[time-nuts] WWVB for Time Nuts

Bob Camp kb8tq at n1k.org
Sun Aug 10 11:43:07 EDT 2014


The entire commercial use case for timing grade WWVB (and Loran) comes from GPS denial of service. As time goes by, that becomes a more often discussed topic. We have gone over it several times in the past year. From what I’ve seen, this list is far more aware of the issues than any commercial user organization out there. I’d guess that military organizations may be a bit more aware than the commercial guys. For them WWVB is not a solution. 

This being Time Nuts, there is always an interest in extracting time data from anything you can get ahold of. I think that the discussion of the impact of any patents on a group project in this area is indeed very relevant. I believe that the demodulation of the bit stream can be done by obvious techniques. Since I’m not a lawyer that belief may not be worth much. Again making it worth digging into this a bit deeper. 


On Aug 10, 2014, at 11:14 AM, Dale J. Robertson <dale at nap-us.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> How does patent infringement litigation get started anyway?
> I would think that the infringement claim would have to be specific i.e. "you are infringing on our patent number blah, claims blah, blah, blah & blah. not just "you are infringing on our patent. you need to halt production immediately and can't resume until you have properly guessed how you are infringing and stop, or, pay us a crapload of money".
> AFAICT, the patent includes no claims regarding conventional BPSK detection and demodulation. The patent seems to be about arranging the bits in a 'more efficient' way that, when taken advantage of by the receiver described in the patent, makes possible a 20dB process gain over a conventional AM envelope receiver.
> I am having a difficult time imagining a conventional receiver design (even one implemented in DSP) that would infringe on this patent.
> In at least one of their papers they even contrasted their receiver architecture to a "conventional BPSK receiver".
> All that being said, I suspect that there is no real market for a WWVB based timing product. Even before the modulation change there were no commercial WWVB based timing products, and there hadn't been in several years.
> So, If you want to buck the trend and make such a product, You can probably do so without much fear of someone coming after you.
> I suspect though that 5 years hence you will be able to hold your equipment users group meetings in a room the size of a broom closet. And that’s assuming you are still using yours!
> Dale
> -----Original Message----- From: Bob Camp
> Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2014 8:41 AM
> To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement
> Subject: Re: [time-nuts] WWVB for Time Nuts
> Hi
> Keep in mind that it’s relatively cheap (big company wise) to get a patent. It’s only got major value once the courts uphold it as valid. That process costs real money. I’ve seen a variety of estimates on how many patents get issued that would never stand up to challenge. None of the estimates I’ve seen have been below 50%, some are a lot higher. Since the patents for "sunscreen that’s only useful on the moon" also get tossed into some of the estimates, who knows what the real numbers are.
> Often the protection process becomes a “we have 689 patents on this gizmo” sort of thing. Even if 99% of them are bunk, it will cost you a lot to prove that. You still would have to pay based on the 1% that turn out to be valid. The net result is a system that never challenges (and clears out) the junk.
> Bob
> On Aug 10, 2014, at 4:24 AM, Dr. David Kirkby (Kirkby Microwave Ltd) <drkirkby at kirkbymicrowave.co.uk> wrote:
>> On 10 Aug 2014 05:39, "Jim Lux" <jimlux at earthlink.net> wrote:
>>> (but, I gotta say that a lot of the patents that get published in the
>> back of things like IEEE Ant and Prop Magazine seem, to me, to be pretty
>> obvious..)
>> I have not looked at patents recently,  but most I have looked in the past
>> are  fairly obvious to someone skilled in that area. Another large group
>> appears to be useless things.
>> Perhaps time-nuts should stick on a web site a list of 100 obvious things
>> that they believe someone might just try to patent.  Once an idea is
>> disclosed like that, it should stop a patent being issued. Perhaps a
>> braille clock with an internal atomic frequency reference. I don't suppose
>> anyone has made one, as the demand would be low, but it is in my a opinion
>> fairly obvious approach for a skilled person.
>> I assume there is some time delay (probably in the range 100 us to 10s)
>> between one observing a clock and one's brain decoding it. So for a person
>> to believe that they know the time, the clock actually has to display it a
>> bit fast.
>> But more seriously,  one could probably have some impact on time nut
>> related patents by documenting semi obvious things on a web site in
>> advance.
>> I recall being at the patent office in London and see someone had a patent
>> on a screen built into a microwave oven hooked upto a video camera so you
>> could check on the security of your premises while cooking.
>> I guess with China pretty much ignoring patents, it might become more
>> attractive to keep something a trade secret rather than patent it.
>> I believe Samsung and Apple have recently agreed to drop patent
>> infringement cases against each other outside the USA
>> http://www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2014/08/06/apple-and-samsung-drop-patent-disputes-against-each-other-outside-of-the-u-s/
>> I know BT and Marconi did a similar thing, as I guess that they realised
>> that they were spending an excessive amount of money fighting each other
>> over patent infringement.
>> Dave.
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