3D Printing is here to stay and aerospace manufacturers are adapting their intellectual property strategies accordingly. The aerospace sector was one of the first to employ “stereolithography,” coined in the 1980’s. With recent advances, this technology enables manufacturers to produce complex parts more quickly, and reduce production lead times and inventory costs.
Until now, manufacturers have mostly relied solely on patents to protect their technologies, which lasted for 20 years. Now, 3D printing makes protection more complex, since suppliers can now produce replica parts based on CAD design files. Patents cannot protect manufacturers from file sharing and printing in all cases. Therefore, manufacturers should consider the following to expand their IP protection:
– Seeking specific design protection where possible;
– Applying copyright protection to CAD files;
– Continuing vigorous patent protection; and
– Gaining an early interest in revenue streams by licensing designs to manufacturers.
The expert attorneys at Cislo & Thomas LLP are happy to help you expand your IP strategy in response to new technologies and the changing legal landscape.