Tuesday, February 24, 2009

US Patent 7494638 - Purified fullerene


Submarine patents used to be a big problem resulting in patents being issued many years or decades after initial filing with expiry dates based on the patent date. To solve this problem legislation was passed in 1995 changing the expiry dates to be based on the filing date rather than issue date but a few pre-1995 patents are still around. This patent from Mitsubishi (filed in 1990) may turn out to be the most famous nanotechnology-related submarine patent including extremely broad claims to purified fullerene structures. Richard Smalley, Harold Kroto, and Robert Curl are noted to have discovered fullerene in 1985 (winning the 1996 Nobel Prize in chemistry in the process) and some prior art related to their work was considered but apparently the prior art was insufficient to reject "purified" C60 for some reason. Claims 1-16 are listed below.

1. Purified C60.

2. Purified C70.

3. Purified solid C60.

4. Purified solid C70.

5. Crystalline C60.

6. Crystalline C70.

7. Purified crystalline C60.

8. Purified crystalline C70.

9. A macroscopic amount of purified C60.

10. A macroscopic amount of purified C70.

11. A product comprising crystalline C60.

12. A product comprising crystalline C70.

13. A free flowing particulate comprised of crystalline C60.

14. A free-flowing particulate comprising crystalline C70.

15. A solid comprising a macroscopic amount of crystalline C60.

16. A solid comprising a macroscopic amount of crystalline C70.