Research says nano cosmetic patents are worth battling for

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Personal care Nanotechnology

Latest research suggests that patents for nanotechnology
applications within the cosmetic industry are worth pursuing in
view of the wide-ranging potential they hold.

According to Lux Research, US companies, universities and government entities are racing to explore and develop new applications for nanotechnologies, including a broad spectrum of uses for personal care products.

As nanotechnology is proving to be increasingly popular for a host of cosmetic application this meant that many of the patent categories relating to the industry are becoming crowded.

The research finds that specific nanotech applications relating to the cosmetic industry - including dendirmers, cermic nanoparticles and metal nanoparticles - will be worth battling over as these will address a large number of key applications.

These nano materials have been developed for a wide range of delivery vehicles in active ingredients that have so far focused on sunscreen and anti-aging products, but as research develops, the applications could be far more wide-reaching.

The report finds that bodies developing nanotechnologies are racing to patent their discoveries in droves, with a total of 4,996 nanotech patents registered during the course of 2005.

This represents a growth rate of 4 per cent on the previous year, but a slow down on the previous few years, where growth has represented in excess of 20 per cent.

But closer inspection of the figures shows that public patent applications for nanotechnology has grown by 52 per cent to 2,714 outstanding nanotech patent applications.

According to the report this represents a bottleneck as the right to patent nanotech applications is being limited by crowded patent domains, where many overlapping claim have pushed up the pendency rate.

With all this patenting activities, legal battles over the rights to intellectual property have begun. But, according the Lux report, which was produced in collaboration with corporate legal consultants Foley & Lardner, and entitled Nanotech IP Battles Worth Fighting, indicates that personal care is one of the specific industry areas where patenting is worth pursuing.

Researchers came to this conclusion following careful study of all data relating to nanotech patents related to the market potential for each application.

Evidently frantic patenting activity in the personal care segment indicates that the few areas that are left unpatented will probably represent hard fought battles, but ones that will be worth fighting for.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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