There have been over 10,000 patent applications describing a device that sutures wounds, with patent applications dating back to 1914. Sutrue is the first to successfully secure the intellectual property for a working device that can create automated sutures using a standard sharp suture needle.
There are two key design elements, now secured by successful patent applications, that underpin the success of all three Sutrue devices. The first is the springplate which allows sufficient turning force to be applied through the rollers onto the needle as it passes through the mechanism. The springplate works in conjunction with the second element, the roller-gear-ball combination, designed to rotate on the z-axis whilst still allowing the gear-train to function opening and closing as the needle passes through. In combination these drive the needle through a full 360 degree rotation.
The main claim for the patent is based on the springplate. Pre and post examination searches have shown that the springplate is an entirely novel mechanism which gives the granted patent a great deal of strength in its legal protection. The first UK patent application for the Sutrue technology was filed in May 2012. This was followed by an international patent application (PCT), which was converted into patent applications in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Russia and the USA.
The USA, Hong Kong, Australian, Russian and European patent applications have now been granted. The European patent office has a 9-month opposition period once the patent is granted. This has passed unopposed and no there have been no other claims in any other territories. The European patent is validated to give patent protection in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. It is expected that grant of the Brazilian, Canadian and Indian applications will be obtained once examination begins in those countries.