Legal victory

Strathclyde disinfectant pioneers win US patent battle

Lab work on disinfectant technology

A team of Scottish academics has won a three-year patent battle in the US over technology that can destroy airborne bacteria.

An appeal court has reversed a decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office and ruled that a Strathclyde patent on using light as a disinfectant was wrongly invalidated.

The decision strengthens the enforceability of the patent in the US lighting market.

The innovative technology was developed in the University’s Robertson Trust Laboratory for Electronic Sterilisation Technologies by Professor Scott MacGregor, Professor John G Anderson, Dr Michelle Maclean and Professor Gerry Woolsey.

The High Intensity Narrow Spectrum (HINS) light technology can remove harmful bacteria such as MRSA in the air and on surfaces using a narrow spectrum of visible light.

The discovery signalled a huge step forward in hospitals’ ability to prevent the spread of infection and it was developed for commercialisation around 15 years ago.

Lighting manufacturers worldwide, including Kenall and Hubbell which are both headquartered in the US, license the technology from Strathclyde.

Professor MacGregor, vice-principal of the University of Strathclyde and leader of the HINS-light research team said: “The patented HINS-light technology has proven to be a valuable resource in the fight against harmful bacteria and in preventing the spread of infection.

“The University looks forward to continued innovation and licensing in this area.” 

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