3D printing: a recipe for business success and increased IP management


Gemma McGeough and Josh Miller

3D printing: a recipe for business success and increased IP management

d3damon / iStockphoto.com

A surge in European patent applications in 3D printing or additing manufacturing (AM) may bode well for economies hit hard by COVID-19, but also requires an increased focus on the IP needs of innovative businesses, argue Gemma McGeough and Josh Miller of Withers & Rogers.

A report, “Patents and additive manufacturing – Trends in 3D printing technologies”, published by the European Patent Office (EPO) on 13 July shows a significant rise in the volume of additive manufacturing (AM) patent applications over the past decade. The UK has been revealed to be the second largest European contributor to AM innovation, accounting for 5% of all AM patent applications at the EPO.

The volume of AM patent applications filed by European businesses grew annually by an average of 36% during the period between 2015 and 2018. This is ten times more than all other applications filed at the EPO during the same period. Why is this the case? 

One factor could be that a number of key 3D printing patents lapsed between 2010 and 2015, leading to an opening that generated more interest in this field of research and development (R&D). It is clear that AM has huge potential as an area of innovation, offering benefits to businesses in a range of industry sectors, including high-value manufacturers producing bespoke parts in limited numbers.  

3D printing, technology, patent, businesses, COVID-19, manufacturing, European, AM, construction, patents, emergency, IP