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1. (WO2019028134) EARTH-BORING TOOLS INCLUDING ROTATABLE BEARING ELEMENTS AND RELATED METHODS
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CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. An earth-boring tool for drilling a subterranean formation, comprising: tool body having a central axis and a cavity extending into the tool body from an outer surface thereof;

bearing element assembly mounted within the cavity, the bearing element assembly comprising:

a lower retaining member;

an upper retaining member mounted to the lower retaining member, the upper retaining member comprising an aperture formed therethrough; and a spherical bearing element disposed over the lower retaining member and

extending through the aperture formed through the upper retaining member, the spherical bearing element being rotatable about three axes of rotation within the lower retaining member and the upper retaining member.

2. The earth-boring tool of claim 1, wherein the spherical bearing element i located on the tool body for rotation about at least one rotational axis responsive to contacting a subterranean formation.

3. The earth-boring tool of claim 1, wherein the lower retaining member comprises a recess formed in an upper surface thereof, the recess comprising a curved surface complementary in shape to a curved surface of the spherical bearing element such that the spherical bearing element abuts against the curved surface of the recess without hindering rotation of the spherical bearing element against the lower retaining member.

4. The earth-boring tool of claim 1 , wherein the lower retaining member comprises a cavity extending partially therethrough from an upper surface thereof.

5. The earth-boring tool of claim 4, wherein:

the cavity has a lower surface recessed relative to the outer surface of the tool body and a substantially cylindrical sidewall;

a central axis of the cavity extending normal to the lower surface of the cavity;

the spherical bearing element displaceable within the lower retaining member and the upper retaining member along the central axis of the cavity.

6. The earth-boring tool of claim 5, wherein the lower retaining member comprises a damping element disposed in the cavity thereof and configured to dampen a force applied by the subterranean formation on the spherical bearing element.

7. The earth-boring tool of claim 6, wherein the damping element comprises a spring.

8. The earth-boring tool of claim 6, wherein the damping element comprises a non-Newtonian fluid.

9. The earth-boring tool of claim 6, wherein the damping element comprises an elastically deformable material.

10. The earth-boring tool of any of claims 1 through 9, further comprising at least one cutting element mounted on the tool body, wherein the bearing element assembly is mounted rotationally behind the at least one cutting element on the tool body.

11. The earth-boring tool of any of claims 1 through 9, wherein the bearing element assembly is mounted on at least one of a face and a gage of the tool body.

12. A method of forming an earth-boring tool, comprising:

providing a tool body having a cavity formed therein, the cavity extending from an outer surface of the tool body partially into the tool body;

mounting a bearing element assembly in the cavity, the bearing element assembly

comprising:

a lower retaining member;

an upper retaining member disposed over and mounted to the lower retaining

member; and

a spherical bearing element disposed over the lower retaining member and

extending through an aperture formed through the upper retaining member, the spherical bearing element being rotatable about three axes of rotation within the lower retaining member and the upper retaining member.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein mounting the bearing element assembly in the cavity comprises mounting the bearing element assembly in the cavity by a threadless connection.

14. The method of either of claims 12 or 13, further comprising:

selecting the lower retaining member to comprise a cavity extending partially therethrough; and

providing a damping element within the cavity of the lower retaining member such that the spherical bearing element is disposed over the damping element and is movable along a translational axis as the damping element expands and contracts within the cavity of the lower retaining member.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising selecting the damping element to comprise one of an elastically deformable solid, a fluid, and a spring.