The time it takes to process a patent application in the U.S. has doubled since 2004, now taking an average of four years, just as nanotechnology is gaining ground in creating new products. Nanotech-related applications have grown by an average of 20% a year over the past few years, while patents for other types of products have risen by only 2%. The delay may make it difficult for companies to attract financial backers, according to one patent lawyer.

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