Addressing Intellectual Property Issues
Through Microscopy: A Case Study
THE PROBLEM: A manufacturer of specialized wound dressings found that a competitor was producing a dressing so similar it must be in violation of their patent. The alleged violation turned on the exact structure of the layers used in the dressing. MVA Scientific Consultants was asked to examine offending products to determine and illustrate the layer structure.
THE ANALYSIS: Sections through the layers with the disputed structure were prepared and examined in our field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM). Because the polymer layers had different compositions (polyurethane and silicone), their distributions could be shown by energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry (EDS) mapping.
THE IMAGE: The image above shows one example of the structural relation between the polyurethane (in red) and the silicone (in blue).
THE OUTCOME: MVA’s analyses clearly showed that the layer structure violated our client’s patent. Furthermore, our review of the data submitted by the offending company also showed they violated the patent.