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Inventor of Ossur's Flex-foot nominated for European Inventor of the Year 2008

April 16, 2008 (Reykjavik, Iceland) Ossur, a trusted and global orthopaedics corporation and the developer of more scientifically advanced prosthetic innovations than any other company in the field, is pleased to announce that the inventor of its Flex-Foot, Van L. Phillips, has been nominated for the European Patent Offices Inventor of the Year 2008 award.

Mr. Phillips was 21 and still in school when he lost his foot in a water-skiing accident in 1976. Frustrated with the unresponsive and ill-fitting prostheses available at the time, Phillips switched his studies to prosthetics, graduating in 1981. One year later, he enlisted the help of an aerospace company to analyze a carbon fiber material cut like an J-shaped foot, to be attached to a sole below and a prosthetic socket above. When weight was applied by landing on the heel, it was converted into energy that literally put spring into the step, simulating the spring action of the normal foot and allowing the wearer to run and jump. This device marked the first real innovation to lower-limb prosthetic devices in recorded history.

Today, a variation of that device is the prosthesis of choice for nearly every amputee athlete in the world, no matter what the sport or the activity level. The Flex-Foot is a high performance carbon composite prosthetic foot, designed to store and release energy in order to mimic the reaction of the human anatomical foot/ankle joint. In fact, every sprinter who medaled in the 2004 Paralympic Games was wearing a Cheetah Flex-Foot, including bilateral amputee Oscar Pistorius, who is currently vying to compete alongside able-bodied athletes in IAAF-sanctioned events, and ultimately, the Olympics.

Mr. Philips is one of twelve nominees for this years European Inventor of the Year award, an annual program conducted by the European Patent Office (EPO), and the European Commission, that issues a prize in each of four categories: industry, small- and medium-sized enterprises/research institutes, non-European countries and lifetime achievement. EC Commissioner Gnter Verheugen will be on hand when the awards will be presented by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Danilo Trk, and EPO President Alison Brimelow, at a gala event in Ljubljana on 6 May, held in conjunction with the European Patent Forum 2008.

Ossurs president and CEO, Jon Sigurdsson, remarked that With more than 300 patents worldwide including 26 European, Ossur is clearly a leader in innovation and proud to continue the inventors legacy in everything we do.


Contact: Beverly Millson

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