Summer Forum IT-Recht: Legal Issues of 3D Printing

von Jonathan Stoklas

Four and a half centuries ago Johannes Gutenberg changed the elaborate, expensive and time consuming process of reproducing books by inventing the very first printing press. His invention was a milestone in the history of education: knowledge was no longer kept to a small number of intellectuals that could discuss it amongst themselves. Information could be reproduced faster and cheaper than ever before; as a consequence, information was distributed to a much wider audience. Similarly, the mass production and manufacturing of three dimensional goods has been an elaborate and expensive process. Establishing production lines and assembling goods requires huge investments of not only capital, but human resources. Furthermore, manufacturers require not only massive industrial installations and raw materials in order to produce, but logistical and storage space afterwards.

We may be in the middle of a 3D printing revolution that is promising to have equally important impact. The technology allows for the assembly of goods by just clicking the print button of computer software, liberating industrial processes behind the production of goods from its economic and societal dependencies ...

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