Archives for September 2012

Vermont Continues To Lead In Patent Innovations

Share on Twitter+1Share on LinkedInSubmit to StumbleUpon

Vermont has always had a distinguished history of innovation—starting with Vermont native Samuel Hopkins being issued the first patent by the Patent Office and continuing on to Vermont’s most recent accomplishment as the state with the most issued patents per capita in 2011.  2012 promises to be another banner year for Vermont as many individuals, companies, and research institutions continue to innovate.

For example, just last week the University of Vermont received another issued patent, U.S. Patent No. 8,268,795, entitled “Emergence of a R-type CA2+ channel (CAV 2.3) contributes to cerebral artery constriction following subarachnoid hemorrhage.”  The invention seeks to treat cerebral vasoplasm, a delayed and sustained arterial constriction in the brain that follows brain aneurisms or other brain hemorrhages and is, by treating the patient with certain types of voltage-dependent calcium channel inhibitors.  The inventors noted that after a hemorrhage smaller arteries in the brain were significantly constricted and that this condition is directly related to the concentration of Ca2+ ions.  The inventors found that the use of R-type voltage-dependent calcium channel inhibitors prevented or slowed the entry of calcium into cells via R-type voltage-gated calcium channels, thereby improving blood flow to the brain following the hemorrhage.

Another interesting and recently published University of Vermont patent application is U.S. Publication No. 2012/0209049, titled “Method and System For the Selective Oxidative Decarboxylation of Fatty Acids.” (Full disclosure, I drafted this application).  The method and system provides for selective, radically initiated oxidative decarboxylation to produce low viscosity renewable fuels from biologically derived fats and oils.  Typically, biologically derived fats and oils aren’t suitable for cold weather and require the addition of anti-gelling agents to allow for their use in suitable engines.  The processed devised by UVM inventors decarboxylates fatty acids and triglycerides using oxidants at a water/oil interface.  After processing, the decarboxylated fatty acids and triglycerides essentially resemble straight chain hydrocarbons and can be further refined as a fuel for specific engine types, e.g., compression ignition and spark ignition.  The reaction can be carried out at room temperature and pressure and has fewer unwanted byproducts than more traditional decarboxylation techniques.

A Vermont company that continues to innovate is the Hazelett Strip-Casting Corporation in Colchester.  A recent addition to Hazelett’s patent portfolio is U.S. Patent No. 8,267,669, titled “Magnetic Induction Pump.”  Prior art pumps for pumping molten metal had electrodes extending into a channel in which the molten metal also passed—an undesirable arrangement.  The pump devised by Hazelett inventors is “a pump in which there is no contact between electrodes, or any other portion of the pump, and the molten metal.”  The principle means for accomplishing this feat is a pump that rotates a (larger relative to the channel) bipolar permanent magnet about the conduit containing the molten metal thereby inducing a current in the molten metal, which operates to move the molten metal through the channel.

Since 1790 Vermont has continued to invent – stay tuned for more updates on Vermont’s cutting-edge companies, people, and technologies.