Tag Archives: intellectual property

New report: Mass customisation governance

We’re pleased to be able to share the final project report from the feasibility study led by Dr Phoebe Li at University of Sussex. “Mass customisation governance: regulation, liability, and intellectual property of re-distributed manufacturing in 3D bioprinting” describes results of their work undertaken during the 2016 round of 3DP-RDM feasibility studies. The results of this project were presented at the 3DP-RDM event 3D Printing Where and How on 31st January 2017 at the IfM in Cambridge.


Phoebe Li, Alex Faulkner, James Griffin and Nick Medcalf

The feasibility study assesses the impacts of existing legal regimes on re-distributed manufacturing (RDM) in 3D printing (3DP). It investigates the viability of an embedded watermarking system into mass customisation governance of RDM as part of the potential impact of the three most important regimes on 3DP – regulation, liability, and intellectual property (IP) – in order to secure safety, quality control, surveillance, and traceability.

Download the report

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Event: Going for Gold: 3D Printing, Jewellery and the Future of Intellectual Property

Date: Friday 24 March 2017

Time: 10.00am – 5pm

Venue: EB708, Executive Business Centre, Bournemouth University

Register here

Additive Manufacturing or 3D printing as it is more commonly known, continues to push the boundaries of Intellectual Property (IP) law whilst raising questions relating to the protection and exploitation of IP.

This challenge, which extends to the lucrative jewellery sectorraises further questions in relation to creativity, design, copyright and licensing.

This event, which builds on the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) Commissioned Study on 3D Printing and IP law, led by Bournemouth University (BU) during 2013-2014 (reports published in 2015), will explore some of these questions by bringing together experts from the cultural and business sectors including designers, manufacturers, distributors, policy makers and legal professionals.

The event will also provide the platform for a discussion of the ‘Going for Gold’ project carried out by researchers at CIPPM (Bournemouth University) in collaboration with Museotechniki Ltd and Uformia AS.

This multi-disciplinary event will be complemented by an exhibition of 3D printed jewellery artefacts which will be on display at the event.

Register here

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3D Printing Where and How: 3DP-RDM network event – 31st January

What: Final dissemination event of the 3DP-RDM network
Where: IfM, Cambridge
When: 31st January 2017
How: Register your participation on Eventbrite

Following the completion of the second round of 3DP-RDM feasibility studies you are warmly invited to join this dissemination event to hear the final results of these studies. This EPSRC-funded event will feature presentations from the four 3DP-RDM feasibility studies conducted during 2016. Registration for this event is free but tickets are limited. Register your participation on Eventbrite.

Provisional Agenda

12:30  Lunch, registration and networking
13:30  Welcome and introductions
13:45  Overview of 3DP-RDM
14:00  Supporting SMEs in creating value through 3DP-RPM, Dr Peter Dorrington, Cardiff Metropolitan University
14:45  3D Printing Production Planning (3DPPP): reactive manufacturing execution driving re-distributed manufacturing, Dr Martin Baumers, University of Nottingham
15:30  Refreshments and networking
16:00  A feasibility study of mass customisation governance: regulation, liability, and intellectual property of re‐distributed manufacturing in 3D printing, Dr Phoebe Li, University of Sussex
16:45  Driving Innovation in Redistributed Manufacturing: A Comparative Study in the British and Italian Motorsport Valleys, Dr Paolo Aversa, City University, and Dr Sebastiano Massaro, University of Warwick
17:30  Summary
17:45  Close and networking

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Introducing the 3DP-RDM Feasibility Studies: A feasibility study of mass customisation governance

Following the recent feasibility study competition, the 3DP-RDM network is funding four projects in 2016. In this series of blog posts we introduce the four studies. Today we introduce the second study, “A feasibility study of mass customisation governance: regulation, liability, and intellectual property of re-distributed manufacturing in 3D printing”, which is being led by Dr Phoebe Li at the University of Sussex.

Decentralisation, localisation, and democratisation of 3D printing (3DP) technologies provide accessibility and efficiency to customised product development by enabling consumers to take part in re-distributive manufacturing (RDM). Grass-roots open innovation platforms are accelerating the uptake of 3DP and RDM by connecting and transforming consumers into active ‘prosumers’ via project crowdsourcing. Yet in so doing RDM decentralises design and manufacture and localises unprecedented risks throughout the ‘mass customisation’ production chain as well as blurring the lines in standardisation and classification in the regulatory landscape.

