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.