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Patenting of publicly known ideas and concepts.
2

Patenting of publicly known ideas and concepts.

Patenting of publicly known ideas and concepts.

(OP)
Sikorsky's patent attorney and a few of Sikorsky's current and previous employees are the Correspondent and the Inventors of the filed US Patent Application 20090140095 for 'ELECTRIC POWERED ROTARY-WING AIRCRAFT', dated November 30, 2007 and January 23, 2008. All of the claims should be of common sense to practitioners of electrical and rotorcraft engineering. But, the very broad and sweeping claims in this patent application could severely inhibit the efforts of others that wish to research and develop electrically driven rotorcraft.

In addition, the previous Eng-Tips - Rotorcraft Engineering Forum thread 'Electrically driven rotor concept for future rotorcraft', dated 24 Jun 07 [Electrotor-Plus] http://www.unicopter.com/ElectrotorPlus.html incorporates claims that are made in the above patent application. However, this tread and its linked Web pages precede the above filing dates. These claims being; that the motor shares a common axis of rotation with the aerodynamic rotor and that the motor is an integral part of the rotorhub.

Another concept, the [Electrotor-Simplex] http://www.unicopter.com/ElectrotorSimplex.html, also incorporates the above claims and was also broadly disseminated on the Internet before the above patent application.
 
A further concept, the [Electrotor-SlowMo] http://www.unicopter.com/ElectrotorSloMo.html, which incorporates the patent application's claim of a slow-speed motor w/o gearbox was also broadly disseminated on the Internet before the above patent application.

These three electric rotorcraft drives and their 'inventions' were freely placed in the public domain so that all could utilize them and build upon them.


What could or should be done to assure that these obvious and previously known ideas remain available to all who wish to participate in the progress of electrically driven rotorcraft?

Dave Jackson
 

RE: Patenting of publicly known ideas and concepts.

Dave,

If you are feeling ambitious (and mischievous), you can send a letter to the patent attorney listed on the application.  Sikorsky would then be legally obligated to disclose the contents of your letter to the patent examiner.  And the patent examiner then would make a determination on the originality of the claims in Sikorsky's patent application in view of your public domain prior art.

Patents are expensive, so Sikorsky likely won't be happy with you about having to amend or withdraw their patent application.  Especially if it's related to a product they are spending money on, or are being paid, to develop.

They'll be mad at you, but in reality it's the fault of their $500-per-hour IP attorneys for not doing their homework. bluegreedy

Regards,
Terry

RE: Patenting of publicly known ideas and concepts.

(OP)
Terry,

Your suggestion sounds fair and appropriate.

Thank you,

Dave

RE: Patenting of publicly known ideas and concepts.

(OP)
This patent application is attempting to usurp what I consider to be the most effective means of delivering electrical power to an aerodynamic rotor.

I have no interest in filing patents or in financial gain. However, rotorcraft manufactures may wish to consider the future ramifications of the sweeping claims in this patent application, should it eventually be patented.


Dave
 

RE: Patenting of publicly known ideas and concepts.

The cheapest solution for you is to send the relevant documentation to Sikorsky's competitors, they are probably the only ones with enough financial muscle and interest to overturn the travesty.
 

Cheers

Greg Locock

SIG:Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: Patenting of publicly known ideas and concepts.

(OP)
Greg,

Thank you for valued suggestion.

Dave

RE: Patenting of publicly known ideas and concepts.

Dave,

Sikorsky (like anyone) is free to state whatever they like in the background, summary, or description text of a utility patent application.  This part of a patent is relatively meaningless legally (except as a public disclosure) and simply is there to provide a description of the various forms the device might assume.  What really matters is what they base their claims on.

Read through the claims, and if any of the claims seem based in part or in whole on something you have disclosed publicly in prior on your website, then you would have a legitimate gripe.  And the patent examiner would likely deny those patent claims by Sikorsky on that basis.

Recently, the US patent office has gotten very particular about what claims they will allow.  I've filed for and received several patents over the past 10 years.  And up until my last patent application, the process was completed within about 18 months and I'd never had a single claim denied.  On my last patent (which was finally just issued two weeks ago) I had to re-submit it three times over a period of 37 months, and ultimately I was only allowed 22 of 30 claims.  So if there is even a hint of prior art or non-originality in Sikorsky's claims,  the patent examiners now will likely reject them.  Getting a US patent is  definitely not as easy as it used to be.

Regards,
Terry

RE: Patenting of publicly known ideas and concepts.

Dave,

I took a quick look at Sikorsky's claims, and they seem to be somewhat broad and un-original in scope.  The initial claims are based simply on a rotor drive system that is electrically driven.  I can't really see that this base claim has any originality.  Does Sikorsky really propose that they are the first inventor to conceptualize an electric drive for a helicopter rotor?  I can't really believe that.

And the problem they face is that if this initial claim is denied, all of the other subsequent claims using this initial claim as a basis will also be denied.

If your website disclosure has priority on this concept as you claim, then Sikorsky's patent application looks to be mostly worthless.  However, the thing about IP litigation is that regardless of the merits of any patent, the results of any IP infringement lawsuit always end up in favor of the party that has the best financial resources to pursue the litigation.  In short, I'm sure Sikorsky has deeper pockets than you if this case went to court.

Best of luck regardless.
Terry

RE: Patenting of publicly known ideas and concepts.

(OP)
Terry,

Thanks for you support and comments,

Dave

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