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date: 07 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter considers the challenges faced by intellectual property (IP) laws, in particular copyright and patent laws, in responding to emerging technologies and innovation like 3D printing and scanning. It provides a brief introduction to 3D printing before moving to detailed analysis of relevant UK and Australian jurisprudence. Through this comparative analysis, the chapter explores whether copyright and patent laws can effectively protect innovation in this emerging technology, including consideration of both subsistence and infringement. The chapter suggests that 3D printing, like most other technologies, has a universal reach, yet subtle differences in the wording and interpretation of IP legislation between jurisdictions could lead to anomalies in levels of protection. It explores the possibility of a sui generis regime of IP protection for 3D printing, but submits that a nuanced reworking of existing regimes is, in the vast majority of circumstances, likely to be a sufficient response.

Keywords: 3D printing, 3D scanning, innovation, intellectual property, copyright, patent, UK, Australia

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