s digital impression which could amount to of copyright as an unfair use of derivative works since it uses technical drawings and diagram models. Such issues cannot be ignored and requires requisite enhancement of the legal framework in the form of digital copyright infringements. For better protection of these rights against unauthorized use, it would be wise to incorporate a “unique identifier” while generating CAD files to ensure that the end-user is identified before proceeding to access the file. Furthermore, to draw a parallel with landmark copyright case laws, would it not be correct to hold that proprietors of 3D printing technologies are capable of inducing future infringements? Napster and Groxter did not make infringing copies of sound labels but they most certainly aided its user in the process of generating pirated sound records. If the two were shut down on such premise, then why does the same not stand true here.
Another issue is the problem hovering around where a protected technology is facsimiled and an existing object is created using a different mechanism. This also amounts to , provided the fact that the object is protected. A non-patented feature of a patented object can be produced without attracting any objection. To cater to patent infringements facilitated by 3D printing, the provision with respect to indirect infringement can be strictly construed holding inappropriate use of such technology to be legally actionable. The only issue with this approach in the domain of is that to succeed in a case of alleged inducement of , it requires the Plaintiff to establish that the defendants had actual knowledge of the relevant which may be a challenging task. Therefore, one can easily dust their hands claiming that they were unaware of the existence of such and thereby escape liability. This is why we need a straight-jacket formula. It is pertinent to enforce a uniformly regulated system for proportional use of the said technology in the industry. In furtherance of this objective, it is important that the claims in future applications dealing with such kinds of technologies are tightly framed without leaving any potential pits that could be filled in by opportunist which would help in securing such rights in the favor of a handful with controlled administration (through , assignment, etc.). Therefore, lesser the owner of such technologies, greater is the chance to supervise.
Furthermore, the non-functional feature of the replicated object, i.e. the appearance of the same will attract claims of of the design. However, it goes without saying that non-commercial and private use of the said article although manufactured via 3D printing would not gather legal action. To what extent can such fabrication be mapped across the globe is the question where is costly and long-drawn. The number of welcoming issues in the domain is beyond count. To prove a point, consider where the 3D technology is used to print guns and ammunition. Is this not an ethical issue or a safety issue against public safety?
It is the unsaid duty of the government to safeguard the right of a holder in exchange of which it receives disclosure of a patented invention. In furtherance of this objective, the legislative wing of the government shall invite suggestions from the public as well as specialized reports from the government committees to ensure better execution and administration of laws to warrant that such an invention is not frivolously put to use. To end this on a conclusive note, I personally believe that the use of such dynamic technology shall be controlled and supervised since it can have polarized outcomes.