Sunday, February 07, 2010

US Patent 7657447 - Nanomaterial risk evaluation

Business method patents are a controversial area concerned with some non-technological areas such as finance, tax systems, and risk assessment. Usually this is far from the realm of nanotechnology but this patent from Hartford Fire Insurance Company discloses a business method for risk assessment of nanomaterials. Claim 1 reads:

1. A system for determining a level of risk posed by a nanomaterial to an entity, the system comprising:

a memory;

a computerized model stored on the memory; and

a processor configured to:

retrieve from memory data related to the nanomaterial, the retrieved data including physical and chemical characteristics of the nanomaterial;

calculate, using the computerized model, a risk score that is indicative of the level of risk posed by the nanomaterial to the entity based on the retrieved data, wherein the risk score is calculated based at least in part on a quantitative representation of the risks posed by the nanomaterial based on the physical and chemical characteristics of the nanomaterial;

evaluate the insurability of the entity responsive at least in part to the calculated risk score; and

output the results of the evaluation process as an offer or denial for insurance.