There are several patent tattoo and tattooing machines currently under review at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Humans have been applying tattoos to their skin for over 8,000 years. Historically, the dyes and inks used in tattooing applications were derived from natural substances, comprised of a heterogeneous mixture of pigmented particles. India ink is a common example; its contents are carbon particles suspended in a liquid.

Tattoo Application

Tattoos are created by the application of tattoo ink to the dermis, where it remains permanently. The pigment suspension is introduced into the skin by the up-and-down movement of the needles as well as the alternating pressure-suction action caused by the skin's elasticity.

The carriers of the pigment are introduced into the dermis diffuse and are absorbed through the skin's tissues. For the most part, the particles of insoluble pigment remain where they've been deposited. Once the skin heals, the pigmented particles stay within the tissue's interstitial space.

Reasons for Applying Tattoos

Although tattoos were traditionally used to design or ornament the skin, they are now sometimes used as a form of permanent cosmetics. These permanent cosmetic products, including lip color and eyeliners, are used by individuals who are unable to apply makeup, such as people with Parkinson's disease or arthritis.

Tattooing is also used in breast reconstruction purposes after a mastectomy, when the areola and nipple area are often reconstructed with a darker flesh tone to produce natural-looking breasts.

Furthermore, it is used in the treatment of hyper and hypo-pigmentation caused by:

  • Port-wine stains.
  • Skin grafts.
  • Vitiligo, and other dermatological conditions.

Conventional applications of tattoos are cosmetic, reconstructive, or decorative. However, individuals may change their minds after the tattoo has been created and have the tattoo removed.

Tattoo Removal Techniques

There is no simple or fully successful way to remove tattoos. Removal techniques such as salabrasion, dermabrasion, or surgical excision require invasive medical procedures that usually come with complications. These complications vary from infections to conspicuous scarring.

It should be noted that most inks used in tattooing applications are made from pigments with varying particle sizes. Small-sized pigment particles usually diffuse through the dermis, resulting in

  • Partial fading of the tattoo.
  • "Blurring" of the tattoo's lines.
  • "Bleeding" of the color.

Let's take a look at some of the tattoo patents currently on file with the USPTO.

A Case for Transporting and Sanitizing Tattoo Machines

USPTO Application No: 20170368214

Inventors: Frank Levy, Darren Levy

A sterilizing and storing case dimensioned and shaped for storing tattoo machines. There is a base and cover for the case. The cover connects to the base via a hinge which also secures the base along adjacent edges. There is a tray that supports the tattooing machine inside the case. The case's interior has one UV light and an electronic circuit board.

Workstation Apparatus for Tattoo Artist

USPTO Application No: 20170219163

Inventors: Dakota Gomez, Lisa Momberger

The apparatus provides a sterile environment for tattoo artists and decreases the time it takes to set up a conventional tattoo workstation and tattoo preparation. The apparatus includes a bib where tattooing supplies and equipment can be placed.

Medical Device and Skin Cover

USPTO Application No.: #20180140513

Inventor: Geana Jones

The skin cover is used to cover scars, tattoos and other such blemishes. The cover has two layers — an adhesive layer and a covering layer. The covering layer possesses translucent and transparent features that seamlessly blend with user's skin and facilitate quick and easy covering of blemishes.

Technique for imprinting tattoo designs

USPTO Application No.: #20180147400

Inventors: Matanane Brown, Joseph Harrington

A technique that automatically produces tattoo markings on any part of the body by providing controlled articulated arms that carry tattoo application equipment.

Code for Animal Identification Marking

USPTO Application No.: #20180173915

Inventors: Jonathan Betts-lacroix, Kyle Howard Heath

It describes an animal ID code comprising of two numbers, one of which is encoded with machine-readable marking while the other is encoded with human-readable marking. The two encodings and two numbers differ from each other.

Tattoo Applicator

USPTO Application No.: #20180192763

Inventors: Perry Privett. Damon Privett

A single-use sterile applicator for applying tattoo stencil. It is provided as a sterile, individually sealed, single-use applicator and also contains an antibacterial, antiviral, and tattoo-adhering compound for the hygienic application of tattoo stencil. Its anti-septic composition prepares the skin's surface to avoid the risk of cross contamination during tattoo application.

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