2012 is well underway with class 977 nanotech patent publications continuing to issue at high rates. We have noted the explosive growth of 977 nanotech patenting many times previously. To date in 2012, 219 patent publications have published in the 977 patent class, which projects early on to about 2,850 patent publications for the year. While it is too early to project meaningfully for all of 2012, if this pace continues, 2012 will be another year of high rate of nanotech filings and may eclipse last year’s record number (3,439).
The role of government in innovation is a hot topic these days. Of these class 977 patent publications, 33 (15%) appear to have the federal funding contract clause. A total of 40 grants are referred to in the clauses. Defense leads the way with funding of 13 of these grants (33%). In number two slot was the NSF (12); in number three slot was NIH (9); and pulling up the rear was, surprisingly, Energy with only 6.
The defense funding was broken up among Air Force (5), DARPA (3), Navy (3), and Army (2). With cuts in defense spending in the news, time will tell if these numbers can be maintained.
Justin Fox recently wrote a provocative book, The Myth of the Rational Market (2009). I could not help but consider cleantech and nanotech investing as I read this book, including the IPO market for 2011 which we all hope will be an improvement over the past several years. In his book, Fox looks at the history of finance theory, tackling questions academics have dug into over the decades such as "How was a corporation to decide if an investment was worth pursuing?" Other subjects include index funds and how these finance theories relate to the real world of investing, including bubbles. The gist is that quite possibly the markets are not rational, and shrewd investors can indeed beat the market (e.g., looking for stocks listing at prices below their intrinsic values). In our experience, shrewd (above average) analysis of intellectual property issues can be one source of potentially beating the market.
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The long awaited Fluidigm Corp. IPO is pricing at $13.50 according to a news report dated February 10, 2011. Fluidigm commercializes microfluidics, which is an important element of nanotechnology and life sciences.
A recent S-1A statement from Fluidigm is also provided (Form S-1/A filed February 7, 2011).
As of today, in another recent high tech IPO, the Neophotonics stock is trading significantly up at $18.57 (see our prior post on Neophotonics).
These are exciting, interesting times for those who follow commercialization of advanced technology, as the IPO market attempts to revitalize in 2011, while at the same time, the proper mix of private and public investment in high technology is ascertained with a new Republican Congress. What and who will make the money? If there is now a commercial success, is there government investment in the history contributing to the success?