n an interview with Nature News, [Andre Geim] explains why [he didn't patent graphene]: 'We considered patenting; we prepared a patent and it was nearly filed. Then I had an interaction with a big, multinational electronics company. I approached a guy at a conference and said, "We've got this patent coming up, would you be interested in sponsoring it over the years?" It's quite expensive to keep a patent alive for 20 years. The guy told me, "We are looking at graphene, and it might have a future in the long term. If after ten years we find it's really as good as it promises, we will put a hundred patent lawyers on it to write a hundred patents a day, and you will spend the rest of your life, and the gross domestic product of your little island, suing us."
In the past, LBE has explained "why" there was no patent application on the buckyball [C60, aka buckminsterfullerene]. In that situation, the big multinational corporation identified C60, and published thereon, one year before the academics did. Separately, the compound did exist in nature, although not in pure form.