With the emergence of any new technology, nanotechnology creates opportunities as well as challenges in adapting the patent regime to its particular context. There is some consensus that patenting nanotechnology innovations poses more problems than other technologies, owing to their multi-disciplinary character, cross-sectoral applications, broad claims as well as difficulties in fulfilling the patentability criteria. This is aggravated by the lack of a standardized terminology which impedes easy identification of nano-patents and also the fact that patent offices may not be well-equipped to handle nanotechnology. These problems are likely to be compounded for developing and least developed countries, which irrespective of their state of technological advancement, and capacity of the domestic regime, are obliged to confer IPR in the new technology.
In order to keep a desired level of in depth analysis this work will only contemplate the TRIPS Agreement. The paper finally arrives at certain recommendations, to help reconcile the need to incentivize innovation in the new technology, with the imperative of ensuring that the public interest is served and access to the patented knowledge is not hindered.
Keywords: Nanotechnology, Intellectual Property Law, TRIPS Agreement, patentability Criteria, Challenges of patentability, Solutions.