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Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues
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Nanotechnology Law: The Legal Issues

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- Application of Canadian laws to nanoscience …

- Application of Canadian laws to nanoscience
- Intellectual Property (IP) protection
- Challenges faced by nanotech creators
- Other legal and public policy issues
- Liability risks
- Need for legislative change

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  • 1. N anotechnology Law: The Legal Issues from a Canadian Perspective Lisa K. Abe NNI Nanotechnology Innovation Summit December 9-10, 2010
  • 2. Introduction <ul><li>Application of Canadian laws to nanoscience </li></ul><ul><li>Intellectual Property (IP) protection </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges faced by nanotech creators </li></ul><ul><li>Other legal and public policy issues </li></ul><ul><li>Liability risks </li></ul><ul><li>Need for legislative change </li></ul>
  • 3. Intellectual Property protection <ul><li>Patents </li></ul><ul><li>Copyrights </li></ul><ul><li>Industrial Designs </li></ul><ul><li>Trade Secrets </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated Circuit Topographies </li></ul>
  • 4. Patents <ul><li>Recent trends </li></ul><ul><li>Can you patent an atomic or molecular structure? </li></ul><ul><li>What the requirements and challenges? </li></ul><ul><li>Tips </li></ul>
  • 5. Recent trends <ul><li>1997-2002 nanotech patents in the US grew by 600% </li></ul><ul><li>As of Dec. 2003, approximately 7,000 nanotech patents </li></ul><ul><li>New patent class 977 has 490 new patents (18 months ago) </li></ul><ul><li>Similar situation as with first biotech patents </li></ul>
  • 6. Can you patent an atomic or molecular structure? <ul><li>Patentable Subject Matter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Utility patent: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Canada - art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. - product, process, apparatus or composition of matter </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design patent: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>New, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 7. Machine or Apparatus? <ul><li>Embodiment in mechanism of any function or mode of operation designed to accomplish a particular effect </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanical or electrical device with co-operating parts to perform some function </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. nanocomputer </li></ul>
  • 8. Manufacture or Product? <ul><li>Almost anything made by humans </li></ul><ul><li>No moving parts </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. nanotube </li></ul>
  • 9. Composition of Matter? <ul><li>A product where the nature of the material is the distinguishing characteristic </li></ul><ul><li>Atomic manipulation results in novel physical and chemical properties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strength, flexibility, conductivity, insulating properties, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g., buckyball with unique physical properties </li></ul></ul>
  • 10. Utility, Novelty and Non-obviousness <ul><li>Utility: usefulness beneficial to the public, so that when put into practice by a competent person, the invention will do what is promised by the patent </li></ul><ul><li>Novelty: new and not subject of earlier patents. In Canada, also not previously made available to the public </li></ul><ul><li>Non-obvious: intuitive and not obvious to a person skilled in the art or science to which it pertains </li></ul>
  • 11. Challenges <ul><li>Common objections raised by Patent Examiners: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anticipation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inherency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obviousness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enablement </li></ul></ul>
  • 12. Anticipation <ul><li>Nanotech form already exists naturally or on a higher scale </li></ul><ul><li>Unless clear difference in properties </li></ul><ul><li>Tip: focus on the difference </li></ul>
  • 13. Inherency <ul><li>A prior art reference may “inherently” anticipate a claimed invention </li></ul><ul><li>If a nanotech invention would necessarily and inherently result, it would likely be denied patentability </li></ul>
  • 14. Obviousness <ul><li>A difference in size may be viewed as obvious </li></ul><ul><li>Test: what would prior art suggest to one of ordinary skill in the art? </li></ul><ul><li>If prior art did not enable one to make a nanoscale version (i.e. no process existed), it may still be non-obvious even if only difference is size </li></ul><ul><li>Tip: focus on the process or solution </li></ul>
  • 15. Obviousness <ul><li>Solution to new problem arising on a nanoscale may be claimed as the invention </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. solution to quantum electron spin instability on nanoscale data storage device </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Invention also in new uses for a known composition in a particular environment </li></ul><ul><li>Tip: focus on the difference in environment </li></ul>
  • 16. Enablement <ul><li>Need full disclosure of invention such that one skilled in the relevant art can be taught how to make or carry out the invention </li></ul><ul><li>Problem if too broad nanotech patent claims </li></ul><ul><li>Technology difficult to prove or analyze </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. allows post-filing date test results to demonstrate claimed invention works </li></ul><ul><li>Tip: beware of scope of nanotech claims; ensure you can prove/demonstrate </li></ul>
  • 17. New trends <ul><li>U.S. Class 977 for Nanotechnology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To facilitate searching of prior art </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will ultimately be replaced by cross-reference art collection classification schedule, including definitions, subclasses and search notes related to classifications in other U.S. classes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problems with initial wave and cross-disciplinary filings </li></ul></ul>
  • 18. Copyright <ul><li>Can you get copyright in an atomic or molecular work? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some of the challenges that nanotechnology creators face? </li></ul><ul><li>Tips </li></ul>
  • 19. Copyright <ul><li>Subject Matter: original literary , dramatic, musical and artistic works </li></ul><ul><li>Requires fixation - the form of expression </li></ul><ul><li>Requires authorship - human creation </li></ul><ul><li>No registration required – author is automatically first owner unless employee </li></ul>
  • 20. Originality <ul><li>Not same as novelty </li></ul><ul><li>Relates to expression, not the idea itself </li></ul><ul><li>Work not copied </li></ul><ul><li>Work not in public domain </li></ul><ul><li>Requires skill and judgment </li></ul><ul><li>Tip: focus on skill and judgment used in creating the work </li></ul>
  • 21. Literary Work <ul><li>Notes, instructions, tables, computer programs </li></ul><ul><li>Includes compilations - selection, arrangement and combination of items in a useful form is authorship </li></ul><ul><li>Nanocomputer programs and databases likely protectable </li></ul>
  • 22. Artistic Work <ul><li>Paintings, drawings, maps, charts, plans, photos, engravings, sculptures, artistic craftsmanship, architectural works and compilations of artistic works </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures, images, drawings of nanotech likely protectable </li></ul><ul><li>What about an arrangement of atoms – can they be a sculpture, artistic craftsmanship or architectural work ? </li></ul>
  • 23. Sculpture? <ul><li>Three-dimensional object in space </li></ul><ul><li>Form of art </li></ul><ul><li>Expressive form </li></ul><ul><li>Likely not applicable to nanotech if purely utilitarian </li></ul>
  • 24. Artistic Craftsmanship? <ul><li>Unlikely to apply to nanotech if not work of an artisan </li></ul><ul><li>More industrial process vs. manual skills being used </li></ul>
  • 25. Architectural Work? <ul><li>Protection for structures and buildings, tennis courts, gardens </li></ul><ul><li>Not tables, boats </li></ul><ul><li>Must be for humans </li></ul><ul><li>Is it possible to argue nanotech is form of molecular architecture? </li></ul><ul><li>Might need to be associated with a building </li></ul>
  • 26. Useful Articles <ul><li>Not infringement of copyright or moral rights (s.64 & 64.1 Copyright Act) </li></ul><ul><li>If artistic work is functional or utilitarian </li></ul><ul><li>Unless nanotech creation turns out not to work </li></ul><ul><li>Tip: put some artistic element into the nanotech creation e.g. embedded drawings, arrangement into shapes that don’t affect functionality </li></ul>
  • 27. Industrial Designs <ul><li>Can you get industrial design protection in an atomic or molecular work? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some of the challenges that nanotechnology creators face? </li></ul><ul><li>Tips </li></ul>
  • 28. Industrial Designs <ul><li>Features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament and any combination that, in a finished article, appeal to and are judged solely by the eye </li></ul><ul><li>Need originality </li></ul><ul><li>Likely not protectable where design dictated by utilitarian function as opposed to aesthetics, but let’s analyze nanotech </li></ul>
  • 29. Shape or Configuration? <ul><li>Shape = outline or external form/appearance </li></ul><ul><li>Config = idea of external form and construction; arrangement and physical relationship of the components of the design </li></ul><ul><li>Susceptible to variation </li></ul><ul><li>Arguable may apply to nanomolecule or nanotube </li></ul>
  • 30. Pattern or Ornament? <ul><li>Repetitive or decorative elements that distinguish </li></ul><ul><li>Usually placed on article </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. buckyballs in nanotube or nanofilm on an article </li></ul>
  • 31. Finished Article? <ul><li>Article = anything made by hand, tool or machine </li></ul><ul><li>Finished = physical embodiment </li></ul><ul><li>Are carbon-carbon bonds and atoms a design in, or applied to, a finished article? </li></ul>
  • 32. Appeal and Judged Solely by the Eye? <ul><li>Usually unmagnified image </li></ul><ul><li>But nanotechnology has created new products with different type of consumer, e.g. a scientist </li></ul><ul><li>Law may be out of date here </li></ul>
  • 33. Utilitarian Function Limitation <ul><li>The main problem for nanotech </li></ul><ul><li>No protection as industrial design if: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Features applied to a useful article that are dictated solely by utilitarian function of that article; or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any method or principle of manufacture or construction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tip: put some artistic element into the nanotech creation e.g. embedded drawings, arrangement into shapes that don’t affect functionality </li></ul>
  • 34. Integrated Circuit Topographies (ICT) <ul><li>Can you get ICT protection in nanotech IC topography? </li></ul><ul><li>Statutory protection for “topography” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Design of interconnections and elements of integrated circuit product; or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Elements and interconnections of layer added to integrated circuit product </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integrated circuit product = product intended to perform electronic function and in which elements and interconnections formed on material </li></ul>
