Dip Pen Nanolithography is a process for deposition of nanoscale materials onto a substrate. (Image: NanoInk)
November 6, 2007 — NanoInk Inc., an Illinois-based company that specializes in nanometer-scale manufacturing and applications development, has been awarded three additional patents related to its core patented Dip Pen Nanolithography patterning technology for nanoscale manufacturing.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted patent number 7,098,056, titled Apparatus, Materials and Methods for Fabrication and Catalysis. The patented technology involves the use of DPN patterning for immobilizing catalyst materials and related compounds on surfaces. These regimes are shown to be primarily useful for growing uniform polymeric structures such as carbon nanotubes.
In addition, patent number 7,199,305, Protosubstrates, describes the design, method of fabrication and compatibility with nanolithography of a prototyping tool. The tool consists primarily of a surface suitable for designing tests of nanoscale materials (most notably electronic) and components for connecting that surface to external, conventional test equipment.
Finally, patent number 7,279,046, Method and Apparatus for Aligning Patterns on a Substrate, describes a method of aligning features created via DPN patterning with extremely high precision. The method, which works for successive DPN patterning steps and integration with other forms of lithography, employs scanning probe microscopy, integrated video capture and novel software algorithms.
Other related intellectual property activity at NanoInk includes two reexaminations. Recently, in a reexamination initiated by NanoInk, the patent office cancelled all but three claims of BioForce Nanosciences Inc.’s patent number 6,573,369.
Also, the patent office narrowed the scope of the three remaining claims in the reexamination and granted NanoInk’s reexamination request for a counterpart divisional BioForce patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,998,228. This reexamination remains pending.
“While one may question the PTO’s decision to allow three narrow claims, we are nevertheless pleased to see that the PTO substantially reduced the scope of the initial patent,” said Tom Levesque, vice president of NanoInk’s Dip Pen Nanolithography Business. “NanoInk will continue to aggressively pursue every means to defend our intellectual property investments.”