Three-dimensional (3D) printing and scanning, touted as the next disruptive technology, is already upon us. Merging the physical and digital, 3D printing and scanning is having profound effects on how we design, share, copy and manufacture objects. Consequently, this article considers the previously unexplored intellectual property implications for registered design owners. In doing so, it examines the technological background to 3D printing and scanning against a backdrop of consumer access to these technologies.
With the advent of 3D scanners and 3D printers any user can (re)produce unauthorised versions of an object that embodies a registered design in digital or physical form. This article considers the effectiveness of Australian registered design rights to combat infringement of this kind. It is concluded that the Designs Act 2003 (Cth) is unable to deal with this nascent technology.
© 2012 Journal of Law, Information & Science and Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania.