Author Topic: Inter Partes Review of Blue Origin Sea Landing Patent - Petition & Exhibits  (Read 25939 times)

Online AJW

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Below is a link to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) docket for the SpaceX requested review of Blue Origin's Sea Landing patent.  I am just starting to read the petition and exhibits and SpaceX is going after all of the original claims.  The key strategy appears to be that the patent claims indeed fail both the prior art and the non-obvious requirement.

https://www.docketalarm.com/cases/PTAB/IPR2014-01376/Inter_Partes_Review_of_U.S._Pat._8678321/

The website only allows a limited number of viewings of documents.  Perhaps someone with a membership can provide us with a full set.  Attached is a somewhat badly formatted version of the petition minus diagrams.

« Last Edit: 09/02/2014 04:11 AM by AJW »

Offline CameronD

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Interesting reading!

I especially liked this bit from the first Exhibit:  "The sea-going platform can broadcast its real-time position to the booster stage so that the booster stage can compensate for errors in the position of the sea-going platform due to current drift and/or other factors. After landing, the sea-going platform can be towed by, e. g., a tug, or it can use its own propulsion system, to transport the booster stage back to the coastal launch site or other site for reconditioning and reuse."  If that's what they're planning, that's pretty cool.  8)
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Online QuantumG

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vs U.S. Patent No. 8,678,321 to Jeffrey P. Bezos et al.

Grounds:
Claims 1-3 Are Anticipated by Ishijima.
Claims 8, 9, 12, and 13 Are Obvious over Ishijima in view of Lane.
Claims 4 and 5 Are Obvious over Ishijima in view of Mueller ‘653.
Claim 6 is Obvious over Ishijima in view of Kindem.
Claim 7 is Obvious over Ishijima in view of Spencer, further in view of Waters.
Claim 11 is Obvious over Ishijima in view of Lane, and further in view of Waters.
Claim 10 is Obvious over Ishijima in view of Lane, and further in view of Mueller ‘653.

Referring to:

Yoshiyuki Ishijima et al., Re-entry and Terminal Guidance for Vertical-Landing TSTO (Two-Stage to Orbit) (first page mentions "tanker or pontoon" at sea), A Collection of Technical Papers Part 1, AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control Conference and Exhibit, A98-37001 (“Ishijima”)

U.S. Patent No. 5,873,549 to Jeffery G. Lane et al. (“Lane”)

U.S. Patent No. 5,927,653 to George E. Mueller et al. (“Mueller ‘653”)

U.S. Patent No. 6,024,006 to Bjørn Kindem et al. (“Kindem”)

Jack Waters, et al., Test Results of an F/A-18 Automatic Carrier Landing Using Shipboard Relative GPS, Proceeding of the ION 57th Annual Meeting and the CIGTF 20th Biennial Guidance Test Symposium (2001) (“Waters”)

U.S. Patent No. 6,450,452 to Robert B. Spencer et al. (“Spencer”)

also mentioned:

U.S. Patent No. 8,047,472 to Vance D. Brand et al. (“Brand”)

« Last Edit: 09/02/2014 04:18 AM by QuantumG »
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Online AJW

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Interesting to compare the Ishijima launch diagram from his 1998 book to the Blue Origin patent diagram filed in 2010.

Online AJW

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Interesting reading!

I especially liked this bit from the first Exhibit:  "The sea-going platform can broadcast its real-time position to the booster stage so that the booster stage can compensate for errors in the position of the sea-going platform due to current drift and/or other factors. After landing, the sea-going platform can be towed by, e. g., a tug, or it can use its own propulsion system, to transport the booster stage back to the coastal launch site or other site for reconditioning and reuse."  If that's what they're planning, that's pretty cool.  8)

I can't get to the exhibits right now but they may be going after this patent claim based on the following...

Jack Waters, et al., Test Results of an F/A-18 Automatic Carrier Landing Using Shipboard Relative GPS, Proceeding of the ION 57th Annual Meeting and the CIGTF 20th Biennial Guidance Test Symposium (2001) (“Waters”)

Offline Helodriver

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After looking at these diagrams, when this is all over and the Blue Origin patent is struck, Elon Musk owes Yoshiyuki Ishijima a lifetime supply of his favorite beverage.

Online QuantumG

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After looking at these diagrams, when this is all over and the Blue Origin patent is struck, Elon Musk owes Yoshiyuki Ishijima a lifetime supply of his favorite beverage.

It's not uncommon for the first few claims of a patent to be boilerplate.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline CameronD

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Interesting to compare the Ishijima launch diagram from his 1998 book to the Blue Origin patent diagram filed in 2010.

