Is N95 Mask Patented?

N95 masks are an industry standard providing virus blocking technology and some patents claim similar features.
pharma patent attorney

N95 masks are an industry standard providing virus blocking technology and some patents claim similar features. Apart from the N95 mask, patents are filed to claim multiple features that provide safety from the virus. 3M owns hundreds of patents that mention the keyword N95.

Patent Application Drafting

Patent attorneys with significant experience of drafting provisional patents and non-provisional patent applications as per international standards work closely with the inventors to cover all possible variations of the invention after a thorough patent search is conducted.

International Patent Protection

International Patent Applications are filed before WIPO. The patent applicants can enter EPO under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and can file for patent protection. PCT patent applications may be filed, searched and examined at the IPO, USPTO or the EPO. However, while selecting International Searching Authority (ISA) at the international patent filing stage before the WIPO, it is advisable to select European Patent Authority if inventors wish to file and enter European countries at a later stage for patent protection. Indian Patent Office or the IPO can be selected as a cost saving measure at the time of filing a PCT International Application.

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N95 Masks Overview

The One-Fit Molded Cup disposable N95 respirators have been approved by NIOSH and are designed to fit most face sizes and shapes and they are offered in valve and non-valve versions. Therefore, they have been considered a universal, one- size respirator which provides outstanding respiratory protection.

It has been designed to be an economical choice for effective single-use respiratory protection. It is also 95% filtration efficient against solid particles and non-petroleum based liquid aerosols.

The mask efficiently meets with the CDC guidelines for M. tuberculosis exposure control and it has also been recommended for protection against many substances including pandemic diseases like H5N1 Avian Flu and SARs.

The molded nose bridge makes sure that it fits comfortably on a variety of face shapes and sizes. The main feature is the optional exhalation valve that expels warm air. The outer shells are strong and rigid which further prevents the mask to fall in situations like high humidity or moist environments. Also, the dual welded head straps attached to the mask keeps the respirator comfortable and still on the user’s face. Most importantly, the woven suspension straps reduce the chances of breakage and do not cause any inconvenience such as pulling or tangling hair.

The lightweight construction of the mask makes it easy and comfortable to wear for a longer period and causes less fatigue as compared to other masks. The mask also has a soft inner lining for extra comfort. It is also Hypo-allergenic for users with sensitive skin.

N95 Mask Specifications

The standard specifications of N95 masks are:

  1. Standards: NIOSH 42 CFR 84
  2. The mask type may include a molded cup or a molded cup with Exhalation Valve.
  3. The masks are extremely hypoallergenic.
  4. The filtration type used in the mask is N95 which is efficient to filter 95% of the solid particles.
  5. The straps attached to the mask are latex-free which would help in preventing any breakage or inconvenience caused by the latex straps.
  6. The size of the mask is universal, thus can comfortably fit on most of the face shapes and sizes.
  7. In N95 masks the letter ‘N’ is a respirator rating letter class, which stands for “Non-Oil” meaning that it has no-oil based particulates. This feature makes the mask to be easily used in the work environment.
  8. The masks filter out contaminants like specks of dust, mists, and fumes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the minimum size of .3 microns of particles or large droplets won’t be able to pass through the barrier.

EPO Patent Filing

After patent filing before the EPO, the representative patent attorney will receive European Search Report, with the corresponding Written Opinion. After receipt of this European Search Report, the patent applicant has six months to reply the deficiencies indicated in the Written Opinion by the Patent Examiner.

Generally, the representative patent attorney receives one or two Office actions. If the patent application is accepted, the patent application is granted. Once the European patent is granted, it is necessary to validate it in the designated countries of interest. The patent validation in Europe is performed through a representative patent attorney authorised to represent clients within the jurisdiction of Europe.

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Advocate Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology, Intellectual Property & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at rd (at) patentbusinesslawyer (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter.

Quoted in and contributed to 50+ national & international publications (Bloomberg, FirstPost, SwissInfo, Outlook Money, Yahoo News, Times of India, Economic Times, Business Standard, Quartz, Global Legal Post, International Bar Association, LawAsia, BioSpectrum Asia, Digital News Asia, e27, Leaders Speak, Entrepreneur India, VCCircle, AutoTech).

Regularly invited to speak at international & national platforms (conferences, TV channels, seminars, corporate trainings, government workshops) on technology, patents, business strategy, legal developments, leadership & management.

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