Intellectual property ownership is a key  consideration for organisations contemplating embedding microfluidic technologies in their products and services. This page points to early public domain sources and expired patents describing key microfluidic techniques. Are you aware of earlier key materials?  Please e-mail us if you want to contribute to this collection!

Our thanks to contributors: Friedrich Menges, Lily Kim, Holger Becker, Henk Stapert, Frank Craig, Alexios Tzannis


 Measurement of Activity of Single Molecules

of O-D-Galactosidase * —  Boris Rotman, Stanford 1961

Description of chemical reactions in and between droplets


Simple Microfluidics—Cemal Eringen Pergamon Press 1964

?First? use of the term Microfluidics. Theory of mass, heat transfer and flow in small channels


Integrated Microconduits for Flow Injection Analysis— Analytica Acta 161 1984

?First? description and diagrams showing channels engraved in a microfluidic device


U.S. Patent 4,533,254A; 4,908,154A. (Filed 1984) Granted patent now lapsed. Apparatus for forming
emulsions. Assigned to the Microfluidics Corporation. First mention of  “Microfluidics” in a patent


Miniaturized Total Chemical Analysis System:

a Novel Concept for Chemical Sensing (purchase required) —Manz, Graber, Widmer 1990

?First? use of the term uTAS, description of key processes in small channels/tubes


Micromachining of monocrystalline silicon and glass for chemical analysis systems A look into next century’s technology or just a fashionable craze? – A. Manz*, , J.C. Fettinger, E. Verpoorte, H. Lüdi, H.M. Widmerand D.J. Harrison  Trends in Analytical Chemistry 1991


Capillary Electrophoresis and Sample Injection Systems integrated on a Planar Glass Chip —Harrison, Manz, Ludi, Widmer and Fan. Trends in Analytical Chemistry 1992


Proceedings of the 1st uTAS Conference (1994) published by Kluwer Academic Publishers, ISBN 0-7923-3217-2



US5746978      EP 687502

?First? Mention of DNA Testing Device 1995 and 1997


U.S. Patent 5,846,727. (Filed 1997, Granted) Microsystem for rapid DNA sequencing.

Steven A. Sopor, Jack D. Davies and Yuli Vladimirsky. First mention of soft lithography


Biosensors and Microfluidic Systems Hesketh et Al 1998


Broad (Still live!) MF Patents held by Caliper Life Sciences (building on the work of Michael Ramsey at Oak Ridge) eg

U.S. Patent 5842787 (Filed 1997) claiming channel with aspect ratio  <1

U.S. Patent 6,010,607 U.S. Patent 6,010,608 (Filed: September 1998)

U.S. Patent 6,001,229  U.S. Patent 5,858,195 (Filed: August 1995)


5842787 (1997) from Caliper, which claims a channel with aspect ratio <1 is much talked about


Microfluidic Manifolds by Hot Embossing for uTAS applications—Becker et Al 1998


Quantitative Analysis of Molecular Interaction in a

Microfluidic Channel: The T-Sensor— Kamholz et Al 1999

?First? Mention of the T-Sensor


Analysis of Patent Literature Classifications: Clinical Chemistry 2002 48

Analytical Microchips (Fabrication, Integration, Plastic Microchips, Simulation and Modelling)

Microfluidics (General, Mixing, Valves, Pumps)

Applications (Amplification/PCR, Chromatography, DNA Analysis, Electrophoresis, Immunoassay

Mass spectroscopy, protein analysis