To be fair on BO, it wouldn't be the first time someone's (1) come up with a brilliant idea, (2) engaged a Patent Lawyer to check all known documentation and draft up a new application and (3) actually submitted the application for Patent - before realising that someone else had exactly the same idea a decade or more earlier but didn't take it any further, usually due to 'deficiencies in current technology' or the like.

ISTM that's basically what's happened here - and hopefully all parties come to a reasonable agreement.

« Last Edit: 09/02/2014 05:20 AM by CameronD »
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Online QuantumG

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I think the entire house of cards is about to fall.  A handful of prior art examples have torn apart most of Blue Origin's claims, and the remainder are so weak they will fail as 'obvious to a person of ordinary skill'.  The only real question remaining is how long will it take the Appeal Board to decide that all of the original claims are unpatentable.

I don't think their prior art is much more significant than the prior art cited in the patent. Blue Origin's response will most likely be of the form: Ishijima = ref 3, Lane = ref 7, Mueller ‘653 = ref 4, Kindem = ref 6, etc. Then they'll spell out why what they're claiming is different.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline CameronD

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I think the entire house of cards is about to fall.  A handful of prior art examples have torn apart most of Blue Origin's claims, and the remainder are so weak they will fail as 'obvious to a person of ordinary skill'.  The only real question remaining is how long will it take the Appeal Board to decide that all of the original claims are unpatentable.

I don't think their prior art is much more significant than the prior art cited in the patent. Blue Origin's response will most likely be of the form: Ishijima = ref 3, Lane = ref 7, Mueller ‘653 = ref 4, Kindem = ref 6, etc. Then they'll spell out why what they're claiming is different.

..or, since all of the 'evidence' presented by SpX is 'public knowledge', they'll simply forfeit and go back to building rockets - knowing that SpX (or anyone else) can't patent the idea either.
« Last Edit: 09/02/2014 05:57 AM by CameronD »
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Online AJW

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Interesting to compare the Ishijima launch diagram from his 1998 book to the Blue Origin patent diagram filed in 2010.

To be fair on BO, it wouldn't be the first time someone's (1) come up with a brilliant idea, (2) engaged a Patent Lawyer to check all known documentation and draft up a new application and (3) actually submitted the application for Patent - before realising that someone else had exactly the same idea a decade or more earlier but didn't take it any further, usually due to 'deficiencies in current technology' or the like.

ISTM that's basically what's happened here - and hopefully all parties come to a reasonable agreement.

Discussions questioning the validity of this patent go back years, and BO would have been aware of the prior art long before this petition.  The 'reasonable' thing to do would have been to withdraw the patent, but Bezos instead forced SpaceX to expend tens of thousands in legal fees and filing fees and very likely pulled engineering and management resources away from mission critical tasks.

Bezos tied up the decision on 39A for months delaying SpaceX's efforts to open a pad for HSF.  He could halt or delay actual landing tests if the patent appeal board is unable to process the petition before the CRS-4 launch.

Hanlon's Razor states to never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.  Few will accuse Bezos of being stupid. 

Online QuantumG

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Discussions questioning the validity of this patent go back years, and BO would have been aware of the prior art long before this petition.  The 'reasonable' thing to do would have been to withdraw the patent

I'm unaware of that process.

Oh, wait, here it is: http://bit.ly/Y7xIr4
« Last Edit: 09/02/2014 06:18 AM by QuantumG »
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline CameronD

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Discussions questioning the validity of this patent go back years, and BO would have been aware of the prior art long before this petition.  The 'reasonable' thing to do would have been to withdraw the patent, but Bezos instead forced SpaceX to expend tens of thousands in legal fees and filing fees and very likely pulled engineering and management resources away from mission critical tasks.

Bezos tied up the decision on 39A for months delaying SpaceX's efforts to open a pad for HSF.  He could halt or delay actual landing tests if the patent appeal board is unable to process the petition before the CRS-4 launch.

?!? ???

Over on this side of the planet we have names for people like that..  none of them terribly friendly or supportive. :(

« Last Edit: 09/02/2014 07:00 AM by CameronD »
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Online meekGee

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Interesting to compare the Ishijima launch diagram from his 1998 book to the Blue Origin patent diagram filed in 2010.

To be fair on BO, it wouldn't be the first time someone's (1) come up with a brilliant idea, (2) engaged a Patent Lawyer to check all known documentation and draft up a new application and (3) actually submitted the application for Patent - before realising that someone else had exactly the same idea a decade or more earlier but didn't take it any further, usually due to 'deficiencies in current technology' or the like.

