Navigating the patent landscapes for nanotechnology: English gardens or tangled grounds?
Sylvester, Douglas J
Bowman, Diana M
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 2011; 726: 359-78
The patent landscape, like a garden, can tell you much about its designers and users: their motivations, biases, and general interests. 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 chapter illustrates, patent landscapes are dynamic and have been forced to continually evolve in response to technological innovation. While emerging technologies such as biotechnology and information communication technology have challenged the traditional patent landscape, the overarching framework and design have largely remained intact. But will this always be the case? The aim of this chapter 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 public more generally. The chapter concludes by asking the question whether the current 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 for overhauling the current landscape design.
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