Foley’s 2013 Water IP Report Reveals What’s Hot in Water Technology

Foley’s Green Energy Technologies (GET) team has released its latest annual analysis of the water technology landscape titled “2013 Water Technology U.S. Patent Landscape Annual Report.”

The analysis includes a review of U.S. water patent activity, specific technologies receiving patent protection, entities obtaining these patents, possible areas of patentable white space, and potential licensing availability for corporate entities. In this analysis, the patents issued in the U.S. between 2010 and 2012 were reviewed among five different water technology categories:

  • Purification
  • Desalination
  • Metering
  • Irrigation
  • Groundwater

Why Study the Draft 2014 National Nanotech Initiative Strategic Plan?

The NNI has just released its 2014 draft Strategic Plan for public comment. Aside from the opportunity to submit comments, becoming familiar with the plan offers a number of benefits to nanotech ventures. One is that it provides a useful overview of the agencies involved, which can make it easier to identify potential soures of government funding. It is easy to get lost in government alphabet soup, but this document explains the roles of various agencies and shows their areas of focus. For example, the report provides a link to “Nanotech Signature Initiatives” (NSI’s), which are a high priority from the government’s perspective for development. These areas include nanoscale solar energy collection and conversion, sustainable nanomanufacturing, and nanoelectronics. More info about NSI’s is found here. Another benefit of reviewing the plan is that it provides case studies of successful commercialization of nanotechnology. Insights from a number of different studies is provided in appendices near the end of the plan.

Quantum Dots Enter Mainstream Mobile Device Market

Last month, Amazon released Kindle Fire HDX 7 — the first ever mobile device to feature a quantum-dot-enhanced display.

The 7” display includes a Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF) produced by 3M in collaboration with Nanosys, Inc.  Compared to conventional LED-LCD display, the QDEF essentially replaces the YAG phosphor of the white LED backlight and functions as a high-efficiency photoluminescent emitter.  The QDEF includes quantum dots of different sizes, which would emit different colors when excited due to quantum confinement effect.  More detail of the QDEF can be found via the link below.

It is noted that the quantum-dot-enhanced display of Kindle Fire HDX 7 does not utilize the electroluminescent property of quantum dots, and thus is not actually a quantum dot light emitting diode (QLED).  Nevertheless, it could signal the beginning of the mass commercialization of quantum dots technology in the consumer electronics market.

China to Introduce Intellectual Property Court

China announced its boldest plan in 30 years to overhaul a multitude of economic and social policies, with the release of “The Decision on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms” on November 15, 2013.

Within this 21,000-word economic roadmap, one announcement caught my attention:

We will strengthen the utilization and protection of intellectual property rights, improve mechanisms for encouraging technological innovation, and explore ways to establish an intellectual property court.

Although a general deadline of 2020 is set by the Chinese government for achieving “decisive results” of the sweeping changes laid out in this comprehensive economic roadmap, it is believed that the establishment of the intellectual property court will occur well before that.  The introduction of such specialized court, which could be similar to the Federal Circuit in the US, is expected to significantly improve the enforcement of intellectual property rights in China.

NanoBusiness Panel on Patents Featuring View From the US Patent Office

At a recent nanotech conference hosted by the NanoBusiness Commercialization Association, we received an update on nanotech patent trends from Jerry Lorengo, a Group Director with the US Patent Office. Jerry provided a great overview of the latest patent trends in Class 977, the particular area defined as nanotechnology by the US Patent Office:

“Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter), where unique phenomena enable novel applications… At this level, the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials differ in fundamental and valuable ways from the properties of individual atoms and molecules or bulk matter.” Continue reading this entry