Just Because It’s Nanoscale, Doesn’t Mean It’s Not a Big Deal

March 09, 2018
Post by Jonathan L. Kennedy

Nanotechnology has been taking innovation by storm for decades now and its only increasing its footprint. This is reflected in the growing number of granted patents and published applications directed to nanotechnology inventions. For example, according to StatNano (an organization that monitors and publishing information regarding nanotechnology global developments), more than 20,000 granted patents and patent applications were published by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2017 directed to nanotechnology.  These numbers have only been growing. For example, the number of patents granted and applications published by both the USPTO and European Patent Office (EPO) grew from the year 2016 to the year 2017 grew.

The impact of nanotechnology can also be seen in the accomplishments that nanotech innovations provide.  For example, nanotechnology has been used to improve composite materials making them stronger, lighter, and impact resistant.  This has benefited aricraft, motor vehicles, boats, and even safety equipment that atheletes, workers, and public servants wear.  Similarly, nanotechnology is at the core of improved electronics such as smart phones and TVs, and energy storage systems including battery technology.

The significance of nanotechnology can also be reflected in the amount of grant money awarded to nanotechnology research.  For example, it is reported that the U.S., through state and federal grants, awarded $1.72 billion in 2013 and $1.67 billion in 2014 to nanotechnology research.  In 2001, the U.S. federal government created an R&D initiative, theNational Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), which spans 20 federal departments and agencies.  The NNI partners with research groups, industry, agencies, and universities and has awarded more than $25 billion in research funding since its 2001 inception, including more than $1 billion in funding through SBIR grants.

Thus, even though technology on the nanoscale is small we can expect to see its growth and impact all around us.  If you are in the nanotechnology space, you should certainly consider what intellectual property protections can be used to guard your innovation and grow your business.

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