by Dennis Crouch
On May 11, 2021, the USPTO issued US Patent Number 11,000,000. Eleven million. Don’t forget that the office has issued another 1,000,000 design+plant patents and an additional 10,000 patents from 1791 to 1836 before the current numbering system was established. I was a junior in college at Princeton when Patent No. 5,500,000 issued to John Feagin covering a zip-tie method for suturing. Over the past 25 years, the number of U.S. patents has effectively doubled.
U.S. Patent No. 11,000,000 is one of a family of inventions owned by 4C Medical Tech. of Minneapolis directed to heart surgery tools. The inventors are Saravana Kumar and Jason Diedering. The patent claims a method of delivering and also repositioning a prosthetic heart-valve (AltaValve) that is used to repair a leaky-valve issue experienced by several million Americans (typically over age 75).
The invention itself is quite simple — basically, there is a catheter tube with a set of wire pairs. Each pair includes one wire with a looped end and a second with a straight end. The pairs work together to deliver, release, and position the prosthetic valve within the heart. The claims were rejected as obvious and then allowed after a fairly minor amendment.
The patent and its family have been prosecuted by Jeff Stone and his team at Barnes & Thornburg (Minneapolis). Check back here in Spring 2024 when I’m expecting an announcement for Number 12,000,000.