USPTO IP and 3D Printing Conference

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. 

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. 

Join us to 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.

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.”

4.0 general Virginia CLEs credits are being offered for this event.

There is no fee to register, but space is limited. 

Legal and Policy Considerations of IP in 3D Printing

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


9:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Introductory Remarks

Russell Slifer, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for IP and Director of the USPTO

9:15 – 9:45 a.m.

Overview of Additive Manufacturing Technology

Speaker: John Hornick, Partner Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P.

9:45 – 10:45 a.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.

10:45 – 11:00 a.m.


11:00 – 12:00 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.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.


1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

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.

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.


2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

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.

3:45 – 4:00 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Shira Perlmutter, Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs


To register to attend the conference in person at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, please visit

The conference may also be viewed via a live video link at one of the USPTO’s regional offices:

Dallas, Texas: To register to attend the conference at the USPTO’s Texas Regional Office in Dallas, please visit (external link)

Detroit, Michigan: To register to attend the conference at the USPTO’s Midwest Regional Office in Detroit, please visit (external link)

Denver, Colorado: To register to attend the conference at the USPTO’s Rock Mountain Regional Office in Denver, please visit (external link)

San Jose, California: To register to attend the conference at the USPTO’s Silicon Valley Office in San Jose, please visit (external link)


For non-press inquiries, please contact Debbie Lee, (571) 272-9300, or email usptogipa@USPTO.GOV.