Browsing by Subject "commercial law"

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  • Helwegen, Wim (2013)
    Experiences from ICT and biotechnology have shown that the current patent system has increasing difficulties with the numbers and complexity of patent applications. As a result, the patent system, which ultimate goal is to promote technological innovation and to reward the inventors, has been the subject of increasing criticism. Despite being in an early stage of development, nanotechnology is already the subject of a high amount of patents, and as noted by the European Parliament, the current nanotechnology patent landscape is not sufficiently transparent and general reforms of the patent system are needed. Reforming the patent system is a challenging and delicate task that requires a precise study of the various differing interests that need to be balanced. As part of the next generation of enabling technologies, the technological properties of nanotechnology as well as the properties of the nanotechnology industry are a likely and important factor in the debate on the reform of the patent system. Because nanotechnology is one of the most promising and most far reaching technologies of this age, the debate on reforming the patent system would not be complete without taking into regard the effects of the patent system on research and development in nanotechnology. The dissertation studies the patentability of nanotechnology subject matter, the effects of the external patentability requirements on nanotechnology research and development and explores the thresholds for patentability of nanotechnology in the light of the established practice and whether or not this requires exceptions to be made. Given the scarcity of existing studies, case law, and thus, theories, surrounding the patents in the nanotechnology sector, the methodological approach followed in this study will be mainly inductive. The context within which the materials will be discussed consists of developments that have occurred the ICT industry and the biotechnology industry. The study shows that although a technology-specific patent system has obvious advantages in theory, the difficulties in the practical implementation of such a system, as well as the direction of science and technology, indicate that a one-size fits all system is to be preferred. Nevertheless, it is advised to change several aspects of the current system in order to increase the value of patents and the efficiency of the entire system for the public as well as inventors. The study recommends, inter alia, measures to increase the efficiency at the patent office, a redefining of the research exemption and the introduction of a grace period in Europe.