Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, 2013/04/01, Vol: 23, p771
business corporate law, communications law, computer internet law, constitutional law, copyright law, governments, international trade law, and patent law
Introduction For centuries, objects have been designed by processes involving pencil and paper drawings or the construction of physical prototypes. Beginning in the 1980s, machines, products, and components thereof have been increasingly designed mostly - if not entirely - on computers using computer aided design ("CAD") programs. 1 CAD programs are widely used by designers, engineers, and architects today to imagine and make virtual 3D models of various objects, enabling the objects to be fully digitally developed before they are physically created. 2 CAD programs offer many advantages over non-digital processes, such as the ability to easily change and refine a design, as well as a high degree of precision in defining all of the features and dimensions of the design. 3 While designs can certainly be created and manipulated in CAD programs from scratch, 3D scanning technology can also be used to make a CAD file that digitally captures and represents an existing object. 4 Once created, CAD files function as digital "blueprints" that can be used by manufacturers to make products to exact specifications in a factory setting. 5 Like other digital files, CAD files may be easily and widely distributed via any digital storage medium or network, such as the Internet. 6 Three-dimensional or "3D" printing is an emerging technology that is already having an enormous and profound impact on how products are made and sold. Just like CAD programs largely obviated the need for paper drafting and physical prototyping, 3D printing has the capability to ...