Georgetown Law, Class of 2017
3D printing presents myriad opportunities across many industries to produce goods quickly and efficiently. The biomedical industry in particular presents enormous potential. Companies in the field have already demonstrated that they are capable of using bio-ink to produce biological implants and tissues. In the future, they will likely be able to print fully functional organs.
The benefits of such technology are obvious: those in need of new organs will not have to spend eons on a waiting list until a matching organ is available for transplant; those with weak organs could have specific components repaired or replaced without having to undergo a full transplant or extensive drug therapy; research can be more widespread as access to biological material expands.
The companies pioneering the space in the United States rely heavily on the existing intellectual property (IP) law framework to safeguard their technology. However, there are a number of potential problems that could make it difficult for the existing framework to safeguard the proprietary elements of the technology while still enabling the industry to grow.