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The incredible capabilities of 3D printing – showcased in a dozen patents

From ground-breaking technology that could be straight off Star Trek, to applications that might transform our every-day consumer experience, via a few light-hearted detours: here are a dozen patents to illustrate the diversity of 3D printing applications…


New Technology and IP – ITMA Seminar Review

watchesITMA held its annual Autumn Seminar in Birmingham on 6 October 2016. The theme of the event was New Technology and IP.

The first talk by Alexandra Brodie of Gowling WLG reviewed wearable technology and its implications for IP. Alexandra initially considered the meaning of wearable technology and noted that it is no longer only stuck on a wrist, but also woven in to fabric, for example, and is becoming increasingly design led. Wearable technology is not simply about the technology itself, but also the aesthetics. We were treated to some shots of models and film stars wearing the latest fibre optic LED dresses by top designers such as Richard Nicoll and Zac Posen, giving a new meaning to the ‘sparkly dress’ and demonstrating the enthusiasm for use of new technologies in high fashion. (more…)

Top 10 Technology Trends (as predicted by a patent database)

With the news that now even drones are going ‘mini’ we have been considering some of our other favourite top trending technologies of the past few years, and briefly looking at how their patent application numbers have progressed.

We should point out that no in-depth analysis has been done here, and we’ve simply performed some quick patent database searching with the phrases used in our titles for our favourite top trending technologies…

  1. GenomicsMyriad

No one can deny the importance of studying genetic codes. Genomics not only provides a wealth of information about organisms, but has created vast possibilities for the future of modern medicine.


Keltie Events: London Tech Week; 3D printing & Design Workshops for In-house Counsel

Keltie signKeltie Events in June and July. Keltie LLP is pleased to be hosting a number of events over the next few weeks at our new offices at No. 1 London Bridge. Further details are below regarding (i) IP Clinics for London Technology Week; (ii) a 3D printing workshop for in-house counsel; and (iii) a Designs workshop for in-house counsel. (more…)

UKIPO report on 3D printing lacks dimension

3D printExcitement around 3D printing waned somewhat in 2014 from its meteoric rise in late 2013. Nonetheless, lawmakers and policymakers have been keeping an eye on this disruptive technology, leading to a UK Intellectual Property Office-commissioned report entitled A Legal and Empirical Study into the Intellectual Property Implications of 3D Printing, for which the executive summary was recently published.

The report is actually a wrapper for two separate studies. These were jointly carried out by the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM) at Bournemouth University and Econolyst Ltd, a consultancy specialising in 3D printing.

The first study comprised an analysis of how copyright law may be may be affected by the emergence of 3D scanning, and the creation and modification of digital design files. Additionally, it reviewed file-sharing websites including MakerBot’s Thingiverse, Autodesk’s 123D and GrabCad which are dedicated to computer-aided design (CAD) to provide a view on the types of print products available, their price, popularity and usage licences.


Are these patents the key to the next revolution in 3D printing?

SLSIn recent years, 3D printing has entered the mainstream lexicon, partly due to increased media coverage and partly because 3D printers are becoming more affordable and accessible. In particular, the rise of desktop 3D printers aimed at the domestic market such as the MakerBot Replicator and 3D Systems Cube have been a boon for hobbyists and early adopters. These printers are sold ready to use out of the box for simplicity compared to early affordable solutions which were self-assemble kits like the MakerGear Mosaic or the open source RepRap Mendel.

Typically, low cost domestic 3D printers, including those mentioned above, use an additive manufacturing technique called Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) to create objects. FDM involves a heated nozzle extruding thermoplastic into successive layers to build up a desired object.

The McKinsey Global InstituteThe Economist and Quartz, along with many others, cite the expiration of certain patents related to FDM in 2009 as enabling the recent proliferation of cheaper FDM 3D printers. They go on to anticipate that the expiration of key patents related to another additive manufacturing technique, selective laser sintering, in 2014 may lead to another step change in the field of 3D printing.

But what are these key patents that everyone’s talking about, and will they really make such a big impact?

3D printing – seminar review

PrinterOn 26 June 2013 Field Fisher Waterhouse held an excellent afternoon seminar on “Developments in UK and EU patent law”. David Knight’s session on 3D printing (“3D Printing – A licence to infringe IP rights?”) was particularly interesting as it looked at the implications for intellectual property rights owners arising from the developing field of 3D printing.

In this post we provide a (hopefully accurate!) recap of David’s talk and a look at the world of 3D printing. (more…)