Patent Number 10 Million Sheds Light on Industry Trends

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If you’re interested in knowing what the future direction of technology is, monitoring patent trends can tell you a lot. While not every patented invention makes its way into a product, if a lot of new patent applications focus on a particular area, you can be reasonably sure this development will show up in a real-world application.
 
The ten millionth patent issued by The United States Patent and Trademark Office (UPSTO) on June 19, 2018 is a good example. Granted to Raytheon and invented by Joseph Marron, the title of “Coherent Ladar Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection” is one of many that offers improvements on measuring distance. LADAR stands for laser detection and ranging system, and is an advance over radar systems, allowing for simultaneous 3D imaging and distance tracking of a target.
 


While the technology has obvious military applications and aligns with Raytheon’s focus on the defense industry, there are other uses including self-driving cars, medical imaging devices, and space or undersea exploration. The patent is classified in the physics area, relating to radio detection finding and navigation (G01S).
 
Given that LADAR can be used for autonomous vehicles, the 10 millionth patent fits into our roundup of eight quickly growing technologies, published this January. Patent Classification G05D “Systems for Controlling or Regulating Non-electric Variables” grew at a compound annual rate of 27% from 2013 to 2017. This includes automatic pilots for air and land vehicles, which is relevant to LADAR.
 
If you have an amateur interest in technology trends, a good place to start following patents is the website Fresh Patents. New and noteworthy patent applications are frequently posted to their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Technology publications such as Tech Crunch, WIRED, and Patently Apple also publish content relating to patent trends.
 
If you have a professional need to monitor patent trends, contact us and we can see if you’re a good fit for CLAIMS Direct or we can refer you to one of our partners that makes a suitable product.