Protecting Your Nanotechnology Inventions - Part 1: Defining Your Space

June 21, 2018
Post by Jonathan L. Kennedy

In a recent post, I discussed the increasing focus on nanotechnology research including the growing number of patents issued and government funding in nanotechnology research. Obtaining the strongest and broadest protection for your nanotechnology should be a focus of any research and intellectual property (IP) strategy. There are things that can be done during research to support stronger and broader protection for your technology. Over a series of blog posts, I will address different considerations that you can implement to support your IP strategy. This week, the focus is on the broader topic of defining your space.

Defining Your Space

There are multiple ways that you can define your space. Regardless of whether your plan is to offer products and/or services, license your IP, or sell your IP to another company, defining your space is a critical part of monetizing your technology. Having a clearly defined understanding of your technical and commercial goals, how those fit in the competitive market, and how you can carve out a protected portion of the market, will provide a framework for your intellectual property strategy. It can help make informed decisions as to patenting versus keeping trade secrets. It can influence the breadth of your patent claims and patent disclosure.

First, you should be able to articulate your intended market segment. Is your endgame selling end-products, selling a component used in an end-product, manufacturing for others, or selling your technology and its associated IP rights to another company?

Second, consider not only what your current and expected future products and services are, but also the broader uses of your technology. How can your innovation be used beyond what your end goal is? If you are interested in making a component useful in LED technology, can it also be useful in other electronics? Can it be useful outside of electronics?

Third, you should consider what part of the competitive landscape you can carve out based on your innovation. How can competitors seek to work-around your technology? And how can you protect from those work-arounds? Can you protect not just your product, but commercial methods that use your product?

With the answers to these questions in mind, the next blog post in this series will focus on Defining Your Nanotechnology Invention.

Jonathan Kennedy is an Intellectual Property Attorney in the Biotechnology & Chemical Patent Practice Group at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information please visit or contact Jonathan directly via email at

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