Graphene patenting is soaring. For example, in 2010, 230 of the published U.S. patent applications mentioned graphene in the abstract or claims, which is a lot. In 2009, this number was only 113; in 2008 it was only 31; and 2007 only provided 24. The first three weeks of 2011 suggests the number will be even higher this year if the trend continues.
A bigger picture review of commercialization for graphene was recently noted in Nature, January 5, 2011 issue, pages 14-16 ("The Trials of New Carbon").
For additional reviews, Andrew Baluch, Bryan Wilson, and John Miller explored patentability issues in 2008 associated with graphene inventions, "Patenting Graphene: Opportunities and Challenges," Nanotechnology Law and Business Journal, Vol. 5, No. 3, pages 101-112.
According to the Nature review, South Korea is planning a major graphene commercialization effort. Other countries, including the United States, would be wise to follow.