Origami Infrastructure

Taxpayer Funded Patents for Tuesday October 5, 2021

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This Tuesday, USPTO granted 6,759 new patents. One hundred fifty-one (151) of those patents benefitted from federal funding.  

The FedInvent Patent Report is available here if you want to see the data first.

To explore Tuesday's newly granted taxpayer-funded patents by Department, head straight to the Details page here.

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Here are the highlights from this week's taxpayer-funded patents.

Origami Highway Infrastructure — Read This Patent

The latest news on what's going on with the Infrastructure bill — H. R. 3684 — is that Congress might get around to voting on it by Halloween.  

In the meantime, there is no shortage of roadwork going on around the Capital Beltway. It’s noisy. The Jersey Barrier is a ubiquitous indicator that road construction is underway. According to Wikipedia, the Jersey Barrier, a concrete contraption to prevent cars from careening into each other and into construction crews. The Jersey Barrier was developed in the 1950s (introduced in its current form in 1959) at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, under the direction of the New Jersey State Highway Department to divide multiple lanes on a highway. A taxpayer-funded invention.  

Another taxpayer-funded highway infrastructure invention comes from a team of inventors at the University of Michigan. Patent 11136734, "Origami Sonic Barrier for Traffic Noise Mitigation," presents a novel way to reduce road noise on highways. The invention reduces the harmful effects of noise pollution, being a first-of-its-kind origami sonic barrier that can adapt and attenuate the dynamically changing dominant traffic noise spectra. The inventors used a classic origami fold technique — the Miura fold. The Miura fold is a method of folding a flat surface such as a sheet of paper into a smaller area. The fold is named for its inventor, Japanese astrophysicist Kōryō Miura. The crease patterns of the Miura fold form a tessellation (tiling) of the surface by parallelograms.

The invention reduces road noise pollution and provides a more useful and aesthetically pleasing alternative than the current barrier wall configurations. The invention also enables better airflow and the ability to customize the configuration based on the type of noise engineers seek to mitigate.

The inventors do a much better job explaining how their invention works here:

The Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) Division of the National Science Foundation funded this work.


Water Filtration With a Fancy Name

The US Army and the University of Arkansas are the assignees on US patent 11135555, "Chitosan-graphene oxide membranes." This invention is the work of five inventors—three from the US Army Engineer Research Development Center and two from the University of Arkansas.

Chitosan (CS) is a polymer and a derivative of chitin, the second most abundant naturally occurring biopolymer on Earth. CS is a promising low-cost, renewable alternative to petroleum-based synthetic polymers. CS is beneficial because of its biocompatibility, biodegradability, low toxicity, and antibacterial and hemostatic properties. GO particles were incorporated into a chitosan polymer solution to form a suspension cast as a membrane via evaporative phase inversion, allowing for scale-up for cross-flow testing conditions. Chitosan-graphene oxide (CSGO) nanocomposites are being investigated for drug delivery, bone tissue engineering, and water treatment.

The nanocomposite membrane can filter water and remove contaminants without fouling like other commercially available polymer-based water filters. The five inventors have worked together before. The team is the recipient of 10639592, "Chitosan-graphene oxide membranes and process of making the same." This patent was granted on May 5, 2020.

The patented membrane is scalable and tunable for many water contaminants, including pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, and other organic chemicals. The membrane uses chitosan, a low-cost, renewable biopolymer. Chitosan is the second most abundant biopolymer on Earth, making the membrane an environmentally friendly product choice. The main ingredient in chitosan (KY-to-san) is chitin, an extract from the shells of crustaceans such as shrimp, lobster, and clams. 

The US Army Environmental Quality and Installations Research Program provided funding for membrane fabrication and cross-flow filtration testing. The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is the research and development facility for the US Army Corps of Engineers. With more than 2,500 employees, $1.2 billion in facilities, and an annual program exceeding $1.6 billion, the ERDC supports the Department of Defense (DoD), the US Army Corps of Engineers (Civil Works), and other federal, state, and local agencies.

(This patent looks like it deserves a Y CPC classification indicating that it is useful in mitigating climate change. It is an environmentally friendly use of renewable biopolymers. It also facilitates cleaning up water supplies. But we don't make that call.)

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The Intelligence Community (IC)

Members of the IC funded three new patents this week. A biomedical device, a neurotrophic computing neural network on a chip, and an electronic warfare invention.

A Biomedical Device

Vanderbilt University received 11135582, "Cartridge systems, Capacitive Pumps, and Multi-Throw Valves and Pump-Valve Systems and Applications of Same." A biomedical microfluidic mechatronic device. This work was funded in part by all of these agencies:

  • DOD Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)

  • DOE Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • HHS NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

  • HHS NIH National Cancer Institute (NCI)

  • Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Intelligence, Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA)

A Neural Network On a Chip

The National Security Agency at Fort Meade, MD, received 11138500, "General Purpose Neural Processor." This invention is a hardware-implemented on-chip neural network for neuromorphic computing implemented with programmable resistors. Neuromorphic computing is the use of very-large-scale integration systems containing electronic analog circuits to mimic neuro-biological architectures present in the nervous system, essentially the brain. Neuromorphic computing is used in artificial intelligence. Advances in neurotrophic computing are a scientific priority for the US and China.  

Tuesday's Bayh-Dole Scofflaws

There are three Bayh-Dole scofflaws this week. A Bayh-Dole scofflaw is an assignee on a patent that didn't fulfill their statutory requirement to provide information on who funded the research that led to the inventions claimed in the patent.

