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FedInvent Patent Newsletter for September 14, 2021

 Good Afternoon,

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, USPTO granted 7,216 new patents. One hundred eighty-two (182) of these patents cited taxpayer funding. The FedInvent Patent Report for Tuesday, September 14, 2021, is here.

It is an interesting week in the federal innovation ecosphere so far. A climate change patent funded by USDA isn’t your usual climate change, carbon sequestration gizmo. This is a patent for weather modification, a novel way to do cloud seeding to cause precipitation.

Precision

The Department of Energy has a patent for a precision cooking device. Lasers evenly injecting heat into food items being cooked. The patent notes that all currently available cooking methods are incapable of supplying heat precisely and accurately while at the same time providing culinary versatility. The Army funded and Orbital Science was granted a patent for precision-guided munitions delivery in GPS denied environments (11118909) and a Precision Delivery Vehicle from Skyworks. More on this one below.

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Before we get to this Tuesday's patents, we want to share information on the FedInvent Patent Report that comes with your subscription.

Creating the FedInvent Newsletter and Patent Report

Each week FedInvent analyzes newly granted patents and published patent applications. First, we build a weekly catalog of taxpayer-funded patents that identifies the inventions, the inventors, and the entities who received these patents. Then, we map the patents back to the agency that funded the R&D that led to the new inventions. We create data, tables, and assemble important patent details. From there we assemble the FedInvent Patent Report and write the newsletter.  

The Analysis

The analysis page is data-rich and easy to navigate. To explore the data, click on the topic on the gray panel on the left. As each panel opens, it presents each Tuesday's or Thursday's data. 

Here is the shortlist of the information you'll find on the Analysis page:

  • The List — Just a list of all of the patents with the title and a link. (We like lists.)

  • Count By Department — A count of how many times a department is cited as a funding source on the taxpayer-funded patents.

  • Patents By Department — The patents funded by each department with links to the summary panel on the Details Page.

  • Emerging Technology — Patents identified by USPTO as beneficial in mitigating the impact of climate change.

  • The Health Complex — Patents funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, and each of its institutes and other HHS subagencies like the FDA, CDC, and others. (We’re working on the Military Health Complex information. It’s coming soon.)

  • Follow the HERD — HERD is the term used by the National Science Foundation to identify Higher Education R&D entities that receive federal funding. This section is a work in progress. Please stay tuned.

  • Count By Technology Center — The count of taxpayer-funded patents examined in each Tech Center. Technology Center data isn’t available for patent applications.

  • Count By Scientific Domain — See Below.

  • Inventors — Data on the inventors.

  • Assignees — Data on the patent owners.

  • About Tech Centers — Provides more details on which types of inventions are examined in each Tech Center.

  • How To Use This Page — How To Use The Page (Not very creative, sorry.)

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Count By Scientific Domain 

FedInvent uses the Cooperative Patent Classifications (CPCs) on the patents to create a high-level view of the scientific and technical inventions in the newly granted patents.

Global patent offices use patent classification as their lingua franca — the common language — for exchanging information about inventions and what scientific and technical art a patent contains. The classifications assigned to a patent are used by patent examiners to find prior art and to determine if a patent's claims are novel. In addition, global enforcement of patent rights, treaties, and agreements use classifications to identify the specific technology covered by an agreement. 

Count By Scientific Domain Example

The Count By Scientific Domain data has four columns.  

  • The CPC, along with a link to CPC definition at USPTO.

  • The high-level title of the classification symbol.

  • Two columns showing the number of times the CPC appears on the patents.

About the Count Columns — The first count shows the First Inventive Classification. The "First" classification is the most descriptive of the inventive content of the patent. If you're a patent geek, this is similar to the Original classification — OR — used in the US Patent Classification System. The second column counts the number of times other Inventive classifications appear in the patents. This data is known as the Cross Reference classification — XR. 

FedInvent Is Classification Maximalist

The patent system is the world's most extensive, organized, longitudinal collection of scientific, engineering, and technology information on invention. The classification system is used to organize the collection. (If you hire a patent professional who tells you classifications don’t matter — RUN!!!)

The CPC classification system is a purpose-built language that describes the subject matter of a patent. The CPC symbols create a holistic picture of the content of a patent or patent application. Perhaps most importantly, classifications tell you what the Patent Office thinks the invention is. The more you know about classification, the more you'll know what inventions are novel, useful, and non-obvious, and more importantly which are not.


The FedInvent Details

The FedInvent Details Page contains summary data on each of the patents on the Analysis Page. It also includes links to the full-text and PDF versions of the patent (or patent applications) at USPTO.

Patents are organized by the funding department and the patent or publication number. You can select the department you want to explore using the menu on the right or scroll through the list.

Within each department group, the patents are in patent number numeric order. If a patent was funded by more than one agency, it will appear in the section of each of the agencies that funded the research and development. By showing a patent with each of the departments that funded it you have a complete view of the funding inventors received from each department.

To view the summary of each patent click on the panel to expand it. 

When you click the panel, it opens to reveal the following information:

Funded By — This section shows the agencies that funded the grants, contracts, or other research agreements that resulted in the patent. The information is presented in a hierarchy starting at the Federal Department moving down to the agencies, subagencies, and offices that funded the work. Here is an example:

We do our best to provide complete funding information. FedInvent only presents funding information we can confirm.

