Printing the World to Our Liking…!?


RWTH Alumni themed event in Munich with patent lawyer Alexander Schmitz of Maiwalt Patent- und Rechtsanwalts GmbH, Ralf Deuke of Creabis GmbH and Stefanie Marek of Schreibkonzepte Schreib- und Kommunikationsberatung.

  Items printed on a 3D-printer Copyright: © Ralf Deuke 3D-printed items to "touch and take in": Ralf Deuke of Creabis GmbH offers a selection of 3D-printed objects.

The event drew 30 participants to the Maiwald law offices, situated high above the roofs of Munich on the ninth floor. The participants were first welcomed by the organizer of the event Stefanie Marek. Alexander Schmitz and Ralf Deuke then offered interesting insights into the world of 3D-printing along with many tangible examples.

"How does 3D-printing even work and what is different from regular manufacturing processes?", was the question host Alexander Schmitz put to his guests at the beginning of the event. After that, Ralf Deuke showed various examples – having collected much experience over the years as a 3D-printing service contractor – from eyeglass frames to switch elements and from heels for ladies' shoes to ergonomically individually tailored controlling modules or finally the cutting-edge inventions designed by Munich start-up companies. In conclusion, Alexander Schmitz explained how the creators of new inventions will be caught in a conflict of interest in the future. On the one hand, companies want to quickly show a strong presence on the market, but on the other, they also want to be able to gain a profit through their intellectual property.

Then it was time to open the topic for discussion: The alumni showed themselves to be very interested in the subject matter and had numerous questions, which were enthusiastically answered by both the speakers. Questions about technical aspects were asked just as much as questions about patent law. Thus, it can be said that the mix of topics for the themed event was well-balanced and the evening a resounding success.

  Two men sitting at a table in a restaurant Copyright: © Stefanie Marek Reviewing a successfull themed event: The speakers of the evening Ralf Deuke (left) and Alexander Schmitz share their experiences on the topic of 3D-printing with 30 RWTH Alumni.

The bottom line is: 3D-printing is becoming more and more a part of our lives. Just as regular copy shops line the streets of every city now, there will most certainly be "3D-copy shops" in the future, in which private clients can have products printed on the basis of their own files. Within the scope of industry 4.0, 3D-printing is already on track to replace traditional logistics storage, instead offering clients the option of placing individual orders even on short notice. Guaranteeing product quality, also with respect to liability claims, while also safeguarding proprietary rights – those are the challenges of the future if a product doesn't originate in a factory anymore but in an electronic file istead.

Inspired by many new insights, the participants of the event finally enjoyed a joint meal with the group at the Park-Café restaurant. Cooked, not printed – but certainly in 3D. The common ties to RWTH Aachen University made for stimulating conversation, new contacts, and interesting new perspectives beyond one's own area of expertise. Many thanks goes to Eva Rabe from the RWTH Aachen alumni team for providing organizational support!

Further plans were already forged for visits to companies or themed events. If you have any ideas or proposals for future visits or events, please contact the alumni team.

Text: Stefanie Marek

Maiwald Patent- und Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbh is one of the largest law offices in Germany that deals with industrial property protection and they are particularly involved in the areas of life sciences and engineering. RWTH alumnus Alexander Schmitz is one of the executive partners.

Creabis GmbH, located in Kirchheim near Munich, is a 3D-printing service contractor, providing prototypes and small-batch series products to a manner of different branches, ranging from automotive to lifestyle. Physicist and RWTH alumnus Ralf Deuke is the founder and CEO.

Stefanie Marek offers training and coaching in writing skills – in German – for professionals and managers, as well as expertise in other communication topics through her business Schreib- und Kommunikationsberatung Schreibkonzepte.