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Navy Inventors earn recognition, royalties from patents

By Ashley Conner | NSWC PCD Public Affairs | March 4, 2020

PANAMA CITY, Fla. —

The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) currently holds 75 patents with another 23 pending, but the Command is looking to add more to the portfolio.

 “Patents are an important indicator of technological creativity and progress made by the Navy and they also enhance the technical reputation of NSWC PCD,” said Jim Shepherd, the NSWC PCD Legal Counsel and Patent Attorney. “There are also benefits to our employees when they apply for a patent.”

Inventors are awarded $400 when they submit an invention disclosure to the NSWC PCD Legal Office, another $300 after a patent application is filed for the invention at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and another $500 when (and if) the USPTO awards and issues a patent for the invention. If the patent is licensed to a company, each Navy inventor on the patent is entitled to a significant portion of the royalties collected:  For each calendar year, the inventor(s) gets $2,000 and 20 percent of any remaining balance.

“The patent process ensures that research accomplishments are not lost, the inventors and the Command receive credit for the technological breakthroughs described in the patents, and no one else will be able to capitalize on the invention to the detriment of the Navy,” said Dennis Gallagher, NSWC PCD inventor.  Gallagher is a project manager in Code E15 and he is also the NSWC PCD designated representative of the Office of Research and Technology Applications (put simply, he’s responsible for the Command’s technology transfer program). Gallagher and his teammates have several patents on facemask display technologies, a few of which have been licensed to private companies.

The NSWC PCD Legal Office is responsible for the patent application process and would like to see more inventors submitting applications.  

“We know that our scientists and engineers are busy developing technology to keep the Navy’s advantage over our adversaries but taking the time to submit an application for the technology will reap significant benefits for the inventors as well as for the Command,” said Shepherd.  “I encourage any employees who believe that they or their team may have invented a new item, system, or process to stop by my office so we can discuss their invention and determine the next steps.  Those are the types of meetings I enjoy the most.”

For more information about the patent process, you can visit the NSWC PCD Legal Office website on the PCWeb, or call the Legal Office directly at 850-234-4940 (Brenda Squires) or 850-234-4646 (Jim Shepherd).