19 Wake Forest J. Bus. &. Intell. Prop. L. 72
For Trekkies, Earl Grey tea is not just a beverage; it is the signature
drink of perhaps the most beloved character in all of Star Trek. Fans
also instantly associate the tea with one of Star Trek’s most well-known
inventions: the replicator. A replicator could create food and drink
from any rematerialized matter, which “[m]ost people found . . . to taste
exactly the same as ‘real’ food.” While creating food out of thin air is
still relegated to science fiction, its concept is no longer a mere fantasy.
Just as many concepts invented for Star Trek have now become a
normal part of everyday life, it is only a matter of time before the
replicator will become a household item as commonplace as the
washing machine. However, in this universe we will not know it as a
replicator; it will be known as the 3D printer.