ISTM that's basically what's happened here - and hopefully all parties come to a reasonable agreement.

Discussions questioning the validity of this patent go back years, and BO would have been aware of the prior art long before this petition.  The 'reasonable' thing to do would have been to withdraw the patent, but Bezos instead forced SpaceX to expend tens of thousands in legal fees and filing fees and very likely pulled engineering and management resources away from mission critical tasks.

Bezos tied up the decision on 39A for months delaying SpaceX's efforts to open a pad for HSF.  He could halt or delay actual landing tests if the patent appeal board is unable to process the petition before the CRS-4 launch.

Hanlon's Razor states to never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.  Few will accuse Bezos of being stupid.

Agreed on Bezos's motivation, but it will be difficult for him to get a court order to stop SpaceX, since he has to show some fundamental harm to BO that cannot be later remedied by royalties/penalties - and since he's not even close to flying, he won't get it.
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline Oort Cloud

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Given everything that has been said above, it would seem a bit silly that it has gotten to this stage. It's not as if SpaceX could even be intimidated by the fear of legal costs etc, as perhaps some budding start-ups might be.

The real motivation would seem to be BO trying to give themselves more credibility than they deserve. Their narrative being something like "we are working on really clever, innovative stuff, and Musk is so scared that he has to resort to the lawyers".

Never mind that BO are "kinda thinking about it" whereas SpaceX could be days away from their first solid surface recovery.

« Last Edit: 09/02/2014 05:00 PM by Oort Cloud »

Offline sugmullun

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It seems sooo obvious that landing barges would be a naturally following, possible, solution to the technical and safety issues of reusability that
I doubt that B.O. has a (landing) legal leg to stand on. :)

Edit:
I wasn't going to add this, but I can't stand it...
I've been around a while and decades ago, before it started wierding out, I read a LOT of Sci-fi, Pop Sci, etc.
and I'm sure, but can't prove it, that some form of this idea has been around a long time.
« Last Edit: 09/02/2014 05:52 PM by sugmullun »

Online AJW

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I think the entire house of cards is about to fall.  A handful of prior art examples have torn apart most of Blue Origin's claims, and the remainder are so weak they will fail as 'obvious to a person of ordinary skill'.  The only real question remaining is how long will it take the Appeal Board to decide that all of the original claims are unpatentable.

I don't think their prior art is much more significant than the prior art cited in the patent. Blue Origin's response will most likely be of the form: Ishijima = ref 3, Lane = ref 7, Mueller ‘653 = ref 4, Kindem = ref 6, etc. Then they'll spell out why what they're claiming is different.

Could you spell out why what they are claiming is different with a few examples?


Offline JasonAW3

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You know, a lot of Science Fiction authors described a number of different ways, from the 1930's until about the late 1950's, to recover stages that sound a LOT like this.

If anything, the basic method is in the public domain.  And pushed further, DARPA developed the technique with the DC-X experimental rocket.  Heck, even sea launch and recovery has been covered in Science Fiction stories.

Heck, for THAT matter, there are even pictures that were made showing a single stage to orbit craft launching and landing on a specially modified aircraft carrier.  (I think Convair was working on that one, if memory serves).

So this landing concept has pretty much been in the public domain for decades.  So, unless they get the same judge that decided that the Newspad from the movie 2001 wasn't similar enough to the Ipad to invalidate Apple's attempt at patenting the appearence of the Ipad, I think Blue Origin may be aout of luck on this one.
My God!  It's full of universes!

Offline CraigLieb

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You know, a lot of Science Fiction authors described a number of different ways, from the 1930's until about the late 1950's, to recover stages that sound a LOT like this.

If anything, the basic method is in the public domain.  And pushed further, DARPA developed the technique with the DC-X experimental rocket.  Heck, even sea launch and recovery has been covered in Science Fiction stories.

Heck, for THAT matter, there are even pictures that were made showing a single stage to orbit craft launching and landing on a specially modified aircraft carrier.  (I think Convair was working on that one, if memory serves).

So this landing concept has pretty much been in the public domain for decades.  So, unless they get the same judge that decided that the Newspad from the movie 2001 wasn't similar enough to the Ipad to invalidate Apple's attempt at patenting the appearence of the Ipad, I think Blue Origin may be aout of luck on this one.

not for orbit, the machine had counter rotating props!

Convair XFY-1 Pogo..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convair_XFY_Pogo

fairly cool image at: 
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/Convair_XYF-1_Pogo.jpg


Colonize Mars!

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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I think the thing was also described by Gary Hudson.

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