VACCINES & SPECKLES

Published Taxpayer-Funded Patent Applications for August 12, 2021

Good Afternoon from FedInvent,

Here’s the latest from the federal innovation ecosphere.  

THE INNOVATION AGENDA

This week the Senate voted for the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and then went on holiday.  There is significant funding for R&D within the bill.  We’re in the process of digging the R&D-specific numbers out of the 2700+ pages.  You can read it here. Probably not in one sitting.

It looks like there’s about to be another round of Amazon Web Service (AWS) vs. Microsoft Azure in the epic battle for cloud dominance in the federal innovation ecosphere.  Last month, DOD threw in the towel on the protest over who would win the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI).  They are moving to a more open and flexible contracting model. Kudos on that.

This week we learned that the National Security Agency (NSA), officially part of DOD, quietly awarded a new $10 bill cloud contract to Amazon for AWS. Microsoft filed a protest against Amazon this time.  The decision on the protest is due at the end of October.  It’s hard to do a digital transformation or invent new digital things if you are busy protesting.  

On the patent front, one of the anti-patent people we cross paths with from time to time schooled us on how two-thirds of patents never make it to the marketplace.  Our response? That means that one-third do.  This two-thirds/one-third legend has been around for a while.  The FedInvent mission is to analyze the patents and patent applications funded by taxpayers to see if this "rule" holds.  Please stay tuned.

Take Me To The Data

On to the applications. We’ll start with the numbers first this week.


PATENT APPLICATIONS BY THE NUMBERS

On Thursday, August 12, 2021, FedInvent identified 120 newly published taxpayer-funded patent applications. The applications have 136 references to federal agencies and departments that provided funding to the inventors. One hundred fourteen (114) of these applications contained government interest statements. Twenty-one (21) applications have the federal government as the assignee or the applicant.

These 120 patents are the work of 401 inventors. Three hundred seventy-six (376) of the inventors are American. The American inventors are from 33 states and the District of Columbia. There are 25 foreign inventors. 

THE HEALTH COMPLEX

Department of Health and Human Services was a funding source for 57 applications. Fifty-one (51) identified NIH as the source of funding.  The NIH institutes were cited 66 times.  National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and National Cancer Institute (NCI) each had nine published applications.

The Military Health Complex funding, health-related R&D funded by the DOD, and Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) contributed to the work done on eight patents this week.  You can see the funding details on the weekly FedInvent Patent Applications Report.

THE OTHER NUMBERS

Higher Education R&D (HERD) entities were cited as an application on half (60) of this week’s pre-grant patent application publications.  This included seven applications that are the collaborative work of two or more entities. This week a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) is the assignee on eight applications.


A COVID-19 VACCINE APPLICATION — READ THIS APP

On March 13, 2020, while everyone was racing to buy toilet paper and canned goods, Johnson & Johnson announced that its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies had entered a collaboration with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston to support the development of a preventive vaccine candidate for COVID-19. The parties have commenced preclinical testing of multiple vaccine prospects, intending to identify by the end of the month a COVID-19 vaccine candidate for clinical trials.  Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts is a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.  This work was funded by Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

Unlike other pharmaceutical patent applications where there is an explosion of organic chemistry breaking out before you even hit the Background of the Invention, this one is readable after 18 months of seeing the detested COVID image and listening to COVID news.  

The team at Janssen Pharma, and Beth Israel Medical Center filed their patent application (20210246170) on January 30, 2021.  Around that time the rest of us were blissfully ignorant about what was to follow and were happily exchanging text messages with COVID memes, the researchers were already at work. 

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THE MILITARY HEALTH COMPLEX

This week’s eight patent applications for healthcare innovations from DOD and DVA include three for tissue regeneration.  One from a collaboration between inventors at Tufts College, University of Pittsburgh, and Wake Forest University Health Sciences.  The second, 20210244854, is from the University of Arkansas.  The third, 20210244659, is the work of inventors from Stanford that presents a reconstruction of corneal stromal tissue using biomaterials.  According to the National Library of Medicine, approximately 90% of the corneal volume is the stroma. This work was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and the National Eye Institute at NIH.  

There is an application, 20210244799, from the University of Oklahoma for treating blast-related hearing loss.  The University of Washington has an application for treating Celiac disease (20210246437) funded by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Most notable among the group is…


CBD FOR TREATING HIGH CHOLESTEROL

The most interesting application from the military health complex is an application from the University of Colorado for "Novel Systems And Methods For The Therapeutic Use of Cannabinoids or Cannabinoid Analogs."  Cannabidiol is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant. The application identifies methods for using CBD to improve treatment of disease conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and Alzheimer's disease.  

The application notes that the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), has been proposed as a treatment for nephrotoxicity, colitis, cancer, neuroinflammation, cardiomyopathies, and diabetic complications.

DARPA funded this work as part of the Subcellular Pan-Omics for Advanced Rapid Threat Assessment (SPARTA) cooperative research program. This effort supports development of a new technological system to rapidly determine how drugs or biological or chemical agents exert their effects on human cells. And while the project was designed to help prevent or reduce mortality during possible armed conflicts, the larger goal is to develop new techniques to analyze cellular processes for a variety of applications, including biomedicine.


