back to article UK falls behind in global graphene patent race

Physicists all over the world are scrambling to patent their research on the various different aspects of miracle substance graphene, with Chinese researchers leading the field. China is the country with the most patents for the carbon that's a hundred times stronger than steel, while Korean giant Samsung is the top company …

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Gold badge

So if Samsung is such a nice company who hates patents and court cases, why are they trying to very hard to wrap up the whole graphene market so nobody else can make it without licencing their IP?

They're evil just like any other money grubbing global giant.

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Silver badge

Where on earth did you get the impression that SS hates patents?

Although I'd be more worried about the Chinese side of things than SS.

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Big Brother

Dont worry.

On this side of civilization notices that the only thing it can produce is yoof, greenery and pieces of paper with make-believe wealth on it, a long hard look at Intellectual Property will reveal that we didn't "mean it that way" and suddenly it's okay to relax the state-granted monopoly a bit. "Stealing" will suddenly become "Sharing" again.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm... didn't it say that "Samsung is the biggest investor in graphene research"?

I'm not entirely convinced its fair to translate that into "They're evil just like any other money grubbing global giant."

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Anonymous Coward

Samsung?

Chances are any major discovery here would only be sold off to a patent troll anyway so I don't see the problem.

At least the discovery patented over in Asia has a decent chance of being used by the people responsible for it.

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Ru

There's a vast gulf between patents that cover menu jiggling and corner rounding, and patents which deal with overcoming major engineering issues with the potential to drive a new techology that would be of enormous benefit the world over. Don't conflate the two.

Also, capitalism is evil now? Surely the folk who pay for the necessary research into actual real useful practical and above all novel things have some rights to profit from that investment?

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JDX
Gold badge

Why is a company evil for wanting to make money? Just why exactly do you think companies exist in the first placE?

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Anonymous Coward

Why is a company evil for wanting to make money?

Try replacing "Samsung" with "Apple" and see how opinion around here changes about that question.

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Meh

Probably stole the research by hacking the computers of what were the leaders in the field.

Pesky Chinese hackers.

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Anonymous Coward

Your're not very smart are you, to make a comment like that ?

Let me give you somthing to think about. The engineer & inventor of fibre optics was chinese - Professor Kao.

Not everything is discovered or revolves around the west you know !

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Childcatcher

Re: Why is a company evil for wanting to make money?

And Round Corners to you.

It used to be "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics", or

If it moves salute it, if it doesn't paint it, but now

The baby said a word, quick patent it!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why is a company evil for wanting to make money?

Try replacing "Samsung" with "Apple" and see how opinion around here changes about that question.

Erm... OK...

Apple is investing more in graphine research than any other company in world....

Samsung has launched a multi-BEEELION lawsuit against Apple in California for making devices with rounded corners....

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...

OMG!

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

That's so funny!!!

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha a ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...

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Silver badge

Carbon is not exactly a rare earth mineral so the Chinese have to control it some way. I wonder about the quality of those patients though. Maybe if Chinese firms start stepping on toes the system will be reformed.

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WTF?

And so the story repeats itself

What is it with this country. We have a long and fairly illustriuous history of invention and inovation, so why whenever we discover/create the next greatest thing we totally fail to make anything much of it and we end up trailing everything else.

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Silver badge

Re: And so the story repeats itself

Because we're so freakin' tiny. Think about it, the UK has a handful of people and a handful of corperations that would make use of graphene on its land. Ergo no backing outside the governmetn. China meanwhile has millions more scientists, hundereds more companies, and a big enough base of money to back the research heavily.

We're the quality, but we're getting outdone by the quantity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And so the story repeats itself

I don't think it's size... Switzerland and India are probably good illustrations of that. I think we've probably just inherited a peculiarly unfavourable combination of resenting success, not being particularly aggressive and being exceptionally poor managers. :(

On the bright side though, despite the 'Merkns best efforts, I think patents are still a quality > quantity sort of thing ;)

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Re: And so the story repeats itself

I think it is excess we resent, not success.

Although we may have a wider variety of views on what constitutes success in the first place and what it should entitle people to.

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Bronze badge

What's in a patent?

Patents are good to have but only worth money if they're for something good. A patent for producing graphene in a lab is useless next to a patent for an economic, commercial process.

Having said that, our tax money is probably going into some director's back pocket for something that has already been done better, quicker and cheaper by the Chinese.

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Silver badge

Stronger than daimond yet flexible.

Here's one thing we could hope for, graphene body armour for the troops, strongeer than diamond thing as thread, you could weave a basic outfit, vest, trousers etc out of the stuff hopefullly mass produce it and equip our troops with armour that is higher quality and might actually provide a better degree of protection, not to mention being lighter than the current gear.

I know it wouldn't protect from a mine or a bullet that much if it's just woven as a material, but it could mean the difference between a fatal shot and a glancing blow, rather than the cargo gear they currently wear which might as well be paper.

Add in graphene plates to cover vitals and.. Okay yeah I'm just designing the batman suit in my head now, but seriously it's a worthwhile idea.

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FAIL

Graphene = crap

Graphene, like carbon nanotubes, has been hyped like crazy. Carbon nanotubes have yet to amount to much in a practical sense even after decades of research. All carbon nanotubes have produced are laboratory curiosities by academics. Graphene will follow the same path.

