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Looking prior art for: US20160152452

Claim 1:

A pulley comprising:

  • a monobloc sheave comprising two opposing longitudinal faces, a transverse central recess and a concave external surface forming an annular groove which is provided in order to redirect a rope, the central recess and the concave external surface being fixed relative to each other,

  • a fixing rope of the sheave which extends through the central recess of the sheave, the fixing rope being in direct contact with the central recess,

  • a spacer element which is arranged in order to space the fixing rope away from the longitudinal faces of the sheave.

The aim of the pulley described in US20160152452A1 is to reduce friction between fixing rope and sheave.

This is achieved by using closed rope loop as a fixing rope and a spacer element and the spacer element is arranged to provide pressure to the fixing rope so, that the fixing rope moves away from the sides of sheave in two directions.

For better understanding, please see the drawings of different embodiments of claim 1: enter image description here

  • I fixed your link to the application with one that included images. This is an application. You need to focus on the specific claims. It is not trying to patent the general idea of a pulley which goes back to possibly 1500 BC. – Eric Shain Oct 10 '17 at 14:46
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The short answer is no it shouldn't be possible to get a patent on something that is already in use. In fact pulley's have been in use since more like 1500BC. So it doesn't seem likely that US20160152452 is actually trying to patent a simple pulley. What is actually patented is defined by the claims. To infringe on a claim, you need to implement each and every aspect of the claim. You have to look at those and not simply focus on the title or abstract. Also, claims in applications are almost always broader than what actually gets allowed. Here is the first claim.

  1. A pulley comprising:

    a monobloc sheave comprising two opposing longitudinal faces, a transverse central recess and a concave external surface forming an annular groove which is provided in order to redirect a rope,

    the central recess and the concave external surface being fixed relative to each other, a fixing rope of the sheave which extends through the central recess of the sheave,

    the fixing rope being in direct contact with the central recess, a spacer element which is arranged in order to space the fixing rope away from the longitudinal faces of the sheave.

I expect this claim will not get allowed as written because it doesn't specify clearly the design, but I could be wrong. I'd need to read the rest of the patent to clearly understand how some of the terms are defined. What I believe this patent is getting at is a specific design of the monobloc sheave in order to reduce friction without the cost of ball bearings. So the real question is whether the actual design of the pulley as defined by the eventual claims in a granted patent (and it may not be) are anticipated by prior art.

If you believe you have prior art to this application, you can submit it to the USPTO. This is called a Third Party Preissuance Submission. Here is another link that describes the process. It looks like there is a $180 fee for submitting up to 10 items of prior art.

  • Thanks Eric. That's right, what they are trying to patent is monobloc sheave with spacer element. But they are not using ball bearings. – Mikk Putk Feb 15 '18 at 9:24
  • For the third party submission in US it's already too late. But it is still possible for their EP application which is one of the family members of US20160152452A1. – Mikk Putk Feb 15 '18 at 9:25
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In the Colligo marine catalogue of 2013 on page 7 (http://pdf.nauticexpo.com/pdf/colligo-marine/catalog-2013/32670-22520.html) a picture is shown where a low friction ring is used in combination with a fixing rope to act as a pulley: Colligo marine low friction ring as a pulley

The low friction ring shown is in shape and function the same as the sheave described in the patent

  • Nice, but it doesn't have spacer element. – Mikk Putk Feb 7 '18 at 11:14
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Part of the claims are published in a casual publicaties in sailmagazine november 2012 issue: https://www.sailmagazine.com/gear/low-friction-rings: A sheave rotating in a fixing rope

The white rope, when pulled on one end, will rotate the black sheave. The combination of black sheave with the red/white rope tied through the center of the sheave will then act as a pulley. The mentioned article in sailmagazine describes the use of “low friction rings”, which is actually exactly the sheave type described in the patent.

  • 1
    While this is a nice picture of a pulley, it has almost nothing to do with the patent application. – Eric Shain Dec 13 '17 at 14:44

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