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Claims for Patent: 8,870,827

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Claims for Patent: 8,870,827

Title:Automatic injector
Abstract: An automatic injector dispenses a predetermined dose of medicament without a user having to manually force the needle into an injection site. The automatic injector includes a needle cover having a locked retracted position with respect to the injector housing prior to a medicament dispensing operation. The needle cover is operative to engage an injection site prior to a medicament dispensing operation.
Inventor(s): Young; Matthew Egerton (Over Cambs, GB), Raven; Sophie Rebecca (Swavesey Cambs, GB), Hurlstone; Christopher John (Newport Saffron Walden, GB), Rochford; Craig Malcolm (Monxton Andover Hants, GB), Mathews; Colin James (Godmanchester Huntingdon, GB), Hill; Robert L. (Abingdon, MD), Wilmot; John Glyndwr (Mount Airy, MD)
Assignee: Meridian Medical Technologies, Inc. (Columbia, MD)
Application Number:12/857,641
Patent Claims: 1. An automatic injector comprising: a housing; a cartridge container disposed within the housing; a cartridge received in the cartridge container, the cartridge containing a medicament and including a needle assembly to allow the medicament to be dispensed there through, the needle assembly comprising a needle; an actuation assembly disposed within the housing and having a stored energy source, the actuation assembly operative to drive the medicament through the needle during a medicament dispensing operation in response to release of stored energy from the stored energy source; and a needle cover received in the housing, the needle cover having an opening operative to receive there through at least part of the cartridge container, the needle cover having a locked retracted position with respect to the housing prior to a medicament dispensing operation, the needle cover having a surface operative to contact an injection site prior to a medicament dispensing operation.

2. The automatic injector of claim 1 further comprising a locking mechanism operative to prevent movement of the needle cover outward from the housing when the needle cover is in the locked retracted position, the locking mechanism comprising a locking tooth that engages the needle cover when the needle cover is in the locked retracted position.

3. The automatic injector of claim 2 wherein the locking tooth has a spring action extension that adjusts the position of the locking tooth with respect to the cartridge to accommodate cartridges of different sizes and needles of different sizes received in the cartridge container.

4. The automatic injector of claim 1 further comprising a locking mechanism operative to prevent movement of the needle cover outward from the housing when the needle cover is in the locked retracted position, the locking mechanism disposed within the housing to protect against tampering and dirt ingress via external contact of the automatic injector.

5. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein the needle cover has a locked extended position with respect to the housing after the medicament dispensing operation.

6. The automatic injector of claim 5 further comprising a locking mechanism operative to prevent movement of the needle cover into the housing when the needle cover is in the locked extended position, the locking mechanism comprising a locking arm connected to the cartridge container that engages an outer edge of the needle cover when the needle cover is in the locked extended position.

7. The automatic injector of claim 6 wherein the locking arm has a thick strut portion and a thin strut portion, the thick strut portion outwardly curved and the thin strut portion inwardly curved.

8. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein the needle cover surface operative to contact an injection site is an enclosed front end surface of the needle cover, the front end surface having an opening sized to permit passage of only the needle there through.

9. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein the needle cover surface operative to contact an injection site causes the automatic injector to initiate a medicament dispensing operation when the needle cover surface is pressed with sufficient force against an injection site.

10. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein the needle cover extends beyond the housing in the locked retracted position.

11. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein the needle cover is received in the housing between the housing and the cartridge container.

12. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein no part of the housing is operative to contact an injection site during a medicament dispensing operation.

13. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein the housing has an oval-shaped lateral cross section.

14. The automatic injector of claim 1 further comprising a non-removable needle sheath disposed about the needle.

15. The automatic injector of claim 1 further comprising a plunger rearwardly confining the medicament through an opening in the cartridge, the actuation assembly comprising a one-piece molded collet coupled to the plunger, the collet driving the plunger farther into the cartridge during a medicament dispensing operation.

16. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein stored energy released from the stored energy source during a medicament dispensing operation is not transferred to the needle cover.

17. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein residual stored energy released from the stored energy source is contained by the cartridge container, the cartridge, the housing, and the actuation assembly to prevent kickback of the automatic injector during a medicament dispensing operation.

18. The automatic injector of claim 1 further comprising a needle cover spring positioned inside the needle cover between an end surface of the needle cover and a front end of the cartridge container.

19. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein the cartridge container has a closed front end having an opening therein sized to receive only the needle there through during a medicament dispensing operation.

20. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein the cartridge container has multiple axle slots, each slot operative to receive and rotatably support a locking tooth, wherein the position of the locking tooth in one of the axle slots on the cartridge container is adjustable such that needles of varying lengths and cartridges of varying lengths and diameters can be accommodated within the cartridge container.

21. The automatic injector of claim 1 wherein the medicament comprises epinephrine or diazepam.

22. A needle cover for an automatic injector comprising: an elongated hollow body having an enclosed end surface at one end, the enclosed end surface having an opening sized to permit passage of only a needle of a cartridge, the hollow body having a pair of slots extending longitudinally on opposite sides of the hollow body, the hollow body having a plurality of locking projections extending inwardly into each of the slots.

23. The needle cover of claim 22 wherein the hollow body further has a pair of openings on opposite sides of the hollow body, the hollow body having a pair of laterally extending edge surfaces along each of the openings.

24. The needle cover of claim 22 wherein the hollow body further has a pair of grooves extending inside the hollow body in alignment with the pair of slots.

25. The needle cover of claim 22 wherein the hollow body further has a pair of cross slots, each cross slot extending across one of the pair of slots.
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