[time-nuts] WWVB for Time Nuts

Jim Lux jimlux at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 9 18:31:33 EDT 2014

On 8/9/14, 10:49 AM, Brooke Clarke wrote:
> Hi:
> I've been reading papers by Yingsi Liang who works for Xtendwave and she
> seems to be the key person developing the new clocks.
> I've starting collecting info on my web page:
> http://www.prc68.com/I/Loop.shtml#PhaseMod
> I don't understand how Xtendwave can get patents when their work was
> partially funded by NIST?

Very simply.. Dr. Liang works for Southern Methodist University..
Under the Bayh-Dole Act, an educational institution retains the rights 
to federally funded research at that institution. The government gets a 
"fully paid, royalty free, non-exclusive" license to use the innovation 
for government purposes.  All others can license it from the institution.

The act was designed to encourage bioengineering/genetic 
engineering/human genome research, among other things.

Working at JPL (which is "operated for NASA by the California Institute 
of Technology") we're very aware of this.  You come up with something 
new, you file a "new technology report" (NTR) (this has been standard 
government contracting practice since the 70s, preceding Bayh-Dole); 
Someone reviews it at the institution and decides whether they want to 
patent it; it then goes to the gov't agency and they make a patent 
determination (yes, the gov't holds patents, lots of them in 
communications and nuclear fields); and finally, if both say "nope", 
then you, as the innovator can ask if you can patent it.

Most of the time, they decide not to patent it.. at least at Cal Tech, 
with stuff we do at JPL, it seems that we're not making the next 
facebook, and they don't seem particularly money hungry.  If they have 
something licenseable, they'll give you a non-commercial experimentation 
license for free. Mostly, it's so they can track it, and report to 
Congress every year (a legal requirement of Bayh Dole) on how well 
Congress invested taxpayer research funds.  NASA can go to Congress and 
say "We have 3,231,310 licensees for NASA innovations ranging from 
aerogel to zero-g zymurgy, give us more R&D money"

If you want to actually sell something or do something commercial, they 
do charge a license, but it's pretty small (low single digit 
percentages, as far as I know).  I know someone who receives 1/216th (I 
think that's the number.. it's close, anyway) of the royalties on some 
GPS patent, which works out to <$100/year, in a good year.  The usual 
split on royalties is half to CalTech, half to the inventors, and if 
you're faculty at CalTech, and you give your half back, then they give 
you twice that as increased budget.

A similar process occurs for software.. file NTR, rights determination, 
then, generally, public release.  Software is substantially more complex 
because someone has to go through all the licensing agreements of what 
you used (often a hodgepodge of GPL v2/v3, Apache, BSD, and who knows 
what all) and figure out what the licensing status is.  We're *trying* 
to do open source on everything, but we don't have a big budget for 
lawyers, so it tends to be "when someone asks for it".

There is ONE person at JPL who deals with this as part of their job, and 
he deals with the products of about 5500 people, plus anything developed 
by subcontractors.  The entire Intellectual Property group is less than 
half a dozen people.Very much a case of the law grinding slow and 
exceedingly fine.

A complication on stuff that JPL does is export controls. If it 
"touches" a spacecraft, the default is "export controlled", unless 
someone really wants it otherwise.

> There are different modes that have different frame times, the Long mode
> takes 17 minutes for each of: Time, DST/LY state & Date. That's to say
> it takes 51 minutes to get all three.  Since the modulation format is in
> complete words their receiver has a problem with the inaccuracy of
> common watch crystals.  This says that for those who have a stable LO
> it's much easier to receive the BPSK signal over the times needed
> (probably for all formats).
> PS a new paper "Receiver Design of Radio-Controlled Clocks Based On The
> New WWVB Broadcast Format" came out a few days ago.
> PPS I've been having fun with theodolites and have made a table
> "Accuracy of Visual Fixes" on my Navigation page with columns headed
> Time, Angle & Distance based on the Earth rotation at:
> http://www.prc68.com/I/Nav.shtml#Accuracy
> The idea is that a theodolite with some angular accuracy needs to be
> used with a clock that has a equivalent accuracy to get a position fix
> within some distance.
> [OT] PPPS I'm also having fun looking at the pond water in my back yard.
> http://www.prc68.com/I/Labophot.html#Pond_Water

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