Makerspaces and the Law

Remaking the Maker Movement

QUT Faculty of Business and Law

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Z1064, Gibson Room, Level 10, Z Block

QUT Gardens Point Campus

Session 4 — Makerspaces and the Law (3:00 pm — 4:00 pm)

3:00–3:20 pm

The Role and Patent Infringement Liability of Fab Labs and Community Makerspaces in COVID-19 Response

Dr Muhammad Zaheer Abbas, QUT


The rapid spread of COVID-19 created an unprecedented demand for critical medical equipment. 3D printing is uniquely well-positioned to support the shortage of critical medical devices in a health emergency by enabling customization and printing of devices in a timely and cost-effective manner. Makerspaces for 3D printing play a key role in community-driven distributed manufacturing by providing enabling ecosystem for active engagement of the informal Maker community. Makerspaces, also called hacker spaces or Maker labs, are places that are equipped with tools, materials, and software that allow users or members to make and innovate things alongside each other by learning and sharing their projects. A Fab Lab is a kind of Makerspace that follows a charter and is governed by a foundation. Makerspaces enjoy the flexibility to rethink and reshape their services and resources in the light of changing societal needs in a health emergency. This study identifies and documents the invaluable contributions of Makerspaces for 3D printing as enablers of both localized supply-chains and problem-solving innovation in response to COVID-19. In community Makerspaces, users can potentially infringe on other’s patent rights by using the enabling ecosystem for 3D printing. This study provides a perspective of the contributory patent infringement liability challenges faced by community Makerspaces. This study is important because the sustainability of the Maker response during this and future pandemics relies heavily on smoothly functioning community Makerspaces.


Dr. Muhammad Zaheer Abbas is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Faculty of Business and Law, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia. In this role, he is working with Professor Matthew Rimmer on his Australian Research Council Discovery Project ‘Inventing the Future: Intellectual Property and 3D Printing’. He recently completed PhD in Law at QUT as a recipient of QUT Postgraduate Research Award. He studied Law at International Islamic University (IIU), Islamabad, Pakistan, and obtained LLB (Hons) with distinction in 2010. He also obtained LLM in International Law, with distinction, from the same university in 2012. He served as a Lecturer in Law at Faculty of Law, IIU, and has nearly 10 years of teaching and/ or research experience. He also served as Associate Editor of ‘Islamabad Law Review’, a peer reviewed open access research journal of IIU. He has published 18 peer-reviewed research papers, mostly related to intellectual property protection and the public interest. His notable research publications include:

In 2014, Dr. Abbas got an opportunity to attend the “Winter Institute” held at the College of William & Mary, Virginia, and Georgetown University, Washington D.C. In 2018, he attended the ‘15th WTO-WIPO Colloquium for Teachers of Intellectual Property’ held at Geneva, Switzerland. In the same year, he attended the ‘Fifth Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest’ held at American University Washington College of Law, Washington D.C. In 2020, he presented his research findings at the virtual ‘Intellectual Property Scholars Conference’ organized by Stanford University, California, USA.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­3:20pm-3:40 pm

Homo Deus: The Promise of Legal Imagination for New Technologies in Innovative Industries

Dr Anne Matthew, QUT


Harari has argued that the most ingenious human invention was the greatest figment of legal imagination: the company. As we know, the company is simply a device — an artificial legal person whose easy creation was made possible by legislators the better part of 200 years ago. Since then, Harari argues, legal imagination has stalled; scientific imagination has not. This presentation takes up this gauntlet thrown down by Harari. Thinking differently and creatively may be a necessity if humanity is to stand a chance to keep a step ahead of the legal policy problems arising amidst the rapid technological advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence, the creative use of algorithms and the rich and expansive datasets that serve as platforms for their training and behaviour. This presentation outlines the earliest stages of a collaborative research project (Guihot, Rimmer, Matthew, Arnold, Dootson) exploring the innovation law and policy challenges arising with robotics in innovative industries. This presentation will canvas the possibilities that may be afforded by the creation of a new legal fiction to better cope with the technological reality in which we find ourselves.


Dr Anne Matthew is a Senior Lecturer at QUT Law School, a Consultant at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Lawyers, and Chair of the Expert Advisory Group on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) National Coordination Committee, Australia.

Anne studies how regulation can create an enabling environment for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, including particularly their access to finance. Anne’s research focuses on companies, particularly those engaged in innovation and entrepreneurship, including in particular start-ups in innovative industries. Anne also uses corporate law and innovation economics as a lens to develop solutions for policy problems arising with innovative industries. Innovation, entrepreneurship, and risk-taking play a pivotal role in economic growth and should be encouraged in a modern economy. Anne’s PhD thesis considered how to best position the legal environment created by corporate law to encourage these phenomena, particularly among start-up ventures. Her thesis explored this question by examining select elements of Australian corporate law through the lens of innovation economics, and broke new ground in doing so. Anne’s thesis was recently awarded QUT’s Outstanding Thesis Award. Anne’s forthcoming publications include a monograph, Risk, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Corporate Law (Routledge, 2021).

Anne teaches postgraduate and undergraduate programs in international commercial arbitration, international commercial law and finance, innovation law, corporate law and the mitigation of risks arising with emerging technologies including artificial intelligence and robots.

3:40 pm — 4:00 pm

Automating Cities: Welcome to the Machine Metropolis

Brydon Timothy Wang, QUT


From 3D-printed houses, the integration of industrial robots in on-site construction processes, to the large-scale assemblages of floating platforms to create hybrid floating cities, and FAB Labs, we are witnessing the phenomenal impact that automation processes have in mechanising and digitising our way of life and the design, construction and operation of our cities. How will our governance frameworks and the law respond to these automation processes — both in the mechanisation and digitising of cities — is a question that is explored in the newly published edited collection, Automating Cities: Design, Construction, Operation and Future Impact (Springer). This seminar presentation by the lead editor summarises the learnings presented in the book — both the cutting edge technologies and their impact on society.


Brydon is a Lecturer with the QUT School of Law and is a technology and construction lawyer passionate about smart city technology, infrastructure delivery and new ways people can come together to live, work and play. He has a previous career in architecture and was recently lead editor on the recently published book Automating Cities (Springer). Prior to coming to the law, Brydon was a Project Manager with the Public Transport Authority (WA) and worked as a Contracts Administrator in a number of leading commercial construction firms. Brydon has also taught at the Master of Architecture and Master of Data Science programmes at the University of Queensland. He is currently researching the legal implications of trustworthy automated decision-making systems, particularly machine superintendence in construction contracts.

Session 4 — Makerspaces and the Law (3:00 pm — 4:00 pm)

Dr Muhammed Zaheer Abbas, ‘The Role and Patent Infringement Liability of Fab Labs and Community Makerspaces in COVID-19 Response’, Remaking the Maker Movement, QUT Faculty of Business and Law, 3 February 2021,

Dr Anne Matthew, ‘Homo Deus: The Promise of Legal Imagination for New Technologies in Innovative Industries’, Remaking the Maker Movement, QUT Faculty of Business and Law, 3 February 2021,

Brydon Timothy Wang, ‘Automating Cities: Welcome to the Machine Metropolis’, Remaking the Maker Movement, QUT Faculty of Business and Law, 3 February 2021,



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Matthew Rimmer

Professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation Law, QUT. #Copyright #Patent #Trademark #plainpacks #Access2meds #SDGs #Climate #IndigenousIP #trade #TPP