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When it comes to the world of 3D printing, businesses that can benefit from the new technology need to be cognizant of the liabilities, which can be numerous. Like nearly every other business, 3D printers might be best served by contracting around those liabilities.
For instance, a company that is only engaged in printing objects according to their customer's design may want to require their customers to sign indemnification agreements before commencing to print. That's because a manufacturer could face exposure to liability for injuries caused by items or products manufactured in their facility, even if the manufacturer had nothing to do with the design.
Printer Liability: Indemnity Required
If you're in the business of 3D printing, you may want to carefully look over your service agreements. Despite not being involved in the design, distribution, or sale, a manufacturer can still be held liable if a product they make causes injury to a consumer or third party. Even though you may not view your business as a 3D printer as being the same thing as being a manufacturer, under the law, there's no difference.
Manufacturers can pretty much be liable just like anyone else in the chain of commerce. From raw material suppliers to final retailers, each entity can face product liability lawsuits. While preventing a consumer or third party from hailing any entity involved in the production or distribution into court may be impossible, what can be avoided is having to pay the damages yourself. Requiring clients to sign indemnity agreements, which will hold your 3D printing operation harmless in the event of third party litigation, is just smart business.
Printing Liability: Beware of Indemnity Agreements
If you're hiring a third party to 3D print for you, you need to be really wary of indemnity agreements. In addition to covering the damages for any liability, you may also have to cover the costs of a legal defense. That means that if you and your printer are sued, not only could you be responsible for paying all the damages, but you will also be responsible for paying for your own attorney and your printer's attorney.