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Washington, D.C., August 18, 1978.
Waived Inventions. The staff of the Inventions and Contributions Board (ICB) has made it a practice to monitor the recipients of waiver annually as to their efforts to develop, utilize, and commercialize their waived inventions. The waiver of property rights to inventions made under NASA contracts is effected primarily to further their development into commercially useful products as early as possible. This monitoring effort serves to follow the progress made by the waiver recipients in their commercialization efforts.
On April 14, 1978 the ICB made a request of waiver recipients of selected inventions that they complete a Patent Waiver Report questionnaire (NASA Form 1393, copy attached) and return it to the Board. A cover letter explained our need for such information; the staff partially completed the questionnaire so as to identify the invention. We asked that the questionnaires be returned to the Inventions and Contributions Board by May 15, 1978. A follow-up letter was sent to those who had not responded by that date.
Patent Waiver Reports were requested for 121 waived inventions. The inventions were selected from the waiver portfolio of approximately 800 waived inventions. The selection was based on: (a) earlier reports (100 inventions) which indicated a probability of use in 1977-1978 and, (b) inventions waived in the last six months of 1977 including inventions for which a report was requested last year but never received (21 inventions).
To date, waiver reports have been received for 102 inventions, an 84 percent response. 19 waiver reports or 16 percent of those requested have not been received although several waiverees have indicated that their reports are forthcoming (for 12 inventions). As regards the 100 inventions in selection Group (a), above, for which there was indicated a probability of use in 1977-1978, 83 reports have been received, an 83 percent response. As for the 21 inventions of Group (b), 19 reports have been received, a 90 percent response.
By analyzing the responses to the questions in the Patent Waiver questionnaire, the status of the inventions can be determined. The inventions appear to fall into four distinct classes: (1) inventions which are used in a commercial product, process, or service, (2) inventions which are undergoing further development efforts, (3) inventions for which only licensing efforts are being made and, (4) inventions for which no further development effort is planned next year.
As regards the inventions of Class (1), above, first commercial use was reported for 2 inventions. Continued commercial use was reported for 5 additional inventions which had been first placed on the market last year or where commericalization efforts were just getting underway when last reported to NASA. The commercialization activity for these inventions is set out in an Appendix to this summary report.
As reported Class (2) inventions, further technical development efforts are continuing or expected during the next year for 39 of the inventions. Six of these inventions have been licensed and the licensees plan to carry on further development.
Licensing efforts only are reported for 34 Class (3) inventions. 27 of these inventions were waived to universities or nonprofit organizations such as CALTECH, MIT, SRI, and IITRI. The remainder of the inventions are offered for licensing inasmuch as the waiver recipients cannot find use for the items in their own companies.
No further development is planned during next year for 22 Class (4) inventions. The reason given for the lack of interest in these inventions were: discontinued development of systems which could use the device, not salable in a product line, no commerical need, low priority, limited resources, market not identified, non-competitive market approach, better way of doing it, alternative concepts are satisfactory, and difficult to enforce patent rights. The waiver recipients for 9 of these inventions have elected to have their waivers voided. Appropriate action is being taken to void these waivers; after the waviers are voided, the inventions will be available for licensing under NASA's licensing program.
The above statistics are consolidated in the table, attached.
For the 73 inventions reported in Classes (2) and (3), the probability of use (expressed as a percentage) and the year that use is likely to occur may best be seen from the following chart.
YEAR AND NUMBER OF INVENTIONS
PROBABILITY OF USE As seen, for 53 inventions or approximately 73 percent of the inventions which are undergoing development and licensing efforts, there is a probability of commercial use within 3 years. Of these 53 inventions there is a 50 percent chance or better that 27 inventions will be commercialized within 3 years.
TABLE OF STATISTICS
Reports requested. ..............
Percent response ...
Percent response ........
Utilized/commercialized (first use-2 inventions) .......
Total number of inventions utilized/commercialized (18.5 percent)... · Waiver not voided.
Waiver Granted: March, 1971.
The invention is licensed to the California Measurements of Sierra Madre, California. It was first commercially used in July 1978. Over $100,000 has been spent to develop the invention to commercial status; 60 percent of this amount was spent on technical development, 15 percent for production facilities, and 25 percent for marketing and sales promotion. A product information sheet was submitted disclosing the information below.
Aerosol researchers can now use a Pierzoelectric Particle Cascade (PPC) instrument to make direct mass measurements of aerosol particles in real-time over a wide size distribution range of 0.05 to 25 micrometers. This well-designed laboratory and field instrument has a ten-stage cascade impactor with inertial impactor nozzles for size discrimination and utilizes piezoelectric quartz crystals for "active" impac
By using quartz crystals impactors, the PPC instrument measures the mass of aerosol samples directly and rapidly. As sample particulates impact on an adhesive coated crystal their mass changes the resonant frequency of the crystal. The frequency change of the crystal controlled oscillator is therefore a direct indication of the mass collected. By monitoring the frequency changes of each of the ten cascade stages, information on mass concentation and size distribution of the aerosol sample can be obtained directly for scanning electron microscope (SEM) or X-ray analysis without having to be removed from the crystals.
The wide dynamic range of the PPC is unsurpassed by other types of aerosol measuring instruments. Optical instruments only cover a range of about one decade, from a few tenths to a few micrometers. Time-of-flight electrostatic charge instruments are capable of detecting particle sizes of one micrometer or less. Moreover, the PPC can be operated over a wide range of particle concentrations, from 10 ug/ m', without dilution.
