Law Professor Lucas S. Osborn publishes first book on 3D printing

Photo of Professor Lucas Osborn posing in chapel in a dark suit and tie

RALEIGH – Intellectual property (IP) laws were originally drafted for tangible objects. 3D printing technology, which digitizes objects and offers manufacturing capacity to any individual or company, is disrupting these laws and their underlying policies as a result. Campbell Law Professor Lucas S. Osborn’s new book examines these issues raised by 3D printing as it relates to intellectual property (IP) law and the major IP systems worldwide and provides possible solutions.

Published by Cambridge University Press, Osborn’s first book or scholarly monograph, “3D Printing and Intellectual Property,” was released Sept. 5, 2019. The book is available on Amazon

“I’m extremely excited to have this book coming out – it was such a fun and engaging project,” Osborn says. “3D printing technology continues to progress at a rapid pace, and it will bring relentless pressure on intellectual property laws. This book sorts through those pressure points and offers timely, balanced solutions. I’m thankful to Campbell University, Dean Leonard and Cambridge University Press for their support during this project.”

According to Cambridge University Press, “In this timely work, Lucas S. Osborn focuses on the novel issues raised for IP law by 3D printing for the major IP systems around the world. He specifically addresses how patent and design law must wrestle with protecting digital versions of inventions and policing individualized manufacturing, how trademark law must confront the dissociation of design from manufacturing, and how patent and copyright law must be reconciled when digital versions of primarily utilitarian objects are concerned. With an even hand and keen insight, Osborn offers an innovation-centered analysis of and balanced response to the disruption caused by 3D printing that should be read by nonexperts and experts alike.”

Osborn, who also serves as Of Counsel at Michael Best and Friedrich LLP, is an expert in the area of IP law, with a focus on patent law. He has authored more than a dozen articles on intellectual property law, presented his research on three continents, and been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News as well as regional publications. His scholarship is highly cited and appears in the Notre Dame Law Review, U.C. Davis Law Review, Cardozo Law Review, San Diego Law Review and Stanford Technology Law Review.

Following are scholarly reviews of Osborn’s book:

“With great clarity, Lucas S. Osborn skillfully delineates a normative intellectual property discourse operating in a broad social policy context. He proposes a sound, holistic approach to innovation policy making in response to the complexities introduced by 3D printing technologies,” writes Phoebe Li of University of Sussex.

“Lucas S. Osborn is a leading scholar on the implications of 3D printing for intellectual property theory and practice. No other scholar has addressed as wide a range of issues across the many areas of intellectual property, and this book synthesizes years of his careful and thorough work. It’s a must-read for anyone working on issues relating to this cutting-edge technology,” writes Mark P. McKenna of the John P. Murphy Foundation and Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame, Indiana.

“Lucas S. Osborn provides a nuanced conceptual framework to begin any analysis of the interaction between 3D printing and intellectual property law. He also articulates the most precise description I have read of how copyright law interacts with 3D files for useful objects. Highly recommended for anyone searching for a sophisticated accounting of where 3D printing could actually disrupt intellectual property law,” writes Executive Director Michael Weinberg of Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy at New York University.

“Does the uptake of 3D printing challenge prevailing concepts of patentable subject matter and current patentability requirements? Does 3D printing fundamentally alter the scope of rights and the concepts of direct/indirect infringement? Approaching these themes with legal rigor and bold originality, Lucas S. Osborn provides an exciting journey with well-founded answers and invites readers to look beyond the traditional limits of patent law,” writes Geertrui Van Overwalle of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

“Lucas S. Osborn brings important intellectual leadership to the law of 3D printing in this ambitious and groundbreaking study. His comprehensive yet straightforward discussion makes a topic saturated with cutting-edge technology and legal nuance remarkably accessible. An engaging read for lawyers, innovators, and technophiles alike,” writes Daniel Brean of the University of Akron, Ohio and The Webb Law Firm.

“This timely book walks us through the maze of intellectual property law and policy surrounding the digital marvel of 3D printing, and helps us to understand that the future is now. A must-read for technologically curious and forward-thinking lawyers and policymakers as well as designers and artists,” writes Nari Lee of the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki.

“Lucas S. Osborn’s fascinating new book demystifies 3D printing and explains why this technology is having positive disruptive effects in many industry sectors. The future is bright and the technologies are evolving rapidly, but can intellectual property laws quickly adapt to appropriately regulating digital files that can be transformed into physical goods and back again? Osborn explores the myriad mysteries that 3D technologies pose for conventional IP regimes and how those mysteries should be resolved to promote the public good,” writes Pamela Samuelson, Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Information, at the University of California, Berkeley.

“This timely and accessible book examines the myriad legal challenges brought about by the latest disruptive technology. It underscores the importance of doctrinal clarity in intellectual property law while calling for a holistic optimization of innovation incentives. Whether you are familiar with 3D printing or not, this highly recommended book will provoke you to rethink the complex interrelationship between law and technology,” writes Peter K. Yu of Texas A&M University.

Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,200 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2019, Campbell Law is celebrating 40 years of graduating legal leaders and 10 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.




Katherine Manus

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