One of the most daunting IP questions raised by clients is how to protect their three-dimensional product. The issue is of particular importance in connection with 3D printing, where the end-result of the process is just that – a three-dimensional product. But here’s the rub: in the absence of patent protection, three-dimensional objects that serve a purely functional purpose are not afforded IP protection. There is hope yet though, for objects that have both functional and non-functional aspects. Perhaps the most intriguing possibility in this regard is what is called a design patent, or an industrial design.

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