The intense patent activity in graphene stems from its enormous technological and commercial potential. But because much of the territory underlying the graphene cross-roads has already been claimed, patenting graphene poses challenges.
As a single sheet of carbon atoms (or an assembly of a few sheets), graphene has a relatively simple structure which makes it more difficult to distinguish new inventions over inventions already described in patents or patent applications. In addition, the technology and legal background needed to understand and explain the uniqueness of a new graphene invention in the context of existing patents requires both specialization and breadth.
Patent attorney Paul Smith says that overcoming these challenges requires, first and foremost, an understanding of graphene technology in order to draft the patent application and claims clearly and strategically. In the video, he says inventors of new graphene-based technologies should also be aware of the landscape in which they are inventing, and incorporate creative arguments and strategic negotiating positions into their applications.