In reference to application US20160239804:

I am wondering what is the legal situation here, "Thererefore, at least the following is claimed: *assessing weather along a route... *evaluating approach to drop *calculating amount of time "

This, and other subclaims are replicating capability of a product sold in small quantities circa 2009-2013 worldwide (Norway, Poland US, France, Czech Rep. to name a few) being integrated with unamanned aerial vehicles (UAVs: EasyUAV, Pteryx UAV, Demon UAV, and Manta/EasyMap UAV).

A computer performing said flight planning was FLEXIPILOT and in its flexipilot1.35-navigation-en manual that circulated on the web for years before the product was discontinued, one can achieve exactly this delivery functionality using UAV. It was designed for such missions, including Australian Outback Delivery Challenge, which was performed by similar control devices.

In case of FLEXIPILOT, weather was estimated prior to takeoff by entering variables SIM_WIN_SPEED and SIM_WIND_HEADING on its delivery console (which allowed communication via modem). For example command WPTITERALL was assessing total flight time both including or neglecting wind estimates, RETHOME logic is evaluating possible outcomes in realtime based on both its own internal estimate of wind speed and SIM_WIND_SPEED that could be transmitted and received at any moment, using those factors and published (exported to US for University) telemetry protocol FLEXIPILOT integrated with PTERYX device ws able to report in realtime flight times to takeoff, any of its emergency landign sites, projected time to impact earth at any time, and time to WPT_TARGET which was location of generalized geographic hook, relative to which any waypoint could be placed. Because relative placement of waypoints included the option of displacement and heading depending on wind direction estimate, device was effectively used for planning landing as a function of meteo conditions.

Because at any waypoint which could be looped one could perform any servo movement action using TRIGGER or PARA logic, this UAV control computer was capable and was tested for delivery missions and indeed similar missions were performed as early as 2010 by several contestans of DIYDRONES T2 contest - airdrop challenge (egg delivery) using also open-source counterparts of said autopilot. IMO there is nothing innovative in this patent, not even the fact that they are delivering a container which was subject of contests 6 years ago.

NOTE: I have also found this presentation on public diydrones forum, claiming almost identical behaviour for delivery drones: Pigeon Post presentation dated 2013-02-13 www.youtube.com/watch?v=3boZtKRseSA

FLEXIPILOT navigation manual is here, all versions are from 2013: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9-O1_5eWoN9Q2tNWUpvbndaV2s

FLEXIPILOT telemetry manual is here, showing sample display application for parameters https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9-O1_5eWoN9WGZEenVINWtxaHc

FLEXIPILOT open source telemetry code: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9-O1_5eWoN9SGhib2xtMVhsNms which contains ID=12 time2ground variable with impact_type=2 designating payload delivery time

  • It would be helpful if you were to include a link to the application. – Eric S Feb 6 '17 at 15:38

You may reword your question to make a prior art request

Most all inventions that field utility patents have prior art listed. If the prior art is too similar to the claims those certain claims will not be allowed.

If the application does not list these prior art instances then the applicant has not completed due diligence on their invention by not doing a proper prior art search. The examiner may find the prior art as you noted on his/her own. If the application has been docketed to an examiner now would be the time to inform. You can use the Public Pair to check the status.

  • 1
    Note that there are only a few times when the public can submit prior art for consideration by the Examiner: "before (1) the later of (i) 6 months after the date of publication or (ii) the date of a first Office action on the merits rejecting any claims, or (2) before the date of a notice of allowance, if earlier." (35 U.S.C. §122(e)). Outside those windows, there's no provision for the public to affect a patent prosecution (although the public can follow along by watching Public PAIR once the application has published). Outside the windows, challenging an application is VERY expensive. – Dave M. Dec 3 '17 at 19:48
  • @3dalliance - that answer is not correct. Applicants have zero duty to do a search. They do have a very important duty to tell the patent office about anything they DO know that puts the application in a bad light. (Not the technical language) They are required to list those things on an IDS form. There is no requirement to list them in the application itself. – George White Oct 30 '18 at 3:25
  • George White - I mean due diligence in a business sense. Why would someone or a company to waste money on a patent application without doing a prior art search? Forewarned is forearmed. Are you suggesting that they do no prior art search? – 3dalliance Oct 31 '18 at 13:48

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