Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property)

Q: how to get patent number for our instrument?

we have made few modifications in NA fixator to make it easy and effective to use as distractor for closed IL nailing of femur and tibia and want to get its patent number but dont know the procedure, pl guide

2 Lawyer Answers
Bill Hulsey
Bill Hulsey PRO label

A: The US Patent & Trademark Office website provides resources for this question. If you desire more specific guidance, please let us know. I wish you the best in achieving your desired protection.

Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: From your question, my sense is that you think that the patent process is much like seeking a trademark or a copyright where there is a registration and you get a number assigned to you.

That is not how it works.

For a patent to be granted on a particular claim, there are many requirements but the most important is that the new idea not only be new (novel) but non-obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art of designing NA fixators (which as you know is a person of great training and experience). This hypothetical person of ordinary skill in the art has the ability to understand all languages and has access to everything ever written on this topic from the beginning of recorded history.

BTW--the examiners can use pieces of prior art that are solving someone analogous problems from fields far afield from medical devices. I do a lot of work in the area of spinal implants and surgical techniques and have had to ward off obviousness rejections that used components found in steam locomotives or in wheat threshing machines. My patents to cover ways of making sterile surgical slush to pack hearts and do other tasks during surgery have had to overcome mortar mixers and ice cream makers.

This process takes time from someone skilled to help you. You should look at some relevant patents in your space to get a better idea of the end product. My slide set on patent searching may be of use as it teaches basic skills using free tools.

If you found this answer helpful, you may want to look at my answers to other questions about patent law are available at the bottom of my profile page at

Kevin E Flynn

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