EU Design Law and 3D Printing: Finding the Right Balance in a New E-Ecosystem

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The article considers the implications for EU design law of 3D-printing. It first describes the 3D-printing technology and the e-ecosystem which is evolving around the technology and involves a number of new stakeholders who in different ways are engaged in the making and sharing of CAD-files and/or printing. It is submitted that it is only a matter of time before 3D-printing equipment becomes ubiquitous. It is pointed out how the new technology and e-ecosystem at the same time represent threats and opportunities to design holders and to the societal interests in design and design law. EU design law is analysed and it is concluded that the current legal framework is not geared to deal with these challenges. In particular the scope of the private and non-commercial use exception and the liability of producers and providers of CAD-files are presently uncertain. It is finally argued that there is a dire need to address the challenges and to provide legal certainty. In so doing a balance should be struck which reflects both the legitimate interests of design holders and of users and which relies on a combination of responses found both in legislation and in systems based on self-governance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication3D Printing, Intellectual Property and Innovation : Insights from Law and Technology
EditorsRosa Maria Ballardini, Marcus Norrgård, Jouni Partanen
Number of pages28
Place of PublicationThe Hague
PublisherWolters Kluwer
Publication date2017
Pages275-302
Chapter13
ISBN (Print)9789041183828
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ID: 183833783