How The Nanotech Patent Thicket Problem May Stifle Innovation

from the fun-for-everyone dept

cheesedog writes “In an article titled, “The Patent Land Grab in Nanotechnology Continues Unabated – Creating Problems Down the Road, Dr. Raj Bawa outlines the problem with the fact that over 5000 patents have now been granted over nanotech and nanomedicine, despite the fact that no products have really made it to the marketplace yet: “Patent thickets are considered to discourage and stifle innovation” says Bawa. “Claims in such patent thickets have been characterized as often broad, overlapping and conflicting — a scenario ripe for massive patent litigation battles in the future.” According to Bawa, nanomedicine start-ups may soon find themselves in patent disputes with large, established companies, as well as between themselves. In most of the patent battles the larger entity with the deeper pockets will rule the day even if the innovators are on the other side.” No doubt that there are some breakthroughs being made — but it sounds like the situation is going to get quite messy, very quickly. When it reaches the point that it becomes difficult to do any research at all without considering the patent consequences, we’re harming scientific research — which is the exact opposite of what the patent system is supposed to be doing.

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Comments on “How The Nanotech Patent Thicket Problem May Stifle Innovation”

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iegeek says:

Better a patent then ‘Copyright’

Better a patent then ‘Copyright’. Some vaulted circles are pushing copyright law as the way forward! Protecting their interests could prove much more stifling and long reaching to future innovation… There must be a better balance between stimulating genuine research, and safeguarding our future from these tech speculators?

Jyotheendra says:

Another obstacle in research


How can we patent basic ideas in some abstract technology

like nanotech most of which is on paper ,without any concrete products,what if companies go on to patent ideas in femtotech and picotech both non existent ,,,

then any one who comes up with any thing concrete is called a patent violator

its like patenting discoveries ….

remember some one in australia who tried to patent the wheel


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Another obstacle in research

Simple, we go back to the way it was. Patents only used to apply to physical inventions (i.e. prototypes). No prototype, no patent.

This would get rid of process patents and many software patents, since the general practice is patent first, implement later. This would require implementation first, the protect a unique and innovative product. Hey, if two companies develop nearly the same thing at the same time and attempt to patent, the concept is obviously obvious. Let them compete instead of getting their monopoly.

JH says:

Necessary Evil?!

Patents are not evil, the company using them can be – a patent is simply a way for a company that has taken the risk (read costs) for R&D to have some form of recouping that risk through patent licensing – patenting has been done for many, many years by companies like Kodak, HP, IBM (IBM also being a huge risk investor in the Linux community) to protect / recoup costs they’ve invested.

Clearly some company abuse patents (read NTP) – but I don’t see the open-source community or others heavily investing time, money in patentable innovations and giving those innovative methods (paper or prototype) away with no means to recoup the associated risk / cost.

My 2 cents.

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