It’s not hard to imagine a time in the not-too-distant future when physicians start using 3-D printing technology to produce tools for their robotic surgery systems that are based on existing copyrighted models but customized to address patient-specific needs. But what happens when the copyright holders of those existing models start attributing depressed bottom lines to unauthorized 3‑D printing?

Jesse Camacho and I published an article in Industry Week addressing the issue of how copyright holders could push back to regain control over their intellectual property. In our analysis, we looked all the way back to the 1970s when another nascent technology—the Betamax video tape recorder—was making waves. Though the article does not specifically address 3-D printing in the surgical robotics context, the legal principles described therein are universally applicable. The article can be found here.