W&M IN THE WORLD
Alumnus Matteo Capponi shares his groundbreaking 3-D printing BY MEGHAN HARRISON J.D. ’22
oom conversations have become the new normal during the pandemic. One silver lining of virtual chats is the ability for students to connect with William & Mary alumni overseas. On September 29, William & Mary Law School’s Student Intellectual Property Society and International Law Society sat down with Matteo Capponi over Zoom. A member of the Law School’s LL.M. Class of 2016, Capponi currently works in Italy. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to co-found CubePit, a 3-D printing company, with his friend Massimo Biasetti. Capponi is versed in the law and Biasetti is an engineer, so forming their company was the perfect melding of science and the law. Enthusiastic and genuine, Capponi engaged with students and professors to discuss his work and the impact COVID-19 has had on intellectual property internationally, specifically in Italy. Capponi shared the hardships that Italy experienced due to COVID-19, including the shortage of ventilator parts. With the original manufacturers unable to meet the demand for these life-saving devices, 3-D printing was a natural answer. Italian 3-D printing companies were able to provide hospitals with the resources they desperately needed, even though they did not hold the patents for these devices. Capponi described that while manufacturing patented replacement parts would typically be considered infringement under Italian law, the emergency circumstances justified production by other companies under the doctrine of necessity. Capponi also highlighted that as the field of 3-D printing continues to grow, there will be regulatory issues that occur .
For example, there was no regulatory structure in place to ensure that the 3-D printed ventilator replacement parts met regulatory standards. The emergency required good faith on the part of all the parties involved. It was refreshing to hear Capponi’s candid comments about the benefits and drawbacks of his field. He easily explained the complexities of 3-D printing and the legal issues that he encounters. One of his current projects involves 3-D printing models of the ancient Roman part of his city, Brescia. They have already completed the main temple and square in front of it. The local art museum will use those models to better explain what the city was like in the past as they meet with Italian school students. On Zoom, Capponi captivated the law students with his candor and fascinating experiences. He later said, “Seeing all the students’ faces on the online meeting was an interesting experience that I would have never expected when I was a student only four years ago. I was very happy to again be part of William & Mary, and this tragic situation can strengthen the links between the Law School and the international alumni.” He is one of many incredible William & Mary Law School alumni that speak with students on a regular basis. As a student, it is a privilege to learn from so many brilliant, hardworking, and entrepreneurial citizen lawyers. Their work to create a better world inspires and encourages us to be the next generation of difference makers. Top Left: Matteo Capponi; Top Right: Capponi’s 3-D model of the Capitolium in Brescia. Courtesy photos