The Annual Conference 2014 of the International Bar Association (IBA), which brought together ca. 6.000 participants from about 130 countries, took place in Tokyo on 19-24 October 2014.
A panel discussion dedicated to the legal aspects of “3D Printing in Medicine” and “Telemedicine by Satellite” was organized by the IBA’s Space Law and Technology Law Committees.
The use of 3D-printing in medicine has already become a reality and is revolutionizing diverse medical solutions. Nowadays, typical application fields include manufacturing of implants, limbs and other organs of human body as well as manufacturing of other medical devices, for example for dental and orthodontic industries. Another important area for use of 3D-printing relates to manufacturing of 3D-models for planning and preparing operations prior to the actual event. Moreover, numerous companies and scientific groups are working on diverse additional applications (e.g. printing of drugs, artificial skin, etc.) now.
The use of 3D-printing in medicine represents also a challenging legal subject matter. Numerous aspects like the regulatory framework or questions of legal liability for manufactured products should be simultaneously taken into account.
The presentation made by Iouri Kobiako von Gamm at the IBA Annual Conference 2014 dealt with influence of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) on 3D-printing applications in medicine from the European perspective. The author explained the relevance of patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright as well as additional protection by means of unfair competition law on 3D-printing applications in medicine and highlighted the currently most relevant IPR types, namely patents and utility models.
The presentation also explains the impact of IPRs on different players in 3D-printing market for medicine, including manufacturers and suppliers of 3D-printers for medical applications, manufacturers and suppliers of input materials for 3D-printing, manufacturers of products by means of 3D-printing as well as doctors, dentists and other medical practitioners.