USPTO IP and 3D Printing Conference at Silicon Valley

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will host a public conference on the legal and policy considerations of intellectual property (IP) in 3D printing on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.  Please join the Silicon Valley USPTO in San Jose to participate remotely in the conference and hear some of the leading voices in the field of IP and 3D printing discuss IP law and policy in the context of this rapidly-evolving technology.

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital model. 3D printing is used in the fields of jewelry, footwear, architecture, engineering and construction, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, education, geographic information systems, civil engineering, and many others. 

Speakers include Paul Banwatt, COO and general counsel at Matter and Form and main contributor for the 3D printing law blog “Law in the Making,” John Hornick, a partner in Finnegan IP and author of “3D Printing Will Rock the World,” and Michael Weinberg, general counsel at Shapeways and author of “It Will Be Awesome If They Don’t Screw It Up: 3D Printing, Intellectual Property, and the Fight Over the Next Great Disruptive Technology.”

Two hours of California MCLE credit will be offered, pending approval.  The event is free and open to the public with limited space, please register here by June 27, 2016.

Please note that the Silicon Valley USPTO is a federal facility.  Visitors are required to present a valid form of government-issued identification (driver license or passport) and may be subject to security screening to gain access.


Silicon Valley USPTO Agenda
9:30 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. (PT)


9:15 – 9:30 a.m.

9:30 – 9:45 a.m.
Introductory Remarks
Russell Slifer, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for IP and Deputy Director of the USPTO

9:45 – 10:15 a.m.
Overview of Additive Manufacturing Technology
Speaker: - John Hornick, Partner Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P.

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. (Interactive)
The Intersection of Trademark Law and 3D Printing
Moderator:  Debbie Lee

  • Paul Banwatt, COO and General Counsel, Matter and Form, Inc.
  • John Hornick, Partner, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P.
  • Jonathan Moskin, Partner, Foley & Lardner L.L.P.

This panel will discuss how the emergence of 3D printing technology might require owners of three-dimensional trademarks to rethink their strategies for enforcing their rights online and explore whether parties who post design files of protected trademarks online without authorization may be liable for contributory infringement.

11:30 – 11:45 a.m.

11:45 – 12:45 p.m. (Interactive)
Applying Copyright to the 3D Printing World
Moderator:  David Carson

  • Darrell Mottley, Shareholder, Banner & Witcoff
  • Ira Schwartz, Partner Parker Schwartz, P.L.L.C.
  • Michael Weinberg, General Counsel, Shapeways

This panel will explore the role of copyright law in the 3D printing world by considering several questions, including: whether and how the useful article doctrine affects copyright protection in the 3D printing world; whether the making of an object via 3D printing would infringe the copyright in the relevant CAD file if that file was not used in the creation of the object, or if a new CAD file is created through  reverse engineering; and, in the 3D printing world, for copyright protection to attach, how much of a role must humans (rather than machines) play in the design and creation of an article.

12:45 – 1:00 p.m.
Shira Perlmutter, Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs

1:00 – 1:45 p.m.
Lunch Break

1:45 – 2:45 p.m.
Protecting Innovation in the 3D Printing World
Moderator: Pete Mehravari

  • Timothy R. Holbrook, Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law
  • Lucas S. Osborn, Professor of Law, Director of Campbell Law School’s Intellectual Property Law Program
  • William J. Cass, Partner, Co-Chair Litigation Department, Cantor Colburn
  • Daniel H. Brean, Shareholder, The Webb Law Firm

With the advent of 3D printing, patent rights are at a greater risk of infringement by a wider class of infringers. This Panel will explore the challenges of identifying patent infringers in the 3D printing world, and discuss potential liability for such infringers under the doctrines of induced and contributory infringement.

2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
Special Concerns for Creators of Industrial Designs in a 3D Printing Environment
Moderator:  David Gerk

  • John Cheek, Deputy Chief IP Counsel, Caterpillar Inc.
  • Elizabeth Ferrill, Partner, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P.

As manufacturing technologies improve, knock-offs will be easy for anyone to make. Online CAD files call into question the ability of designers to adequately protect and enforce their design rights. This session will focus on the unique challenges and opportunities for protecting designs in a 3D printing environment, including whether a CAD file would qualify as a “product” for purposes of infringement.