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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?

2 Responses to “Nanotechnology as a patent category”

  1. Metzen Says:

    Innocent Bystander

    As an innocent bystander, I have to agree that the current patent system is so flawed as to be a bad joke.

    I repeatedly have to resist the temptation to patent "an octagon shaped device used to control the flow of traffic". Then I could license the technology back to the U.S. Government for only $1.00 per stop sign and reap windfall profits. The irony is they'd probably pay it…

  2. Signifier Says:

    My God, my God

    One of my most persistent nightmares it that real molecular nanotechnology, when it comes into existence, will somehow be 'patented'. One company or group will be the only ones who legally can use their produced technologies… the result will be chaos, perhaps the end of the world. Or atleast expensive products and slowed progress. This news, specifically, certainly won't help me sleep at night.

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