Patents, Meet Napster: The Disruptive Power of Three-Dimensional Printing


May 2, 2013


Deven Desai


Thomas Jefferson School of Law


The Industrial Revolution was founded on economies of scale, but
the next transformation in manufacturing may come from individual
households. An additive (or 3D) printer is a desktop machine that
can make customized physical objects from software and simple raw
materials. This device promises to dramatically reduce the cost of
making and distributing tangible goods, but it could also sharply
increase patent infringement. Indeed, 3D printers present a challenge
to patent law that is analogous to the disruption of copyright by MP3
files. This talk explores the implications of 3D printing for patents.


Deven Desai

Deven Desai is a law professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and recently completed serving as Academic Research Counsel at Google, Inc. As a law professor, he teaches trademark, intellectual property theory, business associations, and information privacy law. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Yale Law School. He has also spent year as a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. Professor Desai’s scholarship examines how business interests and economic theories shape privacy and intellectual property law and where those arguments explain productivity or where they fail to capture society’s interest in the free flow of information and development. His articles include Speech Citizenry and the Market: A Corporate Public Figure Doctrine 98 Minnesota Law Review_ (2013) (forthcoming); Bounded by Brands: An Information Network Approach to Brands, U.C. Davis Law Review (2013) (forthcoming); Beyond Location: Data Security in the 21st Century, Communications of the ACM (January, 2013); Response: An Information Approach to Trademarks, 100 Georgetown Law Journal 2119 (2012); From Trademarks to Brands, 46 Florida Law Review 981 (2012); The Life and Death of Copyright, 2011 Wisconsin Law Review 219 (2011); Brands, Competition, and the Law, 2010 Brigham Young Law Review 1425 (2010) (with Spencer Waller); Privacy? Property?: Reflections on the Implications of a Post-Human World 18 Kansas J. of Law & Public Policy (2009); Property, Persona, and Preservation, 81 Temple Law Review 67 (2008); and Confronting the Genericism Conundrum, 28 Cardozo Law Review 789 (2007) (Sandra L. Rierson, co-author).