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Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette newspaper - Patently Speaking - "Replace part of artificial shoulder joint"

Greg Cooper, a patent attorney in Barnes & Thornburg LLP's Fort Wayne, Indiana office and a member of the firm's Intellectual Property Law Department, authored the column, "Replace part of artificial shoulder joint," for the May 16, 2011 edition of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. Greg's column, "Patently Speaking," highlights various patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Greg is an attorney in Fort Wayne, Indiana practicing in the areas of patent, trademark, copyright, procurement, and litigation in the U.S. and internationally. He can be reached at gcooper@btlaw.com or (260) 425-4660.

A copy of Greg's article for the week of May 16, 2011 appears below.

May 16, 2011

Patently Speaking highlights the technological achievements of Fort Wayne area residents.


U.S. Patent No. 7,918,895
Invented by: Bryce A. Isch, Bluffton, IN; Jason D. Meridew, Syracuse, IN; and Troy W. Hershberger, Winona Lake, IN
Assigned to: Biomet Manufacturing Corp., Warsaw, IN

In past editions of this column we have looked at various knee replacement patents from special prosthetic knee materials to new surgical knee replacement instruments.

This week we are moving upward to the shoulder. The shoulder has a ball-and-socket type configuration where the end of the upper arm bone or humeral has a spherical head that fits into a socket in the scapula (shoulder blade). Like the knee, the shoulder is susceptible to injury or disease that may require replacement.

An artificial shoulder joint includes a replacement ball called a glenosphere that fits into a new socket. The muscles are then reattached to the new joint.

Occasionally, portions of the shoulder implant may need to be removed or replaced over time. This is typically due to a new injury or wear on the components. Often only certain components show wear, not the entire implant. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to remove just the damaged portion of the implant, rather than the entire implant.

This patent describes a new shoulder implant that has special removable bearing components. Bearing surfaces are susceptible to damage. If the bearing portions of the ball-and-socket are removable, then replacement becomes much easier. In this case, a base is attached to the bone and a ring is located between that base and the bearing surface. The ring is configured to have locking and unlocking positions. Using a special tool, the ring can be moved to easily unlock the bearing surface from its base and replaced.


U.S. Patent No. 7,926,604
Invented by John M. Ammer, New Haven, IN
Assigned to: International Truck Intellectual Property Company, LLC, Warrenville, IL

Before engine exhaust exits an automobile or truck tailpipe, it is often burned again to reduce the amount of exiting pollutants.

Large tractor trailer trucks typically include large upward-extending exhaust pipes on each side right behind the driver’s cab. At the base of each pipe is a reaction chamber or exhaust after treatment device that burns the exhaust before leaving the pipe. An unavoidable consequence of this process is excess heat.

Heat can be a problem when electrical wires, tubes, and sensors need to run in the vicinity of these hot after treatment devices. Obviously, the heat can melt or otherwise damage these wires or sensors. It is, therefore, necessary to keep all of them a fixed distance from the exhaust after treatment device.

This patent describes a bracket system that is used in close proximity to the exhaust after treatment device to securely hold the wires in place so they do not inadvertently contact the device. The bracket system uses a perforated and elongated clipping bar. Conventional fasteners, such as P-clips or ties can be used to hold the wires in place. The bracket is generally positioned parallel to the after treatment device. Wires can now be easily secured to the bracket without danger of coming into contact with the hot device.

The preceding are lay descriptions of patents obtained from the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s public records and are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing contained herein is a legal description of any claimed invention, identification of novelty, or offer of legal advice. Because issued patents are based on applications often filed years earlier, the subject matter of some patents may have been available on the market for some time prior to the issuance of the patent. Additional information on these patents is available at www.uspto.gov.



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