Key patent strategies for nanotechnology inventors – Nanowerk LLC
Nanowerk Spotlight) At its simplest, a country’s patent system provides for the disclosure of information about inventions. To obtain a patent, an inventor must ‘teach’ the public how to make and use the invention in the best way the inventor knows. Thus, the patent system rewards only those inventors who are willing to share with the whole world by granting them exclusive ownership of their innovation.
But complex technical and scientific issues means complex intellectual property (IP) issues. This especially is the case with nanotechnologies, which are not easy to classify (see: Nanotechnology and intellectual property issues). Taking the example of bionanotechnology and nanomedicine, the chapter “Patenting Inventions in Bionanotechnology: A Guide for Scientists and Lawyers” in the recent book Bionanotechnology: Global Prospects discusses the importance of securing valid and defensible patent protection for any player interested in bionanotechnology commercialization.
In the various fields of nanotechnology, early efforts to secure patents on key discoveries has led to a nanotechnology patent land rush which, instead of clarifying the legal issues, has contributed to a considerable confusion about legal rights. This has been further complicated by the issuance of overlapping and overly broad patents, especially by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
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