A number of companies are filing patents for graphene, a strong, ultrathin material.

Could graphene revolutionize computer technology?

August 26, 2013 2:01 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Say you are the owner of a technology company, and you have just been presented with a revolutionary new substance that is, as the Wall Street Journal put it, "200 times stronger than steel yet as thin as an atom." You would likely feel like you have just discovered a gold mine. The possibilities for new technologies, such as flexible electronic devices, would be myriad.

That is, unless you get sued by a competitor, forcing your entire operation to halt.

This is the situation that a number of companies may face in light of advancements made to graphene, an exceptionally thin material that is strong, flexible and can conduct electricity and heat, as well as absorb and emit light.

Though scientists isolated the substance about ten years ago, the Wall Street Journal reports that companies are just beginning to use graphene in commercial products.

"Graphene is the same sort of material, like steel or plastic or silicon that can really change society," Dr. Andrea Ferrari, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, told the news source.

This sort of thinking, however, has led to an explosion of patents being filed for different uses of graphene. For example, the news source reports that Apple has filed a patent for graphene "heat dissipaters" while Lockheed Martin sought a patent for a membrane that removes salt from seawater.

Some worry that these patents will lead to costly lawsuits and hold back progress. 

"It's a land grab," said Quentin Tannock, chairman of Cambridge Intellectual Property. "[Y]ou have the option for suing your competitors later and stopping them."

If companies hope to profit off this new technology, they would be wise to work with an experienced Phoenix business attorney to minimize their legal risks and maximize control over their intellectual property.

Categorised in:

This post was written by