The University of Exeter and IBM
  • Solving Legal Disputes around 3D Printing with AI

    Dr Kyriaki Noussia and Dr James Griffin, two researchers from the University of Exeter’s Law School, are currently collaborating with IBM on a project at the cutting-edge of law and technology research. The “3D Printing and AI: Arbitration and Mediation” project – funded by the Economic and Social Research Council through the University’s Impact Accelerator Account – deals with disputes arising from 3D printing.

    3D printing is becoming an increasingly important way of redistributing the manufacture and use of products, with application to several areas of society. In the near future, world trade may transform from distributing products, to instead distributing digitalized product designs. If (or perhaps when) this happens, manufacturing and distribution will become de-globalized, and placed much closer to consumers – at which point, legal disputes are likely to increase.

    Given this challenge, the project – which combines IBM’s expertise in computing, AI and blockchain with Lux Mediation’s strengths in Dispute Resolution – proposes an online system that will digitally collect evidence of legal disputes, through a digital watermark, and enable the quick resolution of these disputes.

    By attaching a digital watermark – composed of data within a digital file, data on the surface of the 3D printed object, and data within the structure of the 3D print – it will become possible to track and trace content associated with 3D prints, which can then be used as evidence in legal disputes.

    Working with the researchers, IBM’s John McNamara is co-authoring two papers to be published in peer-reviewed journals on the topic of intellectual property and technology law, discussing the increasing convergence between technology and law, and how the new processes and claims for 3D, 4D, augmented and virtual reality products.