Former patent examiner concerned about nanotech patent thicket

From Newswire Today: Raj Bawa, a former patent examiner and now biotech consultant and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, writes in the journal Nanomedicine on his concerns about the growing nanotech “patent thicket” and its negative impact on innovation:

“According to Dr. Raj Bawa, author of a recent paper titled ‘Will the nanomedicine “patent land grab” thwart commercialization?’ published online on Dec. 19, 2005 in Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, the critical role of patents to the nanomedicine ‘revolution’ cannot be underestimated…

“In some areas, this situation has led to what is known as ‘patent thicket’ – an overlapping set of patent rights requiring those seeking to commercialize new technology obtain licensees from multiple patentees. According to Bawa, such a classic patent thicket seems to be developing in the area of carbon nanotubes. The race for nanotech patents has not only produced overlapping patents, but has produced a flood of ‘unduly broad’ nanopatents.

” ‘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.” (Credit: Instapundit)

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