Dec 8, 2017 | By Tess

Despite the fact that the EU has a lot on its plate right now, it still found time recently to discuss whether or not to implement regulations for 3D printing technologies. The topic was brought to the table in Brussels by members of the Justice Committee (JURI) of the European parliament.

In a “working document” about the meeting, the EU politicians outline the multiple and varied benefits of additive manufacturing technology: from being able to produce bespoke medical devices, to improving company logistics, to being more eco-friendly than existing manufacturing processes.

“The EU has made 3D printing one of the priority areas of technology,” reads the document. “The Commission referred to it, in its recent reflection paper on harnessing globalization (COM(2017)240), as one of the main factors in bringing about industrial transformation.”

Notably, the report highlights the potentials of 3D printing for manufacturing businesses and employment rates. It argues that “a reduction in the number of interventions” in the manufacturing process would enable businesses to turn away from outsourced labor systems and “repatriate” production, thus creating more (and higher grade) jobs at home.

On the flip side, a number of potential risks associated with additive manufacturing were also brought up, including the 3D printing of weapons and other illegal products. The main focus of the discussion, however, had to do with intellectual property and civil liability risks.

“Since the object being made has been digitally designed, the possibilities for modifying and applying it are endless,” reads the report written by Joelle Bergeron, a member of Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, a populist party. “The fact that this new technology combines digital and physical aspects also changes the way the production chain operates: the online availability of files heralds the advent of public participatory innovation, since open-source files can be freely modified, improved and customized.”

And while most of the maker community may see these features of 3D printing as a positive thing, the report emphasizes that they could pose challenges for certain applications, such as 3D printing medical implants and devices, or aircraft and automotive parts. (There is a whole report on the risks of 3D printing in the aircraft manufacturing industry.)

The working document outlines a number of measures that could be taken to address intellectual property and civil liability risks with 3D printing, including the establishment of a “global database of printable objects” which could control how copyrighted 3D models are reproduced; implementing a “legal limit” on the number of private reproductions of a 3D model; and even imposing a 3D printing tax which could compensate IPR holders for their losses caused by 3D printed reproductions.

Ultimately though, many JURI members (specifically those from the Green Party group, the conservatives, and the liberals) raised issue with implementing regulations and limitations to 3D printing technology at this stage. In other words, the benefits of the technology in terms of research and innovation currently outweigh its IP and civil liability risks.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive