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.