Nanotech Patent Trap

Scientists fret over storage of spent nuclear fuel in pools

2 min read

Nanotechnology start-ups live and die by the value of their intellectual property, but in many cases the value of a company's patents may depend on whether a customer can use the patent without fear of being sued. A recent analysis of U.S. nanotechnology patents by the New York City investment research firm Lux Research Inc. and the law firm Foley & Lardner LLP, in Washington, D.C., reveals that nanotech innovators face a messy situation [see "table"].

There are several hot spots of activity centering on five principal nanotechnology platforms: carbon nanotubes, quantum dots, fullerenes, nanowires, and dendrimers. By examining more than 1000 patents in these areas, the analysts generated two metrics for each technology platform in fields such as energy, electronics, and medicine. The first, which they call white space, is a measure of how crowded with patents an area is. The second, entanglement, is a measure of how likely one patent is to overlap with another.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

Keep Reading ↓Show less