Allocating Risk and Liability for Defective 3D Printed Products: Product Safety, Negligence or Something New?

2019-10-29T09:36:28Z (GMT) by Jane Nielsen;Lynden Griggs
The traditional relationships and roles of the manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, and consumer are being challenged. The rise of the sharing economy, demonstrated through applications such as Uber, online auctions sites such as eBay, and service advisory facilities such as TripAdvisor, has created a very different, and a somewhat less vertical, capitalist economy than what it was 10 years ago. Perhaps the most significant factor in the shared economy evolution has been the rise of the affordable 3D printer, now available for home use. The consumer can now also be a manufacturer and a retailer. A person can purchase the 3D printer, and through their own skills, or through the purchase or gift of a computer-assisted design file, can now create their own products for personal use or for resale. Law, as it traditionally does, now has to play catch-up to science. Society must ask the question whether the current regulatory regime is suitable, or in need of modification? This paper, in the context of the 3D printer, suggests that the increasing use of this technology requires careful consideration of whether the current law, be it product safety law or negligence, provides adequate protection to consumers.





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