Advances in 3D printing and the fact that 3D printers are now more readily accessible have made it easier and less expensive for companies to produce products and to manufacture them from a single article rather than needing multiple components.
The potential to infringe intellectual property rights raises serious concerns for innovators. Early and robust patent protection will become increasingly important to protecting 3D printing innovations and deterring would-be infringers.
The UK Department for Culture, Media & Sport recently released a Digital Strategy for UK economic, educational and infrastructural growth. The policy follows a seven prong plan touching on the concepts of Makerspaces, FabLabs, 3D imaging, intellectual property for 3D printing, and growing international Tech Hubs. IP rules need to keep up with technological change and research is needed on how 3D printing technology and IP rights apply to 3D files and products.