There have been over 10,000 patent applications describing a device that sutures wounds, with patent applications dating back to 1914. However, Sutrue is the first to successfully secure the intellectual property for a working device that can create automated sutures using a standard medical needle.
There are two main elements of the design that have been the governing factors of the patent application for all three Sutrue devices. The first is the spring plate, which allows a force to be applied through the rollers onto the needle. This works in conjuncture with the second element, the roller-gear-ball combination, designed to rotate on the z-axis whilst still allowing the gear-train to function.
The initial search returned by the European Patent Office determined the springplate within the patent application to be a novel feature. 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.