I gave a talk yesterday before the Institute of CLE for the Michigan Bar on ‘The Law of Shapes To Come.’ The arrival of affordable desktop scanners and 3d printers will allow near-perfect reproduction of 3D objects. The technology affords great opportunities, but will also challenge intellectual property rights (as did prior technologies such as the photocopiers, VCRs, software and MP3s). My talk surveyed the existing theories for protecting ‘shapes,’ and discussed a particular puzzle: to what extent can trade dress protect shapes which are in (or have fallen into) the public domain (specifically shapes that were the subject of expired design patents or copyrights)? Attached is my slide deck, which constitutes a visual outline of my talk.
If you are planning a CLE event (or wedding or bar mitzvah), I would be happy to discuss this subject and bring my dog and ponies.