The California Measurements PPC is a high-quality self-contained instrument, complete with sample air pump (providing a flow rate of 240 M1/min.), flowmeter, crystal reconditioning oscillator, and data processing electronics. A number of models are available to meet the various needs of the aerosol researcher. The models differ only in the optional built-in data disply equipment required by the user. The basic price range is between $8,600 and $12,000.
The California Measurement PPC is suitable for power plant emission studies, aerial sampling of atmospheric particles, biomedical research, soil erosion studies, and various other pollution monitoring applications. Title of Invention: Energy Absorbing Arrangement. Waiver Recipient: ARA, Inc. Waiver Number: W-1345, W-295. Waiver Granted: October, 1971.
First commercial use of the invention is reported to have occurred in March 1978. Application of the invention was directed towards a crash survivable passenger seat for helicopters. Seats were manufactured and tested, as well as sold, in the earlier part of the year. The Waiver Recipient believes that production orders for large quantities are imminent. ARA, Inc. plans to continue to exploit the U.S. commercial helicopter and foreign markets for sales of the energy absorber.
The invention is used in conjunction with an earlier waived invention entitled, “Energy Absorbing Device.” The earlier invention (W-295) was waived in August 1965. ARA, Inc. reports that it has incurred from $150,000 to $200,000 to develop the devices. Of this amount, 75 percent was spent for technical development, 15 percent for production faciltities, and 10 percent for marketing and sales promotion. The benefits realized from the use of the inventions include reduced product liability insurance costs for helicopter manufacturers by providing safer and better seats. Title of Invention: Tunable Acousto-Optic Method and Apparatus. Waiver Recipient: Hewlett-Packard Company. Waiver Number: W-1085. Waiver Granted: February, 1970.
Since the last waiver report to NASA in 1976, approximately 100 man-months have been applied to the development of apparatuses which utilize the invention, and approximately 1,000 man-months have also been applied to the development of equipment which, although not directly related to the invention, may be useful in extending the potential of the invention. The invention is licensed to Isomet Corporation; two other companies have also expressed an interest in obtaining licenses. Isomet's major products are delay lines, acousto-optic devices (including Q-switches, frequency translators, light beam modulators, light deflectors, and acousticallytunable optical filters), and associated electronics.
The invention is an acoustically-tuned optical filter for use in optical spectrometers as analystical instrumets. It holds promise as a field instrument for pollution detection and control, and it has the ability to monitor many components of a rapidly flowing fluid.
À product brochure describes the invention as an Acousto-Optic Tunable Optical Filter, TOF 100. This is all solid state device which has the unique capability of changing its optical transmission in accordance with the frequency of an applied electrical signal. It is thus possible to electrically tune the color or wavelength of a light source. Traditionally, this has been accomplished with ruled gratings and prisms which are moved mechanically to sort out different colors from a light source. The TOF not only has the advantage of no moving parts, but it can scan a light source very rapidly, in one or two thousandths of a second, simply by applying an electrical signal whose frequency is swept.
The TOF consists of a solid interaction medium typical of a single crystal, into which has been launched an acoustic wave. Under proper conditions the sound wave may be made to switch the polarization of a very narrow spectral component of a multicolor light beam which is passed through the medium so as to propagate collinearly with the acoustic wave. By virtue of one polarization switch, the narrow spectral band may be separated from the primary light beam, thereby giving the filter its unique wavelength selection capability. Sound waves are propagated into the medium by means of a piezoelectric transducer, bonded to the interaction crystal, and excited by an rf signal. The center wavelength of the optical passband is inversely proportional to the frequency of the electrical signal.
It is reported that the invention provides a cost reduction and improved performance chararteristics over comparable monochromators. At maturity, it is expected that the component will sell in both the domestic and the world markets at a rate in excess of several million dollars a year. Title of Invention: Electric Current-Producing Cell. Waiver Recipient: Honeywell, Inc. Waiver Number: W-298, W-299. Waiver Granted: August, 1965.
The invention is licensed to Philips, Eindhoven which first used the invention in a commercial product in January 1977. The invention uses SO, to solubolize the salt in the electrolyte for deep sea long life primary active batteries. About $750,000 of Honeywell money has been spent in development of products covered by the inven
Title of Invention: Wideband Digital Pseudo-Gaussian Noise Generator.
The invention is licensed to Micro, Incorporated of Phoenix, Arizona whose major products is Testing Instruments. Commercialization of the invention has continued since its first use in January 1975. The licensee reports that improved Logic Testing Systems utilizing the invention have been made available to its customers. The licensee reported expenditures of about $50,000 as follows: 50 percent for technical development, 40 percent for production facilities, and 10 percent for marketing and sales promotion.
US PATENT OR APPLICATION NA CONTRACTOR'S REFERENCE TYPE OF CONCERN (Please check, it applicable)
O SMALL BUSINESS
O NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
1. To what extent has the invention been developed, technically, for commercial application (e.g., Fully developed, largely
2. Has the invention been licensed? (Check one)
O a. YES (If yes," identify all domestic and foreign licensees and their Major Product or Service)
3. Has the invention been used in a commercial process, product, or service? (Check one)
(Year). (2) Briefly describe in the space below the application of the invention in such process, product, or service
(Please also submit brochures or other similar information, if available, concerning use of the invention.)
O b. NO (Indicate vour estimate of the probability that your company, or licensee, will use this invention in the future
by expressing as a percentage, ie., 10, 20, etc.)
%; Year likely to occur
Answer items 3a(?) or 36(2) here. (Use separate sheets, if necessary.)
NASA FORM 1393 MAR 76 PREVIOUS EDITION IS OBSOLETE.
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