Nanotechnology as a patent category

The New York Times (registration required) is reporting in Tiny Ideas Coming of Age that "nanotechnology" is now a legitimate patent category (Class 977).

The problem is that the definition "one dimension of an invention be less than 100 nanometers" is so general that its questionable whether or not it will be useful (for example all drug molecules fall into this category). And then of course there is the quote, "a number of overlapping patents have already been issued".

Is this an improvement or just one more sign that in a world as complex as ours currently is the patent system is fundamentally flawed?

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