Monday, October 23, 2006

Top Ten Broadest US Patents for Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)

The following is based on a review of 2,642 patents related to MEMS and is based on patent breadth which does not necessarily indicate technical or economic value (or validity) of the patents.

1. US Patent 6481570 - Nortel Networks Limited, priority Sept. 29, 2000

Claim 1 - "A packaging atmosphere packaging a MEMS device, the packaging atmosphere selected to have a thermal conductivity exceeding the thermal conductivity of air."

2. US Patent 6441405 - Cavendish Kinetics Limited, priority June 4, 1998

Claim 1 - "A micro-mechanical element comprising: a discrete switching element; and a switching means for applying force to the switching element to move the switching element between two stable positions. "

3. US Patent 6904191 - Xerox, priority March 19, 2003

Claim 1 - "A micro-electro-mechanical system optical switch, comprising: a cantilever beam optical switch associated with a plurality of optical waveguides formed on a flexible cantilever beam for switching optical states. "

4. US Patent 6004912 - Silicon Light Machines, priority June 5, 1998

Claim 1 - "A method of lubricating a micro machine comprising the step of applying a lubricant to the micro machine wherein the lubricant is a compound having a permanent electric dipole moment."

5. US Patent 6433411 - Agere Systems Guardian Corp. and Lucent Technologies Inc. , priority May 22, 2000

Claim 1 - "A micro-electronic machined mechanical (MEMS) assembly comprising a silicon chamber having a silicon base and silicon sidewalls, and a MEMS device mounted on the silicon base within the silicon chamber."

6. US Patent 6707351 - Motorola, priority March 27, 2002

Claim 1 - "A microelectromechanical resonator comprising: a microelectromechanical resonant structure characterized by a mass and one or more selectively doped regions; a vaporizable material for altering the mass of the resonant structure."

7. US Patent 7019955 - Carnegie Mellon University, priority Sept. 13, 1999

Claim 1 - "An acoustic transducer, comprising: a substrate; a micromachined mesh fabricated on said substrate; a layer of material sealing said mesh to form a flexible diaphragm; and electronics connected to said diaphragm."

8. US Patent 7053736 - Teravicta Technologies, Inc., priority Sept. 30, 2002

Claim 1 - "A microelectromechanical device, comprising a beam configured to apply an opening force on a closed switch, wherein the opening force is substantially independent of a force stored in the closed switch."

9. US Patent 6445006 - Advanced Technology Materials, Inc., priority July 27, 1999 (possibly earlier due to CIP)

Claim 1 - " A microelectronic or microelectromechanical device, comprising: a substrate, wherein the substrate includes an oxide layer and an etch stop layer for the oxide layer; and a fiber formed of a carbon-containing material."

10. US Patent 7114397 - General Electric Company, priority March 12, 2004

Claim 1 - "An apparatus, comprising: a substrate defining a plane; a first conducting plate substantially normal to the substrate; and a second conducting plate substantially normal to the substrate and deformable in response to a pressure."