NASA patents to be auctioned

Auction is part of program to help commercialize NASA-funded technology

A suite of 25 patents for technology developed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center will be put up for sale at a live intellectual property auction being held in October by Ocean Tomo Auctions LLC in Chicago.

The sale, which will include rights to signal processing, GPS for spacecraft and sensor technologies, is the first auction under a partnership announced earlier this month between Goddard's Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP) and Ocean Tomo Federal Services LLC. Ocean Tomo provides a marketplace for intellectual property, which NASA wants to leverage in commercializing its technology.

'A major component of NASA Goddard's Innovative Partnerships Program's mission is to transfer NASA technology to the commercial marketplace, said IPP program office chief Nona Cheeks.

Creating a market for patented technology funded by NASA benefits both the government and the commercial sector that will take advantage of it.

The auction will be part of a two-day event scheduled for Oct. 29 and 30 at the Trump International Hotel and Chicago Cultural Center.

The Ocean Tomo model creates a market for intellectual property in which a seller can set terms and minimum prices for rights being offered. It is intended not only to create greater exposure for the technologies being offered, but to speed up the protracted process of patent licensing.

'Historically, the intellectual property market has been insulated as transactions have been conducted privately without public discussion as to buyers or price,' the company said. 'Ocean Tomo Auctions provide a platform by which a seller may broadly market intellectual property capitalizing upon the press garnered by the auction itself realizing a competitive bidding environment.'

For potential buyers, the auction process provides awareness of available technologies and market transparency.

The auction in October will offer 88 lots of intellectual property assets. NASA technologies will be offered in three lots that include:

  • Lot 56 ' Hilbert-Huang Transform and its applications: A set of 11 patent assets that relate to a new signal processing technology. The HHT technology is a highly efficient, adaptive and user-friendly set of algorithms for analyzing time-varying processes, designed specifically for nonlinear and nonstationary signals. The algorithms also provide increased accuracy when used to analyze linear and stationary signals. HHT won the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) award for excellence in technology transfer in 2006. The proprietary rights bundled in this lot would be valuable to companies interested in controls and automation, seismic exploration, reservoir imaging, geographical development and industrial manufacturing.

  • Lot 57 ' GPS based system and applications: Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers for spacecraft have been limited to providing navigational information only for low Earth orbit missions. The six patents offered here are a leap forward for GPS technology, providing autonomous, real-time, fully spaceflight-qualified GPS receivers for fast signal acquisition and weak signal tracking. These features enable the use of GPS navigation in high and geostationary orbits. The technology also increases the accuracy of independent attitude estimation for use in aerial vehicles as well as ground-based aiming and pointing applications. This next-generation GPS technology and would be of interest to companies in surveying, navigation, machine guidance, wireless platforms, telecommunication infrastructure and homeland security.

  • Lot 58 ' Capaciflector sensor technology and applications: Includes eight patents for capacity sensing elements that can be used as a single unit or as a closely packed array. This new technology eliminates sensor-mounting standoff, exhibits no thermal drift problems and provides crosstalk-free performance. It can be used to detect mass, enabling use for industrial process controls such as counting and capacity monitoring. Because this technology can also be used for detecting motion, it enables use for safety, security and process monitoring such as object and human detection.

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