This Note presents an analysis of how those engaged in three-dimensional (3D) printing may be treated under the products liability doctrine. While 3D printing has the potential to dramatically change the manufacturing process of nearly every good on the consumer market, the unique manufacturing process alone will not automatically bar recovery for every plaintiff injured by an object manufactured using a 3D printer. Courts have not yet defined the scope of liability for actors engaged in creating objects using 3D printers, but an injured plaintiff will have numerous avenues to recovery thanks to the flexibility of the products liability doctrine. Due to the complexities of this new manufacturing process, a case-by-case analysis is required to determine the extent to which any actor may be strictly liable or negligent. While there may be some short-term gaps in relief, large-scale consumer products companies have and will continue to enter the marketplace and bring with them more traditional manufacturing and distribution processes that courts already understand. Their participation will only increase the chances that a plaintiff will successfully prevail on a theory of strict liability. While some injuries may go uncompensated during this evolution, courts should not rush to expand the doctrine.
Three-Dimensional Printing and a Laissez-Faire Attitude Towards the Evolution of the Products Liability Doctrine,
68 Fla. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/flr/vol68/iss4/6