U.S.-based inventors lead world in nanotechnology patents - study

Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:58pm IST

Related Topics



REUTERS - Inventors based in the United States led the world in nanotechnology patent applications and grants in 2012, according to a new study by law firm McDermott Will & Emory.

Nanotechnology involves manipulating matter that's measured at the tiny "nanometer" length level. The diameter of a human hair is between 40,000 and 60,000 nanometers, said Valerie Moore, a patent agent and one of the authors of the study.

Nanotechnology patents come into play in everything from aerospace to medicine to energy, the study noted. For example, the technology can be used to incorporate antibacterial material into wound dressings, to increase the strength of car parts while decreasing their weight, and to enhance paint colors.

U.S.-based inventors accounted for 54 percent of the nanotechnology patent applications and grants reviewed in the study, followed by South Korea with 7.8 percent, Japan with 7.1 percent, Germany with 6.2 percent and China with 4.9 percent.

The study also looked at the geographic location of the owner of the nanotechnology patents and proposed patents. If an inventor works in the Silicon Valley office of South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co, for instance, the U.S. is home to the invention, but the South Korean employer might own the patent.

McDermott's intellectual property practice includes more than 200 attorneys and patent agents, and is one of the top ten law firms for nanotech patent and applications filings, according to information provided by the firm.

McDermott partner Carey Jordan noted that the percentage of patents issued to U.S.-based entities is not quite as high as the 54 percent of nanopatents with U.S.-based inventors. About 45 percent of the nanotechnology patents in the study were assigned to U.S.-based entities.

The study examined published U.S. patent applications, patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, and published international patent applications that had the term "nano" in the claims, title, or abstract. Nanopatent applications were included to best quantify innovation occurring in nanotech, the study's authors said.

The number of nanotechnology patents has grown continuously since the early 2000s, the study said. Between 2007 and 2012 the total number of U.S. patent applications, U.S. granted patents and published international patent applications grew from about 14,250 to almost 18,900.

The United States, the European Union, as well as Japan and South Korea, have increased funding for nanotechnology education and research since 2000, the study said.

Computer and electronics companies garnered the most patents, with International Business Machines Corp and Samsung topping the list. The fields of chemistry and biological sciences, which include medicine and agriculture, were next in terms of the number of nanotechnology patents.

Other leaders in technology patent innovation include the University of California, Xerox Corp (XRX.N), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and 3M Co(MMM.N).

(Reporting By Erin Geiger Smith; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared


A view of Microsoft and Nokia signs in Peltola, Oulu July 16, 2014. Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it would cut up to 18,000 jobs, or about 14 percent of its workforce, as it halves the size of its recent Nokia acquisition and trims down other operations. REUTERS/Markku Ruottinen/Lehtikuva

Opera's Mini browser to be installed on Microsoft phones

Norwegian software maker Opera signed a deal to take over the browser building unit of Microsoft's Nokia mobile phone unit and reported second-quarter earnings above expectations, sending it shares sharply higher.  Full Article 

Reuters Showcase

Silicon Valley Women

Silicon Valley Women

Despite lip service, Silicon Valley venture capital still a man’s world   Full Article 

Cyber Attacks

Cyber Attacks

U.S. government's nuclear watchdog victim of cyber attacks - report  Full Article 

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

Online video stars mobilize for U.S. net neutrality  Full Article 

'Heartbleed' Bug

'Heartbleed' Bug

U.S. hospital breach biggest yet to exploit Heartbleed bug - expert  Full Article 

Deal Talk

Deal Talk

Infineon agrees to buy Int'l Rectifier for $3 bln in cash  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage