Sunday, April 25, 2010


Though Nano Technology is a controversial subject with many antagonists ranged against it on the grounds of questionable safety, there are commercial considerations that seem to be gathering controversial proportions. Just because the word "Nano" has Greek origin, that country is trying to capitalize on it by patenting the same for purely economic consideration. Probably the hard pressed economic problems being faced by this country is forcing its government try the patent route to emerge out of the dire economic straight!

At the core of the patent application is a detailed list of nanotechnology terms and products that is grouped into seven major categories – electronics, medicine, materials, equipment & instrumentation, food, cosmetics, and services. Alluding to the industry's outlook if this patent gets granted, critics have already nicknamed this list Pitchblack and the Seven Dwarfs. One industry that is clearly unfazed by this development is the food industry. In wise anticipation of brewing troubles, all major food companies like Nestle or Kraft have already years ago purged all reference to nanotechnology from their websites. Cosmetics industry is not too far behind. Interestingly the Greek trade marking efforts are not undisputed within their own country. A group called "Cultural responsibility in the Aegean" has challenged the government's plans. Publishing an essay in the main Greek newspaper Parthenon World News titled "Self assembling patent claims. What would Aristotle do?", the group strongly condemns the government's move.

If the above trade mark protection request is conceded what will be the next target of the Greek government? Can other cultural groups else where in the world can make similar claims on popular words and phrases now in vogue universally for the sake of economic gains? Probably the "geographical" patent system internationally recognized for protecting heritage names of local origin has opened up a "Pandora's Box" and where this is going to end up with what consequences remains to be seen.

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