Posts Tagged: "NASA"

Benefits of NASA Space Directive on Mars could be Limited by Uncertain Software, Biotech Patentability

President Donald Trump signed a new space policy directive for human expansion across the solar system, a directive which hearkens at least slightly back to Horace Greeley’s “Go West, young man.” Increased human expansion in space will produce innovations that can improve human life on Earth to the benefit of U.S. consumers, provided our nation’s struggling IP regime can be righted for the proper commercialization of such inventions.

Government and 3D Printing: A New Line of Innovation to Protect

For the last 20 years, manufacturers have used 3D printing to build prototypes, but it was only recently that this industrial technology entered the mainstream.  The 3D printing of products can enable faster time-to-market, save money, mitigate risk and allow manufacturers to customize a component to suit customer needs. 3D printing can produce individual, specifically tailored parts on demand. Boeing printed an entire plane cabin in 2013 and Ford can manufacture vehicle parts in four days that would have taken four months using traditional methods.

NASA powers up core computer system of Orion spacecraft for the first time

In late August, news reports indicated that the Orion spacecraft being developed for NASA’s manned mission to Mars was powered up for the first time at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The successful powering of the Orion craft, including computer components, is a small yet important step along the path towards NASA’s eventual development of the Space Launch System…

Other Barks for Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

The highest federal court in the United States declines to hear an appeal from tech giants on applying common sense to patent validity challenge proceedings. A group of pharmaceutical giants duke it out in a patent battle over a topical ointment for treating acne. The capital’s district court hears arguments in a case about compulsory copyright licenses. Also, President Trump signs a bill authorizing billions in funding for the nation’s space agency.

Other Barks for Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

A well-known patent monetization firm jumps back into the brokered patent market in 2016’s fourth quarter. A federal judge in New York allows arguments over whether American movie star Marilyn Monroe has become too generic for any trademark rights to continue. Sony files a patent infringement lawsuit over set-top boxes. Forever 21 files a declaratory judgment action calling Adidas a trademark bully. Cher wins a copyright dismissal over claims her 2013 album cover was infringing. The Supreme Court gears up to hear oral arguments in a case that examines the limits of the patent exhaustion doctrine. Plus a very busy week on Capitol Hill.

Other Barks & Bites for Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Another covered business method review is overturned by the Federal Circuit because the Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted a CBM on a patent that was not a CBM patent. China leads the world not only in stealing digital images protected by copyright but also in terms of trademark applications filed. The Catholic Church starts to take action in protecting its own intellectual property. Also, Alphabet’s self-driving car subsidiary files a lawsuit including patent and trade secret claims against ride sharing giant Uber.

Change in NASA focus between Administrations may be greatest threat to Mars mission

Multiple members of the hearing’s witness panel attested to the problems created when agency plans change during a change of administration, a problem which Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, a NASA astronaut during the Gemini and Apollo programs and a member of NASA’s International Space Station Advisory Committee, said has been detrimental to the space program. “We have in recent years seen all too clearly the consequences of a failure to carry out long-term objectives,” Stafford said, referring to NASA’s activities under the Obama Administration as “eight years of lost opportunities… NASA’s present does not do justice to its past.” During questioning, Stafford recommended reestablishing the National Space Council (NSC), which had shown effectiveness in the past in ensuring that multi-year NASA missions which span administrations, such as the Apollo mission to the moon, reach their goal. Stafford also noted that if the federal government had stuck to previous plans to reach Mars, such as were discussed as part of the Space Exploration Initiative carried on under the administration of George H. W. Bush, humans could have reached Mars as early as 2016.

NASA, AIPLA, IPO among those who oppose USPTO fee increases

According to the USPTO, the fee increases are designed to better cover the costs of the USPTO’s main patent operations as well as PTAB operations and administrative services. This would be the first major change in fees pursued by the USPTO under their authority to set fees since March 2013; that fee-setting authority is allowed under terms of the America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011… “The fee increase will exacerbate an already existing issue in determining which of these new invention disclosures should be patented,” NASA’s comment reads. “We understand the basis for the upward fee adjustments, but as a Federal Agency subjected to the Congressional Appropriations process, NASA wishes to point out the dichotomy of one Federal Agency’s ability to generate fees at the expense of others.” The direct impact that the fee increases will have on NASA’s patenting activities creates tension with NASA’s federal statutory mandates on technology transfer.

