Martin Jetpack Brings Personal Aviation to New Height

Christchurch, New Zealand – Jetpack developer Martin Aircraft Company have successfully tested their new jetpack.  The device reached 5000 ft at a climb rate of 800ft per minute, shattering the previous record of 50ft at 100ft per minute.  After reaching the peak altitude the pilot successfully deployed the ballistic parachute – a safety feature other jetpacks have lacked until now.
The test flight lasted just under ten minutes over the Canterbury Plains.  The Jetpack’s inventor Glenn Martin said “This successful test brings the future another step closer”.  The company hopes the newest snapshot of the Jetpack’s development generates new excitement for the project.  The invention was first introduced to the public in 2008 at the Oshkosh Air show and touted breakthrough advances in jet pack technology.  At that time the previous record for flight duration was only 26 seconds – the Martin Jetpack was able to stay airborne for up to half an hour.
Interested general aviators and governments alike  are anxiously awaiting the international launch of the product, even at a hefty projected price tag of $100,000 per unit, sales are expected to represent a major source of export income for New Zealand.  Among the expected initial customers are military procurements and emergency response teams.   The extremely small profile of the unit allows the aircraft to land and fly in areas to dangerous for helicopters.  Both manned and unmanned versions will be made available, expanding it’s use for military and government operations.

$1 Trillion Projected Price Tag for F-35 Program

Lockheed Martin's F-35Congress is in an uproar over the recent procurement estimate from the Pentagon for the F-35 program.  According to a 50 year forecast created fir the new Pentagon “Selected Acquisition Report”, the new stealth aircraft designed to replace the F-15 and F-18 jet fighters will cost 1 trillion U.S. dollars.  This estimate is only for the expected maintenance and operation costs, it does not include the initial $385 billion to acquire the planes from the manufacturer – Lockheed Martin Corp.
Defenders of the program state that the number is an estimate, and accounts for inflation, rises in fuel costs, and other variables that are difficult to assess on a 50 year scale.  A more useful and relevant number would cover a 5 or 1o year span.
Lockheed Martin claim that the planes are more expensive to operate than their predecessors (by about 33%), but are far more sophisticated.  Operations that previously required several jets, can now be carried out with only 1.  The technological advancements of the fighter will also be far less  visible by enemy radar.  The company also says the number can be significantly reduced as the programs progresses and processes are streamlined.

Disney withdraws application for “SEAL Team 6” Trademark

Walt Disney Co. has withdrawn it’s shameless claim on the “SEAL Team 6” filed just two days after the covert operation to take Osama Bin Laden took place.
As a result of critic’s relentless blasting of the company’s attempted exploitation of the Navy, Disney representatives rescinded the application from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.   Disney claimed that their intentions were only to protect a upcoming TV series based on the heroic team.
Coincidentally the withdrawal only took place AFTER the U.S. Navy filed applications for the terms “Navy SEALs” and “SEAL Team”. Navy officials stated they did not file for SEAL Team 6, as technically it no longer exists. The team name was active from 1980 to 1987 before the elite squad was dubbed “United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group” or “DevGru”.
Although it is not uncommon for mainstream media to file for trademark protection on military terms, it was insulting for Disney to attempt to capitalize on our nation heroes in this case.

Terresa Loses Appeal for Patent Infringement case

Terresa Technologies, a developer in miniaturization technologies, has lost it’s patent infringement case against Elpida Memory, Inc. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the decision made by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The court did agree that Terresa’s patent, U.S. Patent 5,663,106 – claims that cover μBGA polyimide-based package substrates, was valid and that the products in question did contain the protected technologies, but the materials that allegedly infringed on Terresa’s rights were obtained from properly licensed manufacturers Because the outsourced packaging was covered by Terresa licensing agreements, there were no grounds for future compensation.
Terresa has 45 days to appeal the ruling, and has stated it will investigate all possible options to maximize it’s return on the patented material.

