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versión On-line ISSN 2340-7948versión impresa ISSN 0211-9536


TURCHETTI, Simone. A contentious business: Industrial patents and the production of isotopes, 1930-1960. Dynamis [online]. 2009, vol.29, pp.191-217. ISSN 2340-7948.

This paper analyses the role that patents played in the establishment of the isotope industry. In the first part I survey the number of issued patents on the production of isotopes, also arguing that the isotope industry was typified by inadequate patenting activities. Then I examine the factors that hindered these activities by looking at the history of industrial patents in the establishment of the isotope industry. I especially focus on the consequences of the Manhattan Project on patent legislation. As the Atomic Energy Act (1946) made the isotope industry a monopoly of the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), it contributed to transform the trading of its relevant patents in a "contentious" business. Since then, inventors and assignors already in possession of isotope production patents could only claim compensation to the AEC, which was authorised to seize them. And those who might have outlined new inventions were now deprived of the economic incentive to do so, being prohibited from free-trading them in the international market.

Palabras clave : Patents; Atomic Energy Commission; Patent Compensation Board; Enrico Fermi; McMahon Act; isotope production; Philips.

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