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3D Printing is a disruptive technology that has come to alter traditional supply chains by changing the process flow for the making of tangible goods. 3D printing has bridged both the gap between the tangible and the intangible and that between the producer and consumer, creating a new class of ‘consumers’. With 3D printing has come great ease in infringing patent rights. It has also led to a change in manufacturing and supply chains and therefore disrupted the rules governing placement of liability. This work attempts to identify the specific effects of 3D printing on supply chains and ease of infringement, with a view to proffering ways in which the interests of innovators and consumers can be protected. It finds that since 3D printing has eroded the line between the tangible and the intangible, it is necessary to depart from the old legal tradition of hinging patent infringement liability on tangibility. There should at least be infringement liability for certain acts such as selling and offering to sell, done in relation to CAD files from which patented products are printed.


3D Printing, Supply Chain, Infringement, Patent Rights, Legal Protection, CAD, Active Inducement, Contributory Infringement, Digital Patent Infringement
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