Senate unanimously passes NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016

The NASA Transition Authorization Act would require NASA to develop propulsion technologies intended to reduce travel time to Mars, as well as develop a strategic framework for human space flight to Mars, and would also require NASA to develop a transition plan that would enable greater participation in the International Space Station (ISS).

James Webb Space Telescope infrared technologies allow a deeper, more thorough look into space than Hubble

In 1996, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began construction of a space telescope which would be the planned successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, a massive scientific instrument sent into orbit just a few years earlier in 1990. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), currently scheduled to launch in October 2018, is a large infrared telescope which will dramatically improve upon the vision of the universe which we get through Hubble. This November, NASA moved into an important phase of tests that will aid in assessing whether the JWST can get through launch conditions, including intense sound and vibrations, without affecting the operation of JWST’s optical system afterward.

Evolution of Technology: Roger Angel’s honeycomb mirrors enable extremely large telescopes

The use of larger mirrors enabled the creation of more powerful telescopes over time. However, by the 1970s the size of the mirror itself was becoming a limiting factor on building better telescopes as larger mirrors were prone to deforming. To address this, scientists began looking at creating large mirrors for astronomical telescopes by fusing together many smaller mirrors in a honeycomb structure. This year, the National Inventors Hall of Fame inducted a new member for his contributions to the production of large mirrors for astronomical telescopes: British-born astronomer J. Roger P. Angel. This Friday, August 19th marks the 30th anniversary of the issue date of the patent for which Angel was inducted.

NASA releases 56 patents to public domain, creates searchable database portal for commercial spin-offs

NASA released 56 formerly-patented technologies to the public domain so that they can be used by commercial enterprises prior to their expiration. Patents released by NASA into the public domain were selected based on the low likelihood that the patents would be licensed by private enterprise because of low demand for resulting products. Other patents cover technologies that require further development before products are market-ready.

NASA’s Juno craft to reach Jupiter on July 4th to find what’s hidden beneath the clouds

Since 1972, NASA has sent a series of eight spacecraft to this fifth planet in our solar system, including Cassini and Galileo. This 4th of July, NASA engineers and scientists are hoping for the successful arrival of Juno, the latest spacecraft to visit this massive planetary body. When it arrives at Jupiter, Juno will fire up its main engine for 35 minutes to enter an elliptical orbit around the planet. Juno’s mission will see it orbit Jupiter at least 37 times at a distance of 5,000 km (3,100 mi) from the top of Jupiter’s cloud atmosphere, the closest any craft has come to this planet.

Mount St. Helens sees increased seismic activity as anniversary of eruption nears

This year, May 18th will mark the 36th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, an active stratovolcano situated in Washington State’s Skamania County and part of the Cascade Range of mountains. The upcoming anniversary looks like it’s shaping up to be a special one for this major volcano, which is no longer dormant. A recent weekly update on seismic activity measured at the Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO), produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), reports a “continued pattern of slightly elevated seismicity” at Mount St. Helens. This seismic activity has been going on for about two months. More than 130 earthquakes ranging in depth from 1.2 miles to 4 miles have been detected in the region since March 13th by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). Most of the earthquakes measure a magnitude of 0.5 or less but their frequency has been stunning, with as many as 40 earthquakes per week, which has led scientists to believe that the volcano may be recharging even if it won’t erupt any day soon.

NASA’s Kepler: Discovering 1,000+ exoplanets, and counting

When the K2 mission became fully operational in July 2014, it was supposed to run until 2018 at the latest. This timeline was threatened, however, when a routine contact with the spacecraft this April uncovered the fact that Kepler had placed itself in emergency mode, preventing NASA engineers from completing a planned Kepler maneuver. Within a week, however, NASA was able to recover Kepler from emergency mode which allows the telescope to enter a new phase of research, which will see Kepler survey millions of stars at the center of the Milky Way.