Patent Licensing Insights: Buy drone patent technology

Imagine this – It’s late in the afternoon. You had a heavy lunch an hour or so ago and your eyes are drooping now. All you want is a nap but you cannot because you have work and responsibilities. Now, what if right then, from nowhere, a drone lands on your workspace carrying a cup of coffee from your favorite cafe. 

You would love it, won’t you? I would, for sure. IBM had envisioned that and patented this idea in their patent US10040551B2.

Source: https://tryslate.greyb.com/engage/US10040551B2

The patent protects the technology for drones to deliver a coffee to an individual, particularly, sensing whether a person is sleepy and delivers it to him/her. This is a pretty innovative way – and an excellent business opportunity – for cafés and delivery companies to team up and deliver coffee to people at the right time.

Knowing how good this idea is, chances are other companies would have come up or tried to patent a variant of this very concept. I was curious, and to find more deets, I inputted this patent number into our system (BOS tool) to figure out other companies who were trying to file patents on a similar concept and probably trying to build similar products. Well, I can go to them to license my patent or directly sell them. 

Here’s what I found. IBM’s ‘551 patent has been used by examiners to provide 103 type rejections during the prosecution of patent applications filed by Prodrone, Casio, Onpoynt, and Magna Electronics (details below). 


Blocked Company Blocked Patent/Application Action Type Action Date Claim Amended Application Abandoned after this Rejection
Prodrone Co Ltd US20190057252A1 103 February 19, 2019 & August 15, 2019 Yes Yes
Casio US20170293795A1 103 January 30, 2019 No Yes
Onpoynt Unmanned Systems Llc D/B/A Onpoynt Aerial Solutions US10525332B2 103 August 16, 2018 Yes No
Magna Electronics Inc US10694150B2 103 June 17, 2019 Yes No

These patent applications were either abandoned or had to amend their claims to get a grant. Hence, it seems that these companies were trying to protect the tech already patented in IBM’s 551 patent.

For example – US20190057252A1 filed by Prodrone focuses on using drones to identify living beings. The below snapshot portrays the examiner raised a 103 rejection against the US’252 application using IBM’s 551 patent.

Source: 2019-02-19 Non-Final Rejection for US20190057252A1

Prodrone amended their claims but could not escape the rejections posed due to IBM’s 551 patent and had to abandon their patent application.

Source: 2019-08-15 Final Rejection for US20190057252A1

Concluding Notes

From the market adoption perspective, this technology still seems in the early stages. Alphabet’s subsidiary Wing for instance is delivering coffee and light packages in four locations across three continents. 

Having said that, it would be interesting to see if companies like Wing, Prodrone, etc., are also planning to deliver coffee after sensing people’s drowsy state and deliver coffee to them automatically.

If they intend to, IBM’s US10040551B2 patent should be on their buying/licensing list to get protection in the US market and defend their technology from being used by other companies.

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Authored by: Rohit Sood, Infringement. 

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