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JIPR Vol.10(5) [September 2005] >


Title: The Nanotechnology Patent ‘Gold Rush’
Authors: Bawa, Raj
Bawa, S R
Maebius, Stephen B
Keywords: Nanotechnology
gold-rush mentality
patent thicket
Issue Date: Sep-2005
Publisher: CSIR
Abstract: During the past decade, a swarm of patent applications pertaining to nanotechnology has been arriving at all the major patent offices of the world, including the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As companies develop products and processes and begin to seek commercial applications for their inventions, securing valid and defensible patent protection will be vital to their long-term survival. In the decades to come, with nanotechnology further maturing and the promised breakthroughs accruing, patents will generate licensing revenue, provide leverage in deals and mergers, and reduce the like-lihood of infringement. Because development of nanotech-related products is extremely research intensive, without the mar-ket exclusivity offered by a US patent, development of these products and their commercial viability in the marketplace will be significantly hampered. In this paper, effects of ‘nanopatent gold rush’ that is underway by ‘patent prospectors’ as start-ups are highlighted whereby corporations compete to lock up broad patents in these critical early days. In fact, the entire US patent system is under greater scrutiny and strain, with the USPTO continuing to struggle with evaluating nanotech-related patent applications. It is unclear whether the nanotech industry will thrive like the information technology (IT) industry or get bogged down like the radio patent deadlock.
Page(s): 426-433
ISSN: 0971-7544
Source:JIPR Vol.10(5) [September 2005]

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