In every industry are individuals who effectively need no introduction; among those names in 3D printing is John Hornick. An intellectual property lawyer and prolific speaker, as well as now a published author with a successful work — he’s literally written the book on the topic — Hornick is a font of wisdom and advice on several fronts in the 3D printing world. We’ve seen him speak before, most recently at October’s Inside 3D Printing event in Santa Clara, and as he gears up for his 124th (!) presentation to an audience about 3D printing, I’ve had the opportunity to catch up with just A Few Questions For him before he jets off to speak at Inside 3D Printing Paris, which is taking place for the first time in the City of Lights May 24-26th, with the details looking to be very promising.
Presenting on a ‘Flipped Session’ panel alongside Tyler Benster of Asimov Ventures and Yang Yihu of ESUN, as well as presenting a keynote entitled ‘3D Printing Will Rock the World‘ (which you may recognize as the title of his book), Hornick will be speaking on any number of 3D printing-related topics in these sessions — and, in the former, the topics will be up to the audience gathered, as they will guide the conversation.
Can you fill us in on your background as it pertains to 3D printing?
As an intellectual property lawyer, I handle our clients’ IP issues involving 3D printing. Some clients make 3D printers, some make materials, some make software. Others either use the technology or are concerned about how it may affect them. We build strong IP portfolios, especially patents, write contracts, and advise clients on all kinds of 3D printing IP issues.
How did you come to be involved so thoroughly at the intersection of IP and 3D printing?
Several years ago a friend sent me a video of a machine printing a wrench. I thought it was a joke, but saw that if it was real, it was important. I sent the video to some friends, one of whom was the chief architect for Johns Hopkins Hospital. He said, “The doctors here are doing this to print human organs. It will take a few years, but it’s real.” At that point I knew the technology was important. I started reading articles, which said that 3D printing presents a lot of IP issues, but they never said what they are. I committed to figure out the issues, and have. I realized my firm had been doing work in this area for many years, but it was called “rapid prototyping” then. So I formalized our practice in this area and formed our 3D Printing Working Group, which is about 30 IP attorneys who handle 3D printing and bioprinting IP issues for our clients.
Your book, 3D Printing Will Rock the World, was released in December; what has been the reception so far, as it has impacted you?
The book is selling very well. It has received many great 5 star ratings on Amazon, won a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association, and 4.5 stars from IndieReader. The book has led to a lot more speaking and writing requests, and more clients.
What do you hope attendees will gather from their experience at Inside 3D Printing Paris?
To learn about the technology and its disruptive potential for industry of all types, and for personal life.
We’ve previously heard you speak about IP and 3D printing; in Paris, your focus will turn more toward your book. How did having published your book change your approach to speaking engagements?
The book has allowed me to speak more generally about the benefits and potential effects of 3D printing, which go far beyond IP and the law.
The summary for your session notes that you will speak on 3D printing’s “potential future impact on business and personal life, manufacturing, the law and crime, and, basically, life as we know it” — certainly ambitious for a 45-minute discussion. How will you approach this vast amount of potential influence?
I take a 30,000 foot view, use a lot of images, and distill a lot of information into an exciting, entertaining, and fast-paced presentation. It will be the 124th time I have spoken to an audience about 3D printing.
On which single area do you see 3D printing having the biggest impact in the next year? 5 years? 10 years?
In the near term, aerospace, healthcare, and the military will see the biggest effects. In 5 years, most industry will be affected, especially parts-based businesses. Over those 5 years, companies from outside the 3D printing industry will enter it, like HP, Toshiba, Canon, and Xerox. Over the next 10 years, industrial and consumer 3D printing technology will move closer together. 10 years from now, most homes will have a 3D printer. It may be a general purpose machine or it may be a purpose-built machine that has a particular, limited function.
You are also on a panel hosting a Flipped Session, in which the audience will guide questions to a panel of experts; what sorts of questions do you think you can anticipate? What do you hope people will want to address?
How will 3D printing affect the law, and vice versa?
Will IP laws get stronger or weaker?
Will new laws be enacted?
How can I protect my technology?
What are you personally most looking forward to at Inside 3D Printing Paris?
To hear what’s new.
Taking a wider view at how 3D printing will impact the world, Hornick’s sessions at Inside 3D Printing Paris certainly cross barriers and promise to engage those gathered. If you’d like to be among them, there’s still time to register — and remember that 3DPrint.com readers can save 10% by using discount code ‘3DPRINT’ at registration. Hornick’s book can be found on Amazon, and he is engaged on Twitter sharing his thoughts on 3D printing at @JHornick3D1Stop.
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