Penn State College of Engineering adds course on legal issues in Additive Manufacturing

August 4, 2019

August 4, 2019

Penn State College of Engineering, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA, has introduced a course that will tackle legal issues surrounding Additive Manufacturing. The course, which the university believes is the first of its kind, will form part of the Penn State Additive Manufacturing and Design (AMD) graduate programme, and is titled ‘AMD 597 Legal Issues in Additive Manufacturing.’

According to the college, the new course aims to prepare students to be thought leaders and technical experts by exploring intellectual property implications in Additive Manufacturing. Timothy W Simpson, Paul Morrow Professor of Engineering Design and Manufacturing and director of the AMD programme, stated, “Additive manufacturing is disrupting product design and how we manufacture parts. It’s also disrupting how we protect our intellectual property. Most engineers are not prepared to think about the impact this will have on how their company will deliver new products and services with AM.”

Traditionally, Simpson added, engineers have not needed to be well versed in the complex legalities of contracts, nondisclosure agreements and intellectual property, but “the implications of Additive Manufacturing require them to carefully consider intellectual property in every aspect of their business models. This course demystifies the legalese and how AM is changing the traditional paradigms to protect our intellectual property.”

The new course will run for the first time in Summer 2019, taught by Daniel R Cahoy, Professor of Business Law. It will reportedly fuse new interdisciplinary collaborations with Penn State Law and the Smeal College of Business. The course aims to provide students with an understanding of:

  • The fundamentals of creating valid legal contracts and engaging in secrecy agreements and licensing
  • How patents and trade secrets support innovation in Additive Manufacturing, and how to interpret patent claims and documents
  • How to incorporate product liability law into the design of products and processes
  • How to create enforceable trademarks and form a valuable brand
  • How copyrights and design patents protect creative content in Additive Manufacturing
  • How to identify obligations to apply cybersecurity and protect privacy rights

Christopher Higgins, Partner and Co-leader of the 3D Printing Group at the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, helped Cahoy develop and teach the course. Higgins commented, “Legal issues, especially intellectual property, are at the forefront of many Additive Manufacturing companies’ concerns. As an engineer, having an understanding of legal issues that may arise in AM can make you an invaluable asset to a company. It is a skill set that most engineers do not have when exiting school, which makes this course a unique opportunity at Penn State.”

August 4, 2019

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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