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Patent Given for ‘Electric Eye’ Device

Monday, 23 April 2012 11:49 AM

Scientists have developed a device that uses electronic signals to restore sight to blind people with damaged retinas.
Inventors of the prosthetic device, which bypasses damaged cells in the eye and sends electrical signals that are transmitted as visual images along the optic nerve to the brain, were award the 8 millionth patent granted by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office since 1836. In that time, 220,000 medical devices have been patented.
Researchers from Second Sight Medical Products Inc. of Sylmar, Calif., detailed the development of the device – known as the Argus II – and the ins and outs of patent protection for medical inventions in a paper published in the journal Technology and Innovation - Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors.
"Patent protection and significant federal support for innovation have played key roles in creating nearly 100 jobs at our company," said Dr. Robert J. Greenberg, president and CEO of Second Sight, noting the company has received 90 patents related to sight-restoration technology. "Once the Argus II has FDA approval, we expect to create hundreds more jobs over the next few years as we offer a breakthrough treatment for a previously untreatable medical condition."
Ram R. Shukla, a supervisory patent examiner at the U.S. patent office said the process allows for medical devices to move more quickly to the market, where they can benefit patients.
"We understand that successful commercialization of a medical device and the success of the health care industry are dependent on effective patent protection," wrote Shulka. "Thus, processing patents faster and more efficiently, and granting quality patents in a shorter amount of time, are crucial for the success of small businesses and entrepreneurs."
Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida Tampa Bay and president of the National Academy of Inventors, said consumers ultimately benefit most from speedy patent approvals.
"Not only do patents on medical devices ultimately improve health care by speeding needed and often lifesaving innovation to the patient's bedside,” he said, “but the value of medical device innovation to the U.S. economy and to job creation cannot be underestimated."

© HealthDay

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Patent number 8 million granted to a device that uses electronic impulses to restore sight.
Monday, 23 April 2012 11:49 AM
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