Trademark Attorney Morris Turek

Morris E. Turek

(314) 749-4059

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Trademark Implications of 3D Printing

Trademark Implications of 3D Printing

Some say that 3D printing is ushering in a Third Industrial Revolution.  A 3D printer is a machine that seems to be able to create objects out of thin air.  It can print in a number of mediums, including plastic, metal, nylon, or a hundred other materials.  If you need a replacement part for your refrigerator, you don’t need to go to the Home Depot.  Just use a 3D printer to print the same part at home.

3D printing is generally referred to as additive printing or additive manufacturing.  What does this mean?  It’s easy to understand when you think of it as the opposite of subtractive manufacturing in which a product is made by cutting away a piece of material from a larger piece of material.  With additive printing, successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes until a unique product is created.

The whole idea of 3D printing may seem amazing, modern, and state-of-the art to ordinary consumers, but many manufacturers have been using these types of printers to design or create prototypes for traditional manufacturing for years.  As 3D printing has become quicker and cheaper, it has become more widely accessible to the general public.  Amazon now has a store on its marketplace dedicated to the sale of 3D printers and supplies.  A company named 3D Industries has launched a search engine that navigates 3D content on the web by shape, allowing individuals to locate 3D printables.

One of the reasons for the growth of the 3D printing market over the past few years is that several 3D printing technology patents have expired, leaving the door open for smaller companies and individuals to work with the technology.  This technological growth, though, leaves businesses and manufacturers worried.  When copycat products can be almost flawlessly mass-produced and put into identical packaging with similar labeling, the risk of trademark infringement and counterfeiting can be quite significant.

Determining whether your trademark rights have been infringed through 3D printing processes can be a complex matter.  I’m Morris Turek and I’m an experienced trademark attorney who can make sure that your trademark is fully protected under the law.  Please do not hesitate to contact me at (314) 749-4059 or if you have any trademark-related questions with which you need assistance.


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