3D printing design and engineering: intersection of law and tech

The 2nd edition of the 3D Printing Design & Engineering conference took place on May 24, 2016 at Designhuis in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The high level conference brought together over 60 participants and provided great intellectual and social interaction for the attendees. Technology, business and law came together.

The conference featured renowned speakers from Shapeways, Fraunhofer IPT, Philips Industry Consulting, TNO, ShareMy3D, iMinds, Louwers IP|Technology Advocaten, EDS Innovation, Metal Technics and Sirris who shared their views and opinions on 3D printing design and engineering topics.

Ernst-Jan Louwers of Louwers IP|Technology Advocaten had the privilege to not only present an introduction to legal aspects of 3D printing but moderate the afternoon session as well.

Liability and Intellectual Property

Louwers: “Legal should facilitate the further development and maturing of new technologies like 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Standardisation, certification and quality by design are intertwined with legal issues like (product) liability.”

The ease of dissemination and the problem of effective enforcement of IP rights are considered as main challenges for 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Several cases have led to settlements. Even though no known court judgements are available about infringement on IP rights through 3D printed products, it is a matter of time for that to happen. Platforms like Shapeways encounter an increase of the number of IP complaints as is shown in its transparency report.


Certain technical solutions may be introduced by the industry to prevent piracy. But implementing digital rights management limitations seem to be contrary to today’s sharing economy. Other ways such as open design and open hardware and for instance the 3D printing license developed by Louwers IP|Technology Advocaten together with Youmagine, in many cases provide more effective and modern solutions.

Also, Louwers pointed at solution providers like 3D Clearing House which provides for the outsourcing of notice and takedown procedures and assessment of content.

Read more about 3D printing license or 3D Clearing House.

publicatiedatum: Monday, June 06, 2016