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3D Printing News Unpeeled: No You Can’t 3D Print a Ferrari and Clear Aligners Clearance

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LuxCreo got FDA Class II 510(k) clearance for directly 3D printed clear dental aligners. They hope to do same day aligners in perhaps two hours. They say that the direct aligners are more accurate and have quoted a dentist saying that he saved 60% in labor costs over thermoformed aligners. This may be a major disruption to the 1.5 million vat polymerization made thermoforming inserts that are used each day by Invisalign, Smile Direct and competitors. But, will firms switch? Perhaps not. It will lead to dentist, orthotists and more being able to compete with Invisalign.

In Europe you can not 3D scan and 3D print a Ferrari. Reverse engineering is normal business practice for a lot of people. And we’re seeing an emerging market for MRO and 3D printed spare parts. But the Alicante EUTM Appellate Court has ruled that 3D scanning and 3D printing a Ferrari 488 GTB is both copyright and trade mark infringement. It is from now on not possible to do this kind of thing in the EU. The ruling is remarkable and also will have a lot of unintended consequences. Many people are 3D printing out of production parts of bankrupt companies, will this be allowed or not? In another twist the case concerned a user 3D scanning and 3D printing a bodywork component on a 488 GTB and putting it on another Ferrari, this was deemed a derivative work.

The court stated that,

“…the vehicle in question is one of the icons of the motoring world, known not only for the technique behind its speed on the track or circuit, but, in particular, for the beauty of the characteristic shapes of the brand reflected in, inter alia, the vehicle used by the defendant as the object to be transformed”.

and went on to say,

“level of creativity that lends itself completely to being viewed aesthetically, irrespective of its functional purpose”.

Does this mean that an uglier or more boring car is not protected? This is a strange ruling with huge implications for us.

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