  • 35. Integrated Circuit Topographies <ul><li>Is molecular or atomic scale interconnection in or on a piece of material? </li></ul><ul><li>Material neutral </li></ul><ul><li>Requires originality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not copied; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectual effort and not commonplace </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Might apply to nanotech if not automatic circuit </li></ul>
  • 36. Trade secrets <ul><li>Can you get trade secret protection in an atomic or molecular work? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some of the challenges that nanotechnology creators face? </li></ul><ul><li>Tips </li></ul>
  • 37. Trade Secrets <ul><li>Protected by contract, duty of confidence, fiduciary duty, Quebec Civil Code, or other causes of action </li></ul><ul><li>No exclusive rights with owner </li></ul><ul><li>Must establish and maintain secrecy </li></ul><ul><li>Tip: keep nanotech secret and disclose only under confidentiality agreement – unlimited duration for protection </li></ul>
  • 38. Other Legal and Public Issues <ul><li>Should new forms of atoms and molecules be entitled to IP protection? What if they are later discovered to exist in nature? </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation, e.g. export controls, medicine, medical devices </li></ul><ul><li>Taxation of “goods” too small to be seen </li></ul><ul><li>Competition implications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Restraint of trade </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IP protection and grant of licenses </li></ul></ul>
  • 39. Other Legal and Public Issues <ul><li>Government surveillance, privacy, security </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nanotech materials for surveillance, data storage, eavesdropping </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Genetic research and new life forms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As we increase our understanding of the building blocks of life and matter, at what point does a man-made creation become a life form with “human” rights </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Health, safety, environmental issues (similar to asbestos and insulation cases) – unknown risks if new nanoparticles enter human systems or environment </li></ul>
  • 40. Liability Risks <ul><li>IP infringement of things too small to be seen </li></ul><ul><li>IP enforcement of atomic or molecular copying, use or sale </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental liability </li></ul><ul><li>Tort (negligence) liability for breach of duty of care </li></ul><ul><li>Product liability </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy violations </li></ul>
  • 41. Need for legislative change <ul><li>Canada’s IP laws may need to be amended to protect new forms of creativity, nano-authorship or inventorship, unforeseen and unconventional kinds of property </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright law may need to be amended to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarify the fixation requirement, when dealing with works on an atomic level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect creations by nanomachines (non-human agents) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect nanotech creations in architectural works </li></ul></ul>
  • 42. Need for legislative change <ul><li>Patent law may need to be amended to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage research into nanotech, particularly where invention might already exist naturally or on a higher scale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Permit post-filing date test results to demonstrate claimed invention works </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have a new patent class to facilitate searching of prior art </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect new life forms </li></ul></ul>
  • 43. Need for legislative change <ul><li>Industrial designs law may need to be amended to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect nano-sized designs or architectures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarify that atomic and molecular structures can be “finished articles” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expand upon the requirement for appeal and judgment “solely by the eye” – new breed of consumer using microscope </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integrated Circuit Topography law may need to be amended to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarify molecular or atomic scale interconnection is in or on a piece of “material” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deal with creation of automatic circuits </li></ul></ul>
  • 44. Need for legislative change <ul><li>New laws for genetic research, rights of new life forms </li></ul><ul><li>Export controls </li></ul><ul><li>Taxation </li></ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation of R&D, goods and devices, to reduce risk of harm to public </li></ul>
  • 45. Lisa K. Abe 416 868 3358 [email_address] <ul><ul><ul><li>This presentation contains statements of general principles and not legal opinions and should not be acted upon without first consulting a lawyer who will provide analysis and advice on a specific matter. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP is a limited liability partnership under the laws of Ontario and includes law corporations. </li></ul></ul></ul>

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