Nanotechnology Poses Intellectual Property Challenges

"The large influx of investment in nanotechnology research should accelerate the availability of commercial nanotechnology applications. Therefore, it is critical to develop intellectual property strategies that allow for fluid transfer of government-funded science to the private sector for commercialization of nanotechnology.26 As with the emergence of any pioneering technology, nanotechnology creates issues and opportunities in perfecting intellectual property rights.

Laws covering products and technology since the Industrial Revolution may not apply to nanotechnology. Can you patent an atomic or molecular structure? How do you protect an atom or molecule-sized device from being illegally copied? How will patent policies evolve and affect the scope of nanotechnology patents? These and other intellectual property questions require resolution in order to make effective and efficient use of nanotechnology innovation.

Today, nanotechnology intellectual property issues focus primarily on patents, with additional issues relating to trade secrets. Some of the current issues and challenges encountered in nanotechnology intellectual property are briefly described" in this note from JOLT. Topics covered include:

Patent Applicability
Balancing Innovative Freedom and Restrictive Intellectual Property
Academic Publication as Premature Disclosure
Procedures for Technology Transfer
Government IP Rights in Funded Research:
Business IP Rights in Funded Research
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Challenges
Foreign Patents
Trade Secret Challenges
Intellectual Property Litigation