‘3D Printing, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Files and its Implications for Copyright Law’
Authors: Mendis, D.
Conference: 29th Annual BILETA Conference
Dates: 14-16 April 2014
Place of Publication: London
The future market potential of 3D printing will rest on the dissemination of Computer Aided Design (CAD) files. Without clear instructions from a CAD file, a 3D printer will not function. In fact, “a 3D printer without an attached computer and a good design file is as useless as an iPod without music”. The importance of CAD-based design files, therefore, cannot be underestimated. Drawing on UK and EU copyright laws and their application to 3D printing and CAD files, this paper will, first, question whether CAD files can be protected by copyright law before considering the copyright implications thrown up by the modification of CAD files as a result of scanning and the use of online tools. Highlighting some of the challenges for rights holders and users existent in the present law the paper advocates new business models over a premature call for stringent intellectual property laws before concluding with some recommendations for the future.