[time-nuts] WWVB for Time Nuts

Alexander Pummer alexpcs at ieee.org
Sun Aug 10 12:36:33 EDT 2014

Actually, why was the WWVB modulation format changed, before a  
functioning new transmission system was at least demonstrated? Since the 
new --supposed to be superior --system exist on paper, if  at all only, 
but not available to replace a more or less usable usable one.

On 8/10/2014 8:14 AM, Dale J. Robertson 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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