Applicants and Assignees — The FedInvent Reports include both the Applicants and the Assignees on a patent. Showing both the applicant and assignee information is a more accurate picture of where important taxpayer-funded innovation is happening and who collaborated to make it happen. Here is an example.  

INVENTOR(S) — The inventors appear in the same order as they appear on the patent. FedInvents presents the names in first name/last name order.

ABSTRACT — The abstract as it appears in the patent.

FILED — The date of the patent application. 

APPL NO — This is the patent application serial number. If you'd like to learn more about how application serial numbers work, you can go here.

ART UNIT — The Art Unit where a patent is examined. (The Art Unit isn't available for published patent applications.)

CURRENT CPC — Current CPC provides a list of the Cooperative Patent Classification symbols assigned to the patent.

The symbol presented in BOLD is the "first" classification, the most relevant classification on the patent. The date that follows the symbol is the most recent revision to the definition of the art classed there. The CPC symbols all have links to the definition at USPTO. Here's an example.

CURRENT CPC

Horticulture; Cultivation of Vegetables, Flowers, Rice, Fruit, Vines, Hops or Seaweed; Forestry; Watering

A01G 15/00 (20130101) Original (OR) Class

Spraying Apparatus; Atomising Apparatus; Nozzles

B05B 5/0255 (20130101)

VIEW PATENT — As of June 2021, we include two ways to view a patent at USPTO. There are two links, one to the Full-Text Version and one to the PDF version of the patent. You can navigate from the full-text version to the PDF version to view the images. Just click the images button.  

(If you start on the PDF and use the Full-Text button on the top of the USPTO page, you'll get an error message. Unfortunately, that's how the USPTO works.)

If you have questions or need more information, please get in touch at info@wayfinder.digital.

Here are the highlights.


An Ammo Backpack — Read This Patent

The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC-Crane) in Crane, Indiana was granted patent 11118885, "On-demand high capacity and speed portable part or consumable item carrier and belt feed system". This invention comprises a portable carrier backpack and belt feed system for at least 650 rounds of 7.62 x 51mm NATO disintegrating belt cartridges for the MK-48 (Mark 48) lightweight machine gun. By our estimation, that's about 45 lbs. of ammunition on the back of a machine gunner. Inventors Christopher Williamson and Lawrence Shirley assert a 50% weight reduction, greater ammunition capacity, and reduced material and manufacturing costs over current backpack ammunition systems. 

Patent examiner Jonathan C Weber cited four non-patent prior art retrieved from online sources including one from YouTube: TYR Tactical, "HURON.TM. MICO Machine Gunners Pack", Feb. 2, 2012,


Planes and Drones

From the US Navy inventors, Shawn Kerry McGann and Nicholas McGaha devised an aerodynamic UAV jettison apparatus comprising a payload bay mounted beneath an aircraft. The advantage of patent 11117667 "Unmanned aerial vehicle jettison apparatus", according to claims by McGann and McGaha, is to transport and release a UAV or multiple UAVs close to target areas thereby increasing UAV flight duration and operating range. Patent data from the inventors and their attorney/agent suggest Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), China Lake, CA is the R&D source.


Things That Go Boom

Also, from NAWCWD, China Lake this week comes patent 11118886, "Shock mitigation systems". Inventors Benjamin M. Blazek and Lee R. Hardt join munition components such as the fuse mechanism (or fuzewell), rocket motor and warhead so they don’t break apart. The problem, according to Blazek and Hardt, is that weapons made from materials of dissimilar strength and structure are susceptible to environmental stress and vibrational pressures that can cause a slow cook-off (SCO), or fastcook-off (FCO) release. In simpler words, bombs can accidentally burn or blow up. This invention improves munition survivability until it should blow up.


Precision Delivery Vehicle

Skyworks Aeronautics Corp of Salt Lake City, UT (formerly Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc) was granted patent 11117666 "Precision delivery vehicle", funded by DARPA. The original FY year 2006 contract intent was the development of a "Combat Search and Rescue Vertical Takeoff and Landing High-Speed Gyrodyne Demonstrator Aircraft”, but the patent describes a fixed-wing, rotor, and precision guidance system for delivery of a payload to a target. The patent does not specify types of payloads and targets but the sole inventor, David Groen who is also a co-founder of Skyworks, is open to options. He finalizes disclosure with two possibilities: (1) "In many instances, the precision delivery vehicle is contemplated to be disposable" and (2) "In still other configurations, the entirety, or substantially the entirety of the precision delivery vehicle can be retrieved for reuse".

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Patents By the Numbers

On Tuesday, September 9, 2021, FedInvent identified 182 taxpayer-funded patents within the 7,216 newly granted patents. Of the 182 patents, 175 have government interest statements. Forty (40) have a federal government department as the assignee. The count includes 180 utility patents and two plant patents from Rutgers University. These patents are the work of 607 inventors. There are 603 American inventors from 36 states and the District of Columbia. Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) colleges and universities appeared on 95 of Tuesday's patents. 

Thanks for reading FedInvent. We hope you’ll also enjoy the FedInvent Patent Report.  We’ll be busy at midnight tonight when the new patent applications drop.  We’ll see you Friday with the latest patent applications from the Federal Innovation Ecosphere.

The FedInvent Team.

About FedInvent 

Wayfinder Digital's FedInvent Project follows the federal innovation ecosphere from Federal R&D. FedInvent tells the stories of inventors, investigators, and innovators. We follow the taxpayer money and the inventions.