English Garden or Tangled Grounds? Navigating the Nanotechnology Patent Landscape
Douglas J. Sylvester
Arizona State University - College of Law
Diana Megan Bowman
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Public Health
January 12, 2010
The patent landscape, like a garden, can tell you much about its designers and users; their motivations, biases and general interests. And while both patent landscapes and gardens may appear to the casual observer as refined and ordered, an in depth exploration of the terrain is likely to reveal unforeseen challenges including, for example, alien species, thickets and trolls. As this article illustrates, patent landscapes are dynamic and have been forced to continually evolve in response to technological innovation. Emerging technologies, such as biotechnology and information communication technology, have challenged the traditional patent landscape, the overarching framework and design has largely remained intact. But will this always be the case?
The aim of this article is to highlight how nanotechnology is challenging the existing structures and underlying foundation of the patent landscape and the implications thereof for the technology, industry and the public more generally. The article concludes by asking the question whether the patent landscape will be able to withstand the ubiquitous nature of the technology, or whether nanotechnology will be a catalyst for governments and policy makers to overhaul the current landscape design. In the end, we suggest that nanotechnology may be the final push for cross-national harmonization of patent laws and administration.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: patents, intellectual property, nanotechnology, biotechnology, licensing, infringement, harmonizationworking papers series
Date posted: January 13, 2010 ; Last revised: January 2, 2013
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