Research could help shape the future of British law when it comes to intellectual property and 3D printing
Meet the expert..
Dr Dinusha Mendis
3D printing technology has been around since the 1970s, but in recent years the industry has seen an exponential growth. Significant technological developments and wider accessibility for consumers has meant three-dimensional objects can be more easily recreated and personalised in the home or office.
However, there is still limited literature and debate on the intellectual property (IP) implications of 3D printing. To counteract the shortfall in knowledge, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) commissioned BU’s Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM) to carry out research into the IP implications of 3D printing.
Dr Dinusha Mendis, Co-Director of CIPPM, is leading the research team at BU, which includes Dr Davide Secchi and research assistants Hayleigh Bosher and Samreen Ashraf. The CIPPM team also partnered with Dr Phil Reeves, Managing Director of Econolyst Ltd., a UK-based consultancy, to carry out the research for the IPO Project.
The project sets out key recommendations for government and industry and will help to inform the development of policy in this area. Its aim is to explore online platforms and user behaviour related to 3D printing as well as considering case studies in order to demonstrate the impact of IP implications on the industrial sector.
The final outputs of the research will help shape the future of UK law regarding 3D printing and are expected to be in publication sometime towards the end of 2014.
More information is available at www.bournemouth.ac.uk/cippm
When I first came across 3D printing, like most people, I was struck by the technology, particularly its ability to 3D print physical objects and transform them into digital files through 3D scanners – ready for 3D printing once again.
The potential to reproduce physical objects ranging from toys to jewellery and many more, caught my imagination. I also realised that there was a complete lack of academic articles or research on the topic of Intellectual Property (IP) implications of 3D printing, although it raised so many interesting and complex issues.
I began to explore the implications for IP law, and started researching and publishing. Since then, I have published various articles, received funding for further research and delivered talks in UK and abroad, including a keynote speech at the European Parliament.
The IPO Commissioned Project aims to fill the gap in the research whilst informing the development of policy in this area. It has also acted as a springboard for further collaboration with industry and other stakeholders across the UK.”
Dr Dinusha Mendis, Associate Professor in Law
As part of my PhD in Copyright Law I have worked as a Research Assistant for a number of projects undertaken at the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM).
During 2013-2014, I was involved in assisting Dr Dinusha Mendis on a project on 3D printing and Intellectual Property Law commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). I was particularly involved in providing research assistance for the Project Report on the ‘Legal and Empirical Study of 3D Printing Online Platforms and Analysis of User Behaviour’. I explored the various online platforms that offer Computer-Aided Designs (CAD) for 3D printing. I also provided research assistance for a second report, which considered 3D Printing in the industrial sector.
3D Printing is a new and innovative area and to consider the application of IP laws to this evolving technology was exciting. Being involved in this project also helped me to broaden my horizons within the area of IP laws whilst complementing the work I do for my PhD.”
Hayleigh Bosher, PhD student
The interaction of 3D Printing and intellectual property law is a new policy issue for the UK Government. The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) commissioned the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM) at Bournemouth University to investigate the current economic and Intellectual Property implications in 3D printing.
Working with the CIPPM-based Bournemouth researchers who collaborated with industrial partner Econolyst Ltd for this project, has proven insightful and is informing the development of policy in this area.
Nicola Searle, Economic Advisor in the Economics, Research & Evidence team at UKIPO