I just want to ask Mr. President, how he is planning to overcome this huge problem indeed he is mentioning everywhere how important it is to focus on renewable energy and not paying huge amount of $s to middle east. Well it seems US will pay lots of $s to China, or IP costs to korea, japan, oh not forgetting has to bring back industrialization back to US with many jobs.
Since it will take quite a few years to start getting to the point of producing these metals, the patents don't become an issue until they are being used. Sounds like we are already behind in getting started if they expire in 2014!
unfortunately its unlikely possible. US, EU or let say world is so much addicted to cheap chinese work force, and moved almost everything to there. Now they have power of production and slowly resources. The alert time is already over, now we should focus on new tech. which wont require their involvement, and think over of globalization
I just read an article here that talks about the the development of a non-rare earth magnet electric motor (http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4209004/Japan-researchers-develop-electric-motor-sans-rare-earth-metals). Perhaps the rest of the world should follow suit? It seems that we are being surprised by this development, but should we have been surprised? It makes both great business and political sense to control these high tech metals, why wouldn't we in the US (or any other country) not already be engaged in securing supplies? It makes me wonder....
Our infatuation with low-cost labor allowed China to call the shots in rare earth metals used by the electronics industry. Both Japan and the U.S., as the world's most advanced economies, cannot afford to be cut off. So yes, while Japan is trying to find alternate solutions to using rare earth elements in their motors, the U.S. cannot afford to wait for this kind of development to see fruition. It needs to start opening the mines it closed earlier to catch up.