18 Nanotechnologies and the Law of Patents:
A Collision Course
Imagine if some firm held a patent on the brick. The patent would be drawn so broadly as to cover any baked and/or glazed solid building element that would be used to construct lattice structures for human habitation. That firm would be able to charge royalties for most of the simple edifices in the world. It could designate which buildings would go up first and which would have to wait. There would probably be a rush to invent and patent a substitute for the patented brick that would be just different enough to preclude a lawsuit, yet similar enough to work as easily and dependably as a brick. Some buildings would cost much more than ...