INTERNET OF SAFETY THINGS 

Anyone responsible for the care and protection of a person who is disabled or a fall risk understands the problem with conventional alert technology devices usually containing an accelerometer that can detect a fall. First, they don’t work if the person you are taking care of doesn’t wear them.  They aren’t popular in the shower even though they are waterproof. Bathrooms can be problematic for people with disabilities.  The device is not much use if it is sitting on the counter and not on the person taking the shower.  They have to be charged so they sit in a charger on the nightstand over so they aren’t being worn when the user needs to make a bathroom visit in the middle of the night.  This means the device is not on when there is a  higher risk of a fall — in the middle of the night in the dark.  We know.  We’ve had two trips to the intensive care unit after the nighttime fall of a loved one while the fall alert device was in the charger.  

Enter the application from a team of scientists Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick, and the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, both in New Jersey. 20210250420 ", DEVICE-FREE ACTIVITY IDENTIFICATION USING FINE-GRAINED WIFI SIGNATURES," presents a novel way of using wireless monitoring to detect different profiles of activity.  The patent application notes that the invention relates to the identification of human daily activities, including both in-place activities and walking movements in home environments, without the monitored individual being required to wear any devices. The information of activities being tracked may be an important indicator to monitor well-being and suggest behavioral changes that improve health. The exemplary embodiments involve matching real-time channel state information patterns provided by WiFi devices against activity profiles to distinguish various activities. The exemplary embodiments may be used to monitor human activities and provide feedback for healthcare improvement, and may also help other applications which rely on identified users' in-home activities, such as smart home applications.

It is a good Thursday for New Jersey.


KEEPING TRACK OF BIG PHYSICAL THINGS

Three inventors from Purdue University created an ultra-sensitive speckle analyzing system to measure changes on the surface of an object (20210247180), notably big objects.  This work was funded by the National Science Foundation.

While the science disclosed in the application is much more precise,  the invention works like this — you create a reference speckle image.  Then you generate a subsequent speckle image. The system includes a processor configured to generate a cross-correlation between the plurality of speckles of the reference image and the subsequent speckle images, to represent a change in the speckle configuration. The reference and the subsequent speckle images having a plurality of speckles on a background. This technology enables precisely measuring changes in surface contours.

The invention addresses the need to measure changes in a surface of an object in a precise manner. The changes in the surface can be the result of translational movements of the object, a part of a bridge, for example, has moved or because of internal changes in the object from compressive forces, thermal stresses, etc.). 


WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE Y?

This week the single emerging climate change invention with a Y CPC is from Raytheon.  The invention is classified as an efficient propulsion technology, e.g. for aircraft.  This application was funded by DARPA.  We were more shocked that Raytheon included a contract number on the application than we were with the climate change elements of 20210246850, "METHOD OF REDUCING LOW ENERGY FLOW IN AN ISOLATOR OF A FLIGHT VEHICLE AIR BREATHING ENGINE."


THE BEST OF THE REST

There is nothing new from the intelligence community this week.  There is one suspicious application from one of the regular Bayh-Dole scofflaws, Rampart Communications in Annapolis, MD.  The FedInvent prognosticators put them in the NSA bucket.  The other Bayh-Dole scofflaw this week is United Technology, which is part of Raytheon Technologies.  A heat exchange invention for a gas turbine engine.

GREEN ADHESIVES

USDA is the assignee on 20210246343, "ENHANCED ADHESION OF COTTONSEED PROTEIN WITH CATECHOL-CONTAINING PROMOTERS." Proteins have been used as "green" wood adhesives. Cottonseed protein is a byproduct of cotton production and can be considered an attractive choice as a component for wood adhesive formulations. Scientists are looking for more agro-based, less hazardous, and more eco-friendly adhesives. Wood Adhesives and Binders Market was valued at $15.72 Billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $23.13 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 4.96 % from 2020 to 2027. The majority of the current wood adhesives and binders are mostly prepared from fossil-derived polymers.  USDA is contributing a green option.

MORE VACCINES

Aside from the COVID vaccine application from Janssen presented above, there are several other applications for vaccination-related technology.  Two for veterinary use funded by USDA.  Another from 

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and The University of Tokyo (20210246432) improves the yield of vaccine viruses. 

FROM THE FFRDC UNIVERSE

There is an application from MITRE, funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for messaging as part of an air traffic control system.   An application for solid-state battery technology from the Argonne National in Chicago. Solid-state batteries offer improved safety and the high-energy-density capabilities required for the next-generation demands of electric vehicles.

HEAVY METAL

There are nanostructure and nanoparticle inventions for health-related and industrial uses.  The  University of California and the University of Iowa are assignees on an application for using nanofiber for removing heavy metal contaminations from water.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)funded this work.

KEEPING TIME

Finally, there is an invention for a Radio Frequency Clocked Device.  This patent application notes, "Reliable time data is essential for the correct operation of various systems, such as the power grid, industrial controls, process controls, emergency services, military systems, banking, and financial markets. Currently, these systems depend substantially upon the presence of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals for obtaining accurate and reliable time. If a malicious attack or natural event (such as sunspot activity) disrupts GPS, these dependent systems could fail with potentially catastrophic national security, human safety, and economic consequences.  The application presents a new approach to obtaining accurate time data to avoid failures with potentially catastrophic national security, human safety, and economic consequences.

Please be sure to check out the weekly FedInvent Patent Application Report here.

Thanks for reading the FedInvent newsletter.  Have a great weekend.  See you Tuesday when the next batch of patents drops.

THE FEDINVENT TEAM


ABOUT FEDINVENT

Wayfinder Digital's FedInvent Project follows the federal innovation ecosphere from Federal R&D to taxpayer-funded patents to the US economy and beyond. We follow the taxpayer money and the inventions.