This issue of NanoNews-Now covers Nanotechnology Patents via an article on Intellectual Property by Jack Uldrich, President of The NanoVeritas Group, and author of the award-winning bestseller The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business.

In a second piece, Editor Rocky Rawstern interviews Bruce Kisliuk of the USPTO.

And in a third piece, Rocky Rawstern interviews Al AuYeung of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt.

Select quotes:

Jack Uldrich, President The NanoVeritas Group

Assessing a company's technology - and the intellectual property behind it - is among the most difficult and time consuming tasks an individual investor can endeavor to undertake. In a field like nanotechnology, it is extremely difficult.

Nanotechnology, by its very nature, is incredibly complex and requires a broad base of scientific knowledge. Specifically, it requires a deep understanding of many different fields of science-biology, physics, chemistry, material sciences, and the computational sciences. For the average investor (and even most professional investment advisors), assessing nanotechnology-related intellectual property is beyond their skill set.
Jack Uldrich, President of The NanoVeritas Group.


NN: What issues do companies need to be most aware of as they contemplate applying for a nanotech-related patent? Are these issues any different from those that need to be considered when applying for non-nano patents?

Most issues are the same from the stand-point of prosecution. The patent statutes are "technology neutral," so the laws and rules apply the same regardless of the technology.
Bruce Kisliuk, Group Director in Technology Center 1600, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)


Al AuYeung - Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt

NN: What substantial differences exist between the U.S. patenting process and that of other countries?

The biggest difference has always been that much of the world is on a first-to-file and absolute novelty system, whereas the U.S. has a first-to-invent system and one year grace period for publication. The former refers to the fact that in most of the world, whoever gets to the patent office first, assuming the item is patentable, will be awarded the patent, even if someone else invented it first. That is not the case in the U.S., which has an interference practice that allows later filers, but first inventors, the opportunity to challenge the first filer.
Al AuYeung, attorney and shareholder with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt