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How to Cope with the Expiration of Early Nanotechnology Patents
Volume 8, Issue 3

Douglas Sharrott and Sachin Gupta

Nearly twenty years after the issuance of the first nanomaterial patents, many of these foundational patents are nearing expiration, even though the commercial embodiments of these patents are still in their infancy. The authors analyze the implications of the expiration of early nanotechnology patents, looking at carbon nanotubes as a representative nanomaterial. While current patent laws allow for patent term extensions, the opportunities for patent holders to avail themselves of these additional protections are limited. A better strategy is to file continuous applications for improvements on the original patented nanomaterials, to extend patent protection over the eventual commercial products based on the improved nanomaterials.

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