A patent for Nanotech Security Corp

The Nov. 5, 2012 news item on Nanowerk is a bit confusing (to me, a neophyte) in regard to which enterprise actually holds the patent,

The patent (USA Patent No. 8,253,536B2) names the Company’s Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Bozena Kaminska and its Chief Technology Officer, Clint Landrock as co-inventors. The patent covers a number of core aspects of Nanotech’s technology including claims for the use of optically efficient nano-hole arrays as security features. The patent also claims the use of nano-scale structures that are smaller than a wavelength of light in conjunction with printable electronic components such as electronic displays, batteries and solar cells. Originally filed in early 2009, the patent has been assigned to Simon Fraser University where it is exclusively sub-licensed to Nanotech pending its transfer to a Nanotech affiliate upon completion of its Advance Royalty obligations schedule to complete next year.

If I understand this rightly, Nanotech Security Corporation which is licencing the patent from Simon Fraser University (SFU) will be passing the licence on to a spinoff or affiliate company in 2013 while the parent corporation continues to develop other technologies for commercialization. SFU not Nanotech Security Corporation nor any proposed affiliate holds the patent rights.

In the company’s November 5, 2012  news release (which orignated the news item), they refer to USA Patent No. 8,253,536B2 as a parent-patent and here is what SFU and/or Nanotech Security Corporation claimed in this patent,

The patent encompasses the structure, design and manufacturing process for NTS’s security technology, NOtES®, which deploys a controlled array of extremely tiny holes that can be quickly imprinted in large numbers directly onto virtually any surface, creating a vibrant, crisp, ultra high definition image. This highly sophisticated authentication feature replicates nano-scale (billionth of a meter) light-reflective structures similar to those found in nature, for example on the iridescent wings of certain butterflies.

Mr. Blakeway [Doug Blakeway, CEO and Chairman] added, “This parent patent is at the foundation for not only further uses and new designs in the security and authentication space, but branches out to many other applications involving nano-optics with extremely high optical efficiency – including solar cell technologies. [emphases mine] We believe that nano-optic technology is in its infancy, and has huge potential for growth.”

I wonder what SFU and Nanotech Security Corporation are planning to do with their new patent. I hope it won’t be used in an attempt to kill competition. There’s at least one other Canadian company  (Opalux mentioned in my Jan. 31, 2011 posting) which works with optically efficient nano-hole arrays and at least one team in the UK (mentioned in my May 20, 2011 posting) also working in this area.

As for my concern, it’s widely acknowledged internationally that the patent systems are causing problems as per a sample of my previous postings on patents, copyright, and/or intellectual property,

UN’s International Telecommunications Union holds patent summit in Geneva on Oct. 10, 2012

Billions lost to patent trolls; US White House asks for comments on intellectual property (IP) enforcement; and more on IP

Patents as weapons and obstacles

I’m not arguing against the underlying intent for patents and copyright. The laws were designed to stimulate invention and innovation by insuring that the creators were compensated for their efforts.  Sadly, that intent has been lost and today we have situations where research and creativity are stifled due to ‘copyright and patent thickets’.

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