This study is divided into two parts: Part one deals with the technology and legal background of the study while the second part covers the empirical study based on the selected sample of nanotechnology patent applications from India.
Part one of the study:
Nanotechnology has been identified as an important upcoming technology by WIPO. As a relatively new technology, developments are happening rapidly in this area. Nanotechnology includes designing, characterization, production and application of structures, devices and systems by controlling shape and size at the nanometre scale. This intervention happening at nanometre level results in unique properties exhibited by various materials, such as, structural and morphological properties, thermal properties, electromagnetic properties, optical properties and mechanical properties. Top to down and bottom-up fabrication techniques are used to manufacture such nanomaterials. These nanomaterials have a wide variety of applications varying from medicine to electronics.
The U.S and EU are two important countries standing at the forefront of nanotechnology research and development. The existing patentability requirements (novelty, inventive step and non-patentable subject matter) of these countries are compared with that of India. Furthermore, it is examined how nanotechnology patents have been treated under those requirements analysing existing court decisions as well as patent office appellate board decisions.
Part two of the study:
This part includes the comparative analysis of patent office decisions by India with corresponding USPTO and EPO decisions. For this study, a patent search is conducted and nanomedicines was identified as the most prominent area with the highest number of patent applications at the Indian patent office. Following, a sample of patents have been identified that were either granted or rejected in India while a corresponding patent application was made at the USPTO and EPO. Their respective decisions and examination reports are analysed and compared.