3D PRINTING AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
3D printing has the potential to become a huge benefit for innovative companies. However, besides the advantages of reduced operating and development costs, higher flexibility, and faster production, this new technology comes along with certain risks. Those who intend to legally use the 3D printing technology must carefully consider existing patents as well as further IP rights in the field of 3D printing. Moreover, companies are advised to effectively protect their own 3D printing programs- and data against theft and counterfeiting.
3D printing is not only for companies a great step forward but offers new opportunities for counterfeits as well. Never has it been easier to copy and reproduce products – even those protected by patents, trademark rights or copyrights. Damages can be tremendous since every printed copy of an invention means the loss of potential customers for the actual owner of the patent rights. The distribution of illegally uploaded CAD data for 3D printing on the internet is an additional challenge.
IP STRATEGIES OF CHINESE COMPANIES
As China is further consolidating its global political and economic power, Chinese companies have increased their innovational capabilities and are steadily narrowing the gap of technological development. Intellectual property plays a dominant role in China’s innovation and globalization offensive. It is not a secret that many Chinese companies do not play by the rules of fair competition. They bypass intellectual property rights, register their own patents on a massive scale and build a huge wall of property rights – an effective strategy to block the competition. In their attempt to use patents as a form of protection, Chinese competitors show a certain strategic pattern. Western companies need to take China’s IP offensive very seriously in order to secure their success. Gathering relevant information about their competitors is the most powerful countermeasure.
RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS OF CHINESE PATENTS
China’s innovational capabilities have gained pace. Chinese businesses are no longer limited to copying Western products, but are increasingly becoming innovative and have started to register a growing number of high-quality patents – even abroad.
The Made in China 2025 Plan and the ambitious New Silk Road Initiative boost and accelerate this development towards innovation and globalization. Western companies should take notice of the new challenges and act decisively.
The research and analysis of Chinese patents plays an essential role, as it can yield information on the strategies and tactics of significant competitors within international markets. Here, the quality of patent research is crucial, because only professional and systematic analysis can provide a solid foundation for Western companies to take actions and defend or even strengthen their market position.