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"Nano-Aerobics" and the Patent System
Volume 2, Issue 4

M. Henry Heines, Townsend and Townsend and Crew LLP

The use of nano terminology to describe all things small is a recent phenomenon that has been increasingly used by inventors to attract investment and garner industry interest.  At the same time, patents containing nano terminology pose new and interesting challenges for those involved in patent prosecution and classification of new technology.  In this article, M. Henry Heines explains how nano terminology is classified under the new Class 977 in the U.S.  Heines also explains that despite the proliferation of words containing the prefix nano-, in patent applications, using nano terminology often conveys no precise meaning or scope.  When applying for patents in nanotechnology-related inventions, therefore, one is not well advised to simply allow the word nano to speak for itself in terms of scope.  A clear statement of the intended scope of the term, as for all terms that are used in defining the scope of ones invention, will result in a defensible patent with a scope as broad as the prior art will allow.

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