The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues several thousand new patents a week. Not everything that originates from the patent office is just another variation on a rotary valve or a mobile communications device. In each weekly batch, a number of issuances demonstrate both the scope of human ingenuity and the expansive breadth of what the patent office considers novel, useful and inventive. What follows are a few recent highlights that, if nothing else, transcend the mundane.
Sildenafil citrate chewing gum formulations and methods of using the same, patent 6,531,114, assigned to Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. According to the text of the patent: "We claim a method for treating erectile dysfunction in an individual comprising the steps of providing a chewing gum composition that includes a therapeutically effective amount of sildenafil citrate in the chewing gum composition." Chewing causes the drug "to be released from the chewing gum composition into the oral cavity of the individual." Sildenafil citrate is better known as Viagra.