Next Tech Area To Be Hindered By Patents: Nanotech... And Much Of It Is Funded With Your Tax Dollars

from the step-on-up dept

As with any "hot" technology area, it doesn't take long for a massive, innovation hindering patent thicket to spring up. It effectively makes it impossible to bring anything to market unless you've got a huge patent portfolio yourself and deep pockets. Yet another example of patents harming the smaller players in the market. A new report is suggesting that the latest "hot" area to get patent crazy is nanotechnology.

However, the really worrying thing about the report is that it notes that the single largest "patent patron" in nanotechnology... is the federal government. Yes, the government is spending your tax dollars to have these new inventions locked up so you can't use them. We've discussed this before, and no one has yet been able to credibly explain why federally funded research should get a patent. Years back, it was determined that federal documents could not be covered by copyright for this reason, but why doesn't that extend to patents? It's especially disturbing because it's clear what's going to happen. Our tax dollars pay for the research, and then it's transferred over to a private company who uses the monopoly rights to keep it expensive and limit further innovation.

Filed Under: federal funding, nanotech, patents

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  1. identicon
    coldbrew, 17 Feb 2011 @ 11:56am

    RE: NREL

    I know that here in Colorado, the National Renewable Energy Labs' plan is to license the IP developed to private corporations to commercialize so they can fund their continued research. I know of a couple companies that have already licensed some, and are working to bring it to market (I know this b/c I know an investor involved with 2 of the companies).

    I doubt they have a plan to license tech to patent trolls, though it obviously could happen. I can find out if these licenses are exclusive, but I don't believe they are (IIRC).

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