Apple Responds to Lodsys Patent Infringement Claims

Earlier this month, patent holder Lodsys, LLC sent letters to individual App developers informing them that they were infringing on a patent held by the company, and demanded compensation or face legal action. The company claims that developers are illegally using an “upgrade” button in there programs that allows users to change from a free trial version to the fully functioning paid version.
Apple has told it’s app store contributors not to worry. In a public letter issued to Lodsys, Apple has stated that it’s licensing agreement with Lodsys, LLC allows developers to use the technology without repercussions.
Although it is becoming standard practice for patent trolls to attack large organizations like Google and Microsoft, it is unusual to see a patent firm attacking smaller companies.
Lodsys has not responded to Apple’s letter or the backlash from the Apple community, but Apple’s general counsel, Brue Sewell, is confident that the license held by Apple will protect App makers.

Massive Tornado Devastates Missouri

A catastrophic tornado ripped through Joplin, a south western Missouri city yesterday. It’s path of destruction lead through the center of Joplin, leaving about 2,000 structures damaged.   According to reports so far, the death toll has reached 89 with an unknown amount of people injured.  Local authorities have implemented a curfew to prevent looters, especially in the poor districts.
This one tornado reached wind speeds of 165mph and cut a path about six miles long and up to a mile wide.    The twister was one of 68 that were reported over the weekend and was a result of a large storm front sweeping across the country.  The weather is expected to reach the east coast by Friday.

Space Shuttle Endeavour Final Mission

NASA’s newest space shuttle, Endeavour, launched this morning to embark on it’s final mission. The space craft will be decommissioned after it’s 16 day mission to the International Space Station.
The Endeavour was built in 1992 and will have logged over 100 million miles during it’s 25 missions.  The vessel has spent more than 294 days in space during it’s historic career.  This leaves only the space shuttle Atlantis in NASA’s fleet and it is scheduled for it’s final mission in June of this year.

USPTO Adds Trademark Dashboard

USPTO Trademark DashboardThe United States Patent and Trademark Office has officially launched it’s “Trademark Dashboard” which gives a visual overview of the office’s performance in regards to trademarks.

The success of the “Data Visualization Center Dashboard” that provides information on patent application and pendency has prompted the USPTO to create the tool for the intellectual property community.   With this site the office and it’s current load and response times will be transparent to the public, allowing applicants to make informed decisions for their projects requiring a trademark.

The site will provide graphical detail on the pending applications, pendency, and the corresponding quality of approved applications.  This information will be updated quarterly and will include statistics for the previous 3 years.  If you are planning on filing for a trademark, check out the USPTO Trademark Dashboard.

U.S. Continued Job Growth

The latest report from the Labor Department gives us a glimmer of hope that the recession is ending and recovery is on it’s way. For a third straight month U.S. employers have added new jobs to the suffering economy. 244,000 new net jobs were added for the month of April, showing similar and consistent growth through February and March.

This information conflicts with an increase in jobless rates, which edged up 0.2% from last month, but experts generally trust information from the payroll reports as they come from more detail surveys received from employers. The jobless rate figures are derived from a survey of households. One sour note is the expected job loss from government agencies as a result in recent budget cuts. Educators are closest to the chopping block with the end of the school year approaching.

The recovery has been painstakingly slow and inconsistent, we have only gained 1.8 million jobs of the 8.8 million lost between 2007 and 2010, but these new figures will help restore confidence in our economy and will further stimulate growth.

Apple granted 16 Patents

Apple has been issued a slew of patents this month from the U. S. Patent & Trademark office.  Among the newest additions to Apple’s patent portfolio is a design for the iPad with a secondary connection slot located on the side of the unit.  This patent matches one previously filed with the Trademarks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union last year.  The proposed port allows the device to be docked in a horizontal position, as well as letting multiple accessories connect at once.

Other patents issued included ones covering iDVD – Apple’s DVD authoring software, Cover Flow – album art display, a web page to widget application, and the virtual keyboard used in the iOS operating system.  The most significant of these is perhaps the protection of the virtual keyboard.  While the claims do not cover the general concept of the keyboard, it does protect the ability to adjust for different number, symbol, and letter sets.  The patent also claims the ability to automatically adjust the keyboard layout for the current application.  For instance when the internet browser is active, the keyboard will include a “.com” button.