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Nanotechnology Inventions

The US National Science Foundation uses the term nanotechnology to describe a system with the following key properties 

·        At least one dimension of about one to 100 nanometres.

·        Designed using processes which exhibit control over the physical and chemical attributes of molecular scale structures.

·        Can be combined to form larger structures.

Inventions in Nanotechnology

In a fast-moving field such as nanotechnology, new developments which are potentially protectable are made every day. Such developments include:

·        Composition of Matter

·        Methods of Synthesis of Matter

·        Device structures

·        Methods of Fabrication of Devices

·        Test Equipment & Methods

For more information on patent protection for each type of development, then click on the corresponding entry.

In deciding whether it is worth trying to protect an invention, the inventor needs to decide whether a competitor is likely to be able to, or want to, copy the invention. For example, new compositions of matter, such as new compounds or new additives in existing compounds, are often worth protecting since it is easy to determine whether a competitor is selling a similar composition. The protection extends to the composition itself, even if the competitor is using the matter for another purpose. Similarly the sale of products incorporating a novel device structures, such as a new type of transistor or a micromolecular machine, can easily be detected.

On the other hand the copying of a new method for the synthesis of matter may be harder to detect unless the method leaves a “signature” in the end product. Likewise, it is often difficult to determine which method, such as lithography or nanoprinting, has been used in the fabrication of devices.

Scope of Protection

The claims of the patent define the scope of protection of the patent. Depending on the claims of the patent, the owner has protection not only against direct copiers of the invention but also against others who are exploiting similar inventions, as long as these fall within the terms of the claims.


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