An event at Bournemouth University discussed the legal and social implications of 3d printing technology.
Held as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Festival of Social Science, it brought together experts in a variety of fields to kick-start a debate about the intellectual property implications of 3d printing.
Although 3d printing as a technology has existed for more than thirty years, the advent of consumer 3d printing has the potential to rapidly advance its use.
Introducing the event, Sally Weston, Head of Law at BU, said: “3d printing is a technology which could change the world. It is advancing rapidly and is now used to create items as detailed as aircraft parts. It is a hugely exciting area.”
But wider use of the technology also raises questions about the broader implications relating to intellectual property (IP) law, economics, policy, technology, industry and society.
At the event, presentations from experts in both industry and research tackled several of these issues - including who is responsible for quality if people print goods at home; what the technology means for copyright and intellectual property law; and whether it will change the way that businesses operate.
Dinusha Mendis, Associate Professor of Law at BU and organiser of the event, said, “3d printing is a technology which has the potential to revolutionise our lives. While the technology has existed for some time, consumer 3d printing is set to transform the way it is used.”
Alongside discussions, attendees also had the chance to get hands-on experience with an exhibition of 3d printers, which were provided by Bournemouth University and 3d printing company Ultimaker.
The event concluded with a discussion of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) commissioned Project on the IP implications of 3D Printing carried out by Dr. Dinusha Mendis (Principal Investigator) and Dr. Davide Secchi (Co-Investigator) of BU in collaboration with Dr. Phil Reeves (Co-investigator) of Econolyst.
By bringing together a wide range of stakeholders presenting their various perspectives, BU has started a very timely and much-needed discussion about the future of 3D printing.