In the health sector, RDM disrupts social and legal norms. Stakeholders are facing an undefined, evolving regulatory landscape. The lack of a regulatory framework would delay wide acceptance of 3DP and create barriers to market. A robust regulatory roadmap would reduce unrealistic expectation and hype, provide clear signposts for R&D, secure quality and traceability, and enhance accessibility.

This study aims to map the scope and to identify the main issues arising from ‘mass customisation governance’, taking the health sector as a case study. The feasibility study will assess the impacts of existing legal regimes on RDM in 3DP. This work will define the research agenda needed for RDM in 3DP by interpreting the current and potential impact of regulation, liability, and intellectual property (IP). The research will assess how new governance models might emerge, identify new challenges for regulation, and assess implications for responsible innovation. It will investigate the viability of an embedded watermarking system into mass customisation governance of RDM, in order to secure safety, quality control, surveillance and traceability.

This comparative study will look at the issues in both China and the UK.

This feasibility study will be conducted by fieldwork and documents and regulatory policy analysis. We will conduct five interviews in China and elicit diverse views in a focus group in the UK. Selected interviews in China will provide a comparative study for assessing UK’s global competitive advantage in the field.

This study will be conducted by partners at Sussex Law School and the Centre for Global Health Policy at the University of Sussex, the Law and the Computer Science departments at the Exeter University, the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine at Loughborough University, and 3Dynamic Systems Ltd.

This project is led by Dr Phoebe Li, a Lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex in the UK. Her research interests revolve around the regulation of science and technology, intellectual property (IP), development, and international trade. She is particularly interested in exploring the convergence and divergence of risk regulation and IP in relation to emerging technologies. Her current research interests lie in the regulatory and IP implications of 3D printing and bioprinting technologies, following from an interdisciplinary project on 3D chocolate printing.  In addition to the EPSRC/Cambridge feasibility study, Dr Li is currently working on an international collaborative project on 3D printing licensing in China at the AHRC Centre for Digital Copyright and IP Research in China (funded by AHRC/Newton Fund), and on another project on medical 3D printing and patent policy in China (funded by BILETA). She has been invited to speak on the topic at national and international institutions. She is an Advisor to the 3D Bioprinting Pioneering project for the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA). For further information about this project or to engage in the feasibility study please contact her.

Dr Phoebe Li talking at a recent conference in Changsha, China.

[Images source: Phoebe Li]



Introducing Bit by Bit Visitor Gabriele Montelisciani

Gabriele Montelisciani has just joined the Bit by Bit project as a visitor for the next two months. In this guest post, Gabriele introduces himself and the work that he will do during his visit to Cambridge.

Bit by Bit visitor Gabriele Montelisciani

I’m a PhD student in Management and Industrial Engineering at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, in formal partnership with the University of Pisa. I have a Master’s degree in Management Engineering, with specialisation in the fields of Innovation and Business Processes Management. My research interests include: methods and tools for early stage innovation and creativity; collaborative design; sustainable innovation and development; Internet of Things, and business modeling and entrepreneurship.

I’m part of the team of the organizational team of the University of Pisa’s Technology Transfer program for entrepreneurship education and startups creation called PhDplus. I’m also a founding member of the organization Fablab Pisa, a member of the Pisa Living Lab, and a member of the International Review Committee of the International Conference on Engineering, Technology and Innovation (ICE Conference).

During the two months that I’m visiting the Centre for Technology Management, I will support the “Bit by Bit” project group by investigating the evolution of additive manufacturing technologies and business models for desktop application. I’ll explore how the patent landscape is evolving in relation to open innovation initiatives.

The field of additive manufacturing has rapidly evolved in the last decade. The sector is facing a particular phenomenon whereby the concept of open innovation, carried out by the Makers movement, has arisen in opposition to the protection of innovation (patents), carried out by big players. The consequence is that the patent landscape is changing.

Low cost 3D printing devices have begun to reach individual consumers following the expiry of important patents related to the most common 3D printing technologies (i.e. fused deposition modeling technologies). This phenomenon generated an increased interest from incumbents in this market, and it is of particular interest to investigate how they are planning to protect the actual and future value in terms of intellectual property.

The research methodology I’ll employ during my investigation is based on three main steps:

  1. Analysis of patent databases and data interpretation;
  2. Crosscheck to sector experts to validate the results obtained;
  3. Final reporting.

I welcome any suggestions or comments on this research activity. Please contact me at gm512@cam.ac.uk.

Image source: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/blogs/ipofacto/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/11/topo-map.png