No one is content with current state of the U.S. economy, but there is a bright spot we shouldn't miss: U.S. manufacturing is gaining strength and companies are re-shoring their production.  Here are just a couple of data points to set the stage -- taken from the pages of IndustryWeek.

  • Research by the Boston Consulting Group suggests lower costs for labor, natural gas and electricity may are winning back manufacturing from Europe and Japan.
  • In research by Capital Business Credit with global manufacturers and importers, almost half said they're considering moving manufacturing away from China and a quarter are taking the step, with the U.S. named most frequently as the choice, garnering over 30% of the votes.
  • The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' research finds that 40% of manufacturing companies see a move home from counties like China and India, also citing energy, labor and transportation costs, as well as political instability, product quality and protection of intellectual property.

As theses various reports suggest, there are a number the factors favoring a manufacturing move back to America, but let me name my top three for nano-companies:

  1. Protecting intellectual property.
  2. Protecting intellectual property.
  3. Protecting intellectual property.

Like location when it comes to real estate, intellectual property is the difference between winning and losing with nano-products and other advanced manufacturing. I think domestic manufacturing is the smart move for commercializing -- and expanding -- a product line dependent on proprietary intellectual property.

Why? American patent law has always been complex and certainly had its flaws, but as we've incorporated international patent standards, protection has become increasingly more difficult and less certain.

My triple statement of the problem, used above, is for more just for emphasis. There are three different -- though interlinked -- ways on-shore manufacturing helps companies retain the benefits and profits of their proprietary ideas.