Many advances in technology are due to the development of new materials and by using patent literature we can monitor how technology has advanced. Exploring Materials through Patent Information describes how different technologies have evolved through the development of their patents, providing students with a guide on how to use patents as a source of information in their research and studies.
The first chapter provides practical advice on searching for patents and using patents, followed by individual chapters covering different material systems where the technical information in the patent literature demonstrates the developments in the technology. The materials discussed includes light-emitting diodes, quantum dots, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), liquid crystals and liquid crystal displays, 3d printing, healthcare, block copolymers, aerogels, ionic liquids, flame retardants, graphene, hydrogels, and superhydrophobic materials.
The book is aimed at students in chemistry, materials science and engineering to show how patent information is an important source of information alongside other sources of information.
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Number of pages: 266
Weight: 449 g
Dimensions: 228 x 152 x 17 mm
The majority of books and reviews on any area of technology development tend to focus on information published in the journal literature; reviews of the patent literature are more often confined to the prior art sections of patent documents. However, patents remain one of the best sources of detailed technical information, particularly where the invention may have commercial significance, and it is good to see this reviewed in a book. In Chapter 1 Segal provides a general introduction to the topic of materials for the non-specialist. He makes the point that materials underpin many of the technological advances that we know in everyday life; for example, the use of lanthanide elements as phosphors to generate colour in display screens, or the application of neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) magnets in computer hard drives and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. The success of additive layer manufacturing (ALM), also known as additive manufacturing (AM) or `three-dimensional (3D) printing' technology, depends on the availability of plastics that can be converted into molten droplets and of ceramic and metal powders that can be formulated for use in a range of different ALM techniques. Chapter 1 also provides a basic introduction to patents, covering `what is a patent?' and patent structure (front page data, background to the invention, summary of the invention, embodiments, drawings and claims). Sections are included on patent filing, patent infringement and patent searching. The book stresses the importance of seeking specialist advice from qualified practitioners. As with much of the book, however, too many topics are included, making coverage superficial. Chapters 2-13 review a wide range of emerging technologies in the context of patent information: light emitting diodes, quantum dots, organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), liquid crystals and liquid crystal displays, ALM or `3D printing', healthcare, block copolymers, aerogels, ionic liquids, flame retardants, graphene, hydrogels and super-hydrophobic materials. I have chosen three of these chapters to review below. Chapter 6 is titled `3D Printing'. Segal describes the evolution of this process starting from Swanson and Kremer's photopolymerisation by computer controlled laser beams. In fused deposition modelling, 3D parts are built up layer-by-layer from a thermoplastic material using a digital representation of the part. In selective layer sintering a layer of metal, ceramic or polymer powder is deposited under computer control and sintered by scanning a laser across the surface. In each case the process is repeated to ultimately form a 3D part. The use of the term `3D printing' was coined later by Sachs et al. and used, for example, in their 1993 patent (1).The chapter goes on to give a number of examples of patents on applications of ALM (Figure 1). Aerospace components are discussed, as are dental prostheses and biomedical implants. Among the aerospace examples, Segal describes a high temperature AM process to make titanium near-net-shape metal leading edge protective strips for aerofoils (2). A key feature is heat transfer away from the support mandrel. In the dental field he describes the use of selective laser powder processing to build up a jaw structure from titanium (3). Although Segal reproduces technical details of the laser required to melt the metal particles, he does not discuss the significance of such a process, which in this case is the ability to fabricate complex shapes without lengthy pre- or post-processing and the ability to customise parts to individual patient requirements in the same production run. Some examples are also given of components needed for ALM machines such as shutter mechanisms and wiper blades. Chapter 4 discusses the development of OLEDs. It starts with a review of the early development of electroluminescence, for example the work by Gurnee and Fernandez which showed that a doped host material with a conjugated structure, such as anthracene, gave off green light when placed between two electrodes (4). Pioneering work by Friend et al. on conjugated polymers such as poly(p-phenylvinylene) (PPV) formed the basis of polymer light emitting diodes (PLEDs) (5). Later it was discovered that organic phosphorescent materials, which can emit light in the triplet state, are potentially more efficient than fluorescent materials which can emit only in the singlet state. The example is given of the green phosphorescent emitter tris(2-phenylpyridine)iridium, Ir(ppy)3. Of course the phosphorescent emitter layer is only one of a complex series of material layers and the development of complex circuitry is an essential part of the realisation of a working OLED device. Chapter 12 discusses graphene, a material which has received much interest since its discovery