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November 19th, 2007

Nanotechnology Facing Patent Labyrinth

Nanotechnology is advancing at a dizzying rate, but profitable commercialization is being hindered by looming legal issues, as uneven worldwide patent enforcement is forcing companies to resort to trade secrets to protect their hard-won nanotechnology innovations.

A panel of industry experts at the recent NanoCon International conference in Santa Clara, Calif., considered several hurdles — ranging from legal considerations to scalability and cost — facing nanomaterials manufacturing.

"For nanotech to become a true industry, it must consistently deliver application-tailored quality material in sufficiently large qualities — whether kilogram or kiloton," said Dave Arthur, CEO of SouthWest Nanotechnologies (SWeNT, Norman, Okla.). "Many potential customers won't begin product development unless they know that we'll be able to provide material at those kinds of scales."


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