Wednesday, February 13, 2013

All The Products Fit To Print

In his February 12, 2012, State of the Union address, President Barack Obama highlit a technology with huge implications for manufacturing:
There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend [towards more manufacturing in the United States]. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.
What he did not mention was that 3D printing may also democratize manufacturing, allowing individuals to make, repair, or modify products at home for the mere price of raw materials and electricity.  In addition, this technology is destined to challenge intellectual property law by facilitating inexpensive and high-fidelity copies of goods protected by patent, copyright, or trademark.  Can it be long before a Digital Millennium Copyright Act-like legal response materializes?