Electronic Warfare 

Patent 11139883, "Combined spatial and time multiplexer." BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc. is the assignee on this patent. The two inventors, Michael A. Zalucki of Hollis, New Hampshire, and Tyler Hayslett of Nashua, New Hampshire, are involved in developing electronic warfare capabilities. Electrical Engineer Michael Zalucki patented other technologies helping to advance our electronic warfare products. 

According to the Congressional Research Service, Electronic warfare (EW), as defined by the Department of Defense (DOD), are military activities that use electromagnetic energy to control the electromagnetic spectrum ("the spectrum") and attack an enemy. The significant player in this space is the US Air Force and the Space Force. So we'll put this one in the DOD and Department of the Air Force bucket. We would guess it's part of the Air Force's Space-Based Infrared System program, but that's just a guess.

(On September 29, 2021, The Congressional Research Service released its latest Defense Primer on Electronic Warfare.)

BAE also received patent 11139217, "Post-Production Substrate Modification with FIB Deposition." The inventors are electrical engineers and computer scientists working in BAE's space operations. Putting half of a contract number into the government interest statement doesn't count as being responsive to the Bayh-Dole requirements even if your contract is classified. The prognosticators give this one to National Reconnaissance Office. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is the US Government agency in charge of designing, building, launching, and maintaining America's intelligence satellites (and the chips that go into them.)

New Monoclonal Antibodies from Boston

On Tuesday, USPTO granted patent 11135282, "Humanized Influenza Monoclonal Antibodies and Methods of Use Thereof." Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc. is the assignee. Both Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School are prolific patent recipients. They know how to fill out the government interest statement. Not this time.

The government interest statement says, 

This invention was made with government support under [ ] awarded by [ ]. The United States government has certain rights in the invention.

The patent includes the government interest statement sans data.

The inventor, Dr. Wayne Marasco, is a Professor in the Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an Associate Physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital. 

The Marasco lab has advanced therapeutic Mab development through NIH-NIAID product development programs in SARS, West Nile virus, and Influenza A infections. Their pioneering studies in influenza, which resulted in our finding of a "universal" vaccine target that can provide broad-spectrum protection against a wide range of influenza A viruses, led to a paradigm shift in the field of influenza immunotherapy and vaccine development.

Mab stands for monoclonal antibodies.

The National Foundation of Cancer Research (NFCR) Center for Therapeutic Antibody Engineering (CTAE) at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, founded by Marasco, is working in a broad range of discovery and translational research in cancer. The group is uniquely placed to advance their novel immunotherapy discoveries from bench to bedside.

On this one, the FedInvent prognosticators assign the patent to the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. 

What's Happening At the Y?

This week there are seven patents with inventive elements that are officially designated as being beneficial in mitigating the effects of climate change. This is indicated by the presence of a Y CPC classification on the patent.

Technologies for Adaptation to Climate Change

11135223  Compositions and methods for inhibiting Dkk-1

The inventors at Yale University received funding from both the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Both institutes are part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

11136377  Antibodies and Fc fusion protein modifications with enhanced persistence or pharmacokinetic stability in vivo and methods of use thereof

The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, is the assignee on this patent. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at NIH funded this work.

Capture, Storage, Sequestration or Disposal of Greenhouse Gases [GHG]

11135564  Porous polymer compositions for the synthesis of monolithic bimodal microporous/macroporous carbon compositions useful for selective CO2 sequestration

The Department of the Army's Army Research Office (ARO)funded this work.

Reduction of Greenhouse Gas [GHG] Emissions, Related to Energy Generation, Transmission or Distribution

11136679  Electrochemical and photoelectrochemical oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural to 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid and 2,5-diformylfuran

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation is the assignee on the patent. The Department of Energy Office of Science funded this work.

11137169  Multi-fluid, earth battery energy systems and methods

The Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) funded this work and is the assignee on the patent.

11139403  Solar panel

The solar panel patent is from SunPower for high-efficiency solar cells arranged in a shingle design. Solar shingles are a big product in the renewable energy market. Department of Energy funded this invention.

11139410  Solar cell structure with back surface reflector

The US Air Force funded the work by The Boeing Company that led to this invention.

Patents By The Numbers

On Tuesday, October 5, 2021, USPTO granted 151 patents that benefitted from taxpayer funding. One hundred and forty-five (145) patents contain government interest statements. Nineteen (19) patents have a federal government agency as an assignee or an applicant. There are 173 funding references to federal departments. In addition, there are 102 funding references to 17 entities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Ninety (90) patents have assignees from the HERD — Higher Education Research & Development entities — colleges and universities.

Patent Count By Department

Tuesday's taxpayer-funded patents are the work of 531 inventors. The 523 American inventors are from 40 states and the District of Columbia. The eight foreign inventors are from five countries.  

Patent Count By Technology Center

Here is this week’s patent count by Technology Center. The FedInvent Patent Report has the Art Unit for each patent with the summary information.

Before We Go

That's this week's FedInvent patents update. Please explore the FedInvent Patent Report. There is much more information there than we could jam into a newsletter.

Please reach out if you have questions or suggestions. You can reach us at info@wayfinder.digital

Thanks for reading FedInvent. See you Friday for this week's patent application rundown.  


The FedInvent Team

About FedInvent

FedInvent tells the stories of inventors, investigators, and innovators. Wayfinder Digital's FedInvent Project follows the federal innovation ecosphere, taxpayer money, and the inventions it pays for.