Not often does a general-purpose technology disrupt numerous markets and significantly affect social welfare. 3D printing is an exception. This technology promises to improve the quality of certain goods and to greatly increase the efficiency of their production processes. More importantly, it holds potential to reshape entire supply chains, including the design, manufacture, assembly, distribution, warehousing, and marketing of some goods, potentially even eliminating some parts of such chains. By changing the Coasean tradeoff, 3D printing also reshapes relationships between market players. This Article reviews the potential disruptive effects of 3D technology, analyzing the ways it impacts market dynamics and social welfare. It then considers the policy and institutional responses that may be required as 3D printing comes into its own, focusing on regulatory tools that foster competition and innovation. Finally, this Article identifies three main regulatory tasks that are affected by the unique characteristics of 3D printing technology.
Michal S. Gal,
3D Challenges: Ensuring Competition and Innovation in 3D Printing,
22 Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/jetlaw/vol22/iss1/1