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Title: The Patent Regime and Nanotechnology: Issues and Challenges
Authors: Barpujari, Indrani
Keywords: Nanotechnology
intellectual property rights
patentability criteria
Issue Date: May-2010
Publisher: CSIR
Abstract:  The emergent field of nanotechnology (NT) is currently very active worldwide with respect to intellectual property rights (IPR), especially patents, with both developed and developing countries joining in the nano-patents race. With the emergence of any new technology, nanotechnology creates opportunities as well as challenges in adapting the patent regime to its particular context. There is some consensus that patenting NT innovations poses more problems than other technologies, owing to their multi-disciplinary character, cross-sectoral applications, broad claims as well as difficulties in fulfilling the patentability criteria of novelty, non-obviousness and industrial application. This is aggravated by the lack of a standardized terminology which impedes easy identification of nano-patents and also the fact that patent offices may not be well-equipped to handle nanotechnology.  These problems are likely to be compounded for developing and least developed countries, which irrespective of their state of technological advancement, and capacity of the domestic regime, are obliged to confer IPR in the new technology. This paper seeks to examine the challenges which patenting of NT entails for the patent regimes of nations and how these could be addressed. It relies on a study of the patent regimes and case laws of other countries, namely, the United States to draw lessons for India. The low volume of NT patent applications and grants at the Indian Patent Office and lack of Indian case laws on the subject make the discussion anticipatory and suggestive in nature. The paper finally arrives at certain recommendations, to help reconcile the need to incentivize innovation in the new technology, with the imperative of ensuring that the public interest is served and access to the patented knowledge is not hindered. 
Page(s): 206-213
ISSN: 0975-1076 (Online); 0971-7544 (Print)
Source:JIPR Vol.15(3) [May 2010]

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