in 2004. The development of methods for making it, including wet chemical processes, vapour phase processes, the use of ionic liquids and electrochemical methods, have been key; details of these processes are best found in the patent literature. The chapter goes on to discuss potential methods for large scale production of graphene, essential for successful exploitation; chemical vapour deposition is one such method. Incorporation of graphene flakes into the polymer matrix of a fibre reinforced composite can increase its compressive strength, potentially useful in racquets and other sports equipment. In lithium-ion batteries, multilayer graphene films have been evaluated for use as an anode and graphene platelets have been used to reinforce the matrix of a cathode material. Overall, the book does effectively make the point that patents contain a wealth of technical information and should be considered alongside journals and other sources when researching a topic. It successfully gives a broad overview of the historical development of each topic, with references in the form of patent numbers which serve as a starting point for further reading. The focus is very much geared to demonstrating the technical detail that can be found, with examples of material compositions and experimental data as claimed in individual patents. However, this reviewer believes that it tries to cover too much material in too small a volume and as a result does not really do any individual topic full justice. Too many patents are referenced and too much non-essential experimental detail from the patents is included. At the same time, the significance of each invention is often not clear without going back to the original patent source and this detracts from the overall readability. Segal's book does not touch on how patents have altered the course of development of a technology by impacting different companies' freedom to exploit it; nor does it make any reference to how the existence of patents has affected the commercial development of a technology. In my opinion, such a discussion would have helped to round out a promising but somewhat disappointing volume. -- Julia O'Farrelly
"...patents remain one of the best sources of detailed technical information, particularly where the invention may have commercial significance, and it is good to see this reviewed in a book."
"It successfully gives a broad overview of the historical development of each topic..." -- Julia O'Farrelly * Johnson Matthey Technol. Rev., 2015, 59, (3), 218-220 *
This book does exactly as its title proposes and describes several classes of materials in terms of patents that have been awarded toward their practical application. Following a good introduction about patents in general, how to file one, and how to research them, Segal provides a credible patent history for a range of materials: light-emitting diodes (LEDs), including quantum dots, organic LEDs, and liquid-crystal displays, threedimensional printing, health care, block copolymers, aerogels, ionic liquids, fl ame retardants, graphene, hydrogels, and superhydrophobic materials. The chapters fi rst describe the fundamentals of each technology, and then describe how specifi c patents improved upon the technology. I found it very unusual to read a "patent history" of a material instead of learning its history from academic literature. For instance, Segal devotes four chapters to LED technology. His approach is to give a brief technological background to LEDs, referencing a few papers in the literature, and then to give the historical case for the patents toward LED commercialization. To Segal's credit, his approach was almost the same as Dr. Hiroshi Amano's, one of the 2014 Nobel laureates for blue LEDs, but more technology driven. The book left me wondering how Segal identifi ed which patents were critical to a material's development. While writing a material's history from published literature, it is relatively easy to link key papers through their numbers of citations, but such lists do not seem to exist for the materials described in the book. Did he somehow know that these patents were licensed? While his motivation to write the book is to encourage researchers to delve into the patent literature to assist their research, it is not clear how one goes into a search engine and fi nds out which technology patents are key, as Segal was able to do. Despite my confusion about how the key patents were selected from patent databases, this book certainly fi lls a gap in the literature about how patents play a crucial role in a material's history and development, and would be useful to anyone researching or seeking to fi le a patent in the topical areas covered in the book. It would also be invaluable to any materials scientist who is interested in patent law or students interested in becoming patent lawyers, because it shows, to some degree, how materials development goes hand in hand with patents. The introduction is also valuable to the general reader because it describes the patent process and how to search the patent literature. The book could be used as a patent history for the specifi c materials covered, but not as a blueprint for how one would fi n d or develop a patent history for other materials. -- Karen Swider Lyons * Features Books *
This book certainly fi lls a gap in the literature about how patents play a crucial role in a material's history and development, and would be useful to anyone researching or seeking to fi le a patent in the topical areas covered in the book. It would also be invaluable to any materials scientist who is interested in patent law or students interested in becoming patent lawyers, because it shows, to some degree, how materials development goes hand in hand with patents. The introduction is also valuable to the general reader because it describes the patent process and how to search the patent literature. The book could be used as a patent history for the specifi c materials covered, but not as a blueprint for how one would fi n d or develop a patent history for other materials. -- Karen Swider Lyons * Features Books *