a nanopatent takes longer than a nanosecond

In a press release, Lux Research called attention to their report on “Nanotech IP Battles Worth Fighting” that suggests there may be a problem with filing your next nanopatent.  The press release indicates there is an issuance stall in the USPTO regarding nanopatents with a wait time of about four years while the rate of new applications has grown by 52% (this sounds very familiar).  Based on those figures, Lux Research states that “overlapping claims” may have initiated the stall.  They reviewed 2,738 patents as well as industry considerations, and gave a glimpse at some of their conclusions:

  • Carbon nanotube and quantum dot applications in electronics, where many crowded and vulnerable patents indicate a high likelihood of legal wrangling, are battles worth fighting. The large addressable markets relevant to these nanomaterials justify the cost of navigating the unfavorable patent outlook.
  • In healthcare/cosmetics applications nanomaterials with crowded or vulnerable patent landscapes like dendrimers, ceramic nanoparticles, and metal nanoparticles represent battles worth fighting because of the broad applicability of these materials to a number of large addressable markets.
  • Hidden opportunities - characterized by a favorable patent outlook and large market potential - occur in energy applications of ceramic nanoparticles like high-performance cathodes in the $48 billion battery market, and in electronics applications of nanowires which could keep Moore's Law going in the next decade.

Unfortunately, only clients get to see the entire report and in the press release they did not hint at which nanotechnologies represent “a low opportunity to payoff.”  Pretty sneaky…