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Re: Graphene = crap

Nope, not crap, it's a solution to a problem we haven't discovered yet or a solution to a problem we have, but no-ones thought to try using Graphene or nanotubes. Timing is everything.

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FAIL

Re: Graphene = crap

Or, they are just laboratory curiosities sucking up research funds from other fields, and will continue to amount to nothing more that academic hype.

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Windows

Re: Graphene = crap

They said much the same thing about lasers....A solution looking for a problem...Now look!!!!!

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FAIL

Re: Graphene = crap

That was never said about lasers. As a matter of fact, BEFORE lasers were developed, applications like LIDAR that need laser were discussed.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: Graphene = crap

cornz 1 said, ""They said much the same thing about lasers....A solution looking for a problem."

The Man Who Fell To Earth said,"That was never said about lasers"

Charles H. Townes, in A Century of Nature: Twenty-One Discoveries that Changed Science and the World, said this

Apparently Theodore H. Mainan is thought to have said this [see last para]

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Windows

Re: Graphene = crap

Far be it from me to suggest Wikipedia is accurate, but:

"When lasers were invented in 1960, they were called "a solution looking for a problem".[30]

I can assure you i heard that a long time before the interweb.

Therefore i refute your unsubstantiated assertion that it was "never said about lasers".

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WTF?

Re: Graphene = crap

I think your views on this are very narrow minded and short term. This sort of research takes a lot of time and money. Carbon nanotube research has now at last yielded a workable method of mass production, and has always promised a raft of awesome applications. Graphene is not far behind.

Waste of time and money you say? Curiosities for academics?

If we didnt spend time and money researching these sort of ideas and innovations, then the whole of human scientific progress would stagnate. I'm pleased you are only a minor comment tard (with your own Reg bronze badge too!) and not an actual scientist or politician.

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Bronze badge
Childcatcher

Re: Graphene = crap

All carbon nanotubes have produced are laboratory curiosities by academics.

Sorry, missed by that much. New tech doesn't just happen; it takes time, effort and money. Sure, there's hype about this particular bit of tech, but we've endured worse for less (*cough* Segway *cough*). While not every invention or discovery pans out, the fact that so very many physicists and engineers are working with carbon nanotubes, graphene and similar ought to be a hint for you.

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Either way

the second an iGraphene device comes out, Apple will be suing everyone. Again.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Instead of an xkcd reference:

An RP Feynman one.

From the story called I want my Dollar in Surely you're joking Mr Feynman, available from all good bookstores.

[D]uring the war, at Los Alamos, there was a very nice fella in charge of the patent office for the government, named Captain Smith. Smith sent around a notice to everybody that said something like, "We in the patent office would like to patent every idea you have for the United States government, for which you are working now. Any idea you have on nuclear energy or its application that you may think everybody knows about, everybody doesn't know about: Just come to my office and tell me the idea."

I see Smith at lunch, and as we're walking back to the technical area, I say to him, "That note you sent around: That's kind of crazy to have us come in and tell you every idea."

We discussed it back and forth - by this time we're in his office-and I say, "There are so many ideas about nuclear energy that are so perfectly obvious, that I'd be here all day telling you stuff."

"LIKE WHAT?"

"Nothin' to it!" I say. "Example: nuclear reactor . . . under water. . water goes in . . . steam goes out the other side . . . Pshshshsht - it's a submarine. Or: nuclear reactor . . . air comes rushing in the front. . . heated up by nuclear reaction . . . out the back it goes . . . Boom! Through the air-it's an airplane. Or: nuclear reactor . . you have hydrogen go through the thing . . . Zoom! - it's a rocket. Or: nuclear reactor . . . only instead of using ordinary uranium, you use enriched uranium with beryllium oxide at high temperature to make it more efficient . . . It's an electrical power plant. There's a million ideas!" I said, as I went out the door.

Nothing happened.

About three months later, Smith calls me in the office and says, "Feynman, the submarine has already been taken. But the other three are yours."

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Anonymous Coward

i may feel different about it tomorrow

im glad people that will actually make something the general public can buy and own at a reasonable price are racing ahead.

imagine if the uk had it exclusively . millions on research and nothing of use produced ever. just a lot of smug hot air amongst the scientists and some documentary by that young physics/astronomer git and darra no brain. lol

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Obviousness?

Will a lot of these patents be obvious though?

Basically the same stuff as exists but made with graphene rather than traditional materials.

You know, the same way that everything in the real world gets a digital patent à la the infamous shopping cart patent.

I hope not, ad I hope it does revolutionise the world and make it a better place like the invention of glass.

Do we owe someone royalties for glass? Hopefully they've forgotten by now.

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Silver badge

Re: Obviousness?

shit no not iGlass...

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Unhappy

Surely it's the quality of the patents rather than the number of patents that matter?

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Yes, but it's not always clear which will turn out to be the key ones so there's no harm in loading up on as many as you can get, even if it is just to muddy the waters later on.

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It's China

We should just adopt the same liberal attitude toward IP they have.

Seriously tho, what are these patents? Chinese universities produce squillions* of academic papers every year, but how many of them are any good?

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