NEWS | March 26, 2021

NUWC Division Newport leads warfare centers in patent awards, honors 2020 inventors

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

Leading the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) warfare centers with the most patent inventions, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport continues to prove it is on the cutting edge of research and development for undersea capability.

From 1990 to 2018, the 10 NAVSEA warfare centers patented 2,881 inventions, 794 of which originated at Division Newport. This accounts for almost 10 percent of the 8,031 patents issued across the entire Navy over that time period, according to the presentation “Scientometric analyses of NAVSEA Warfare Center patent production, 1990 through 2018,” prepared for NAVSEA by Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in 2019.

The patents also were cited 1,485 times across industry, which indicates Division Newport’s basic and applied research has wide-reaching influence, Chief Technology Officer Jason Gomez said during a recent livestream event about the patent process.

“We were by far the top patent-producing warfare center, which is one of the ways we measure innovation,” Gomez said. “Division Newport comes out on top for this metric and we want to maintain that, especially in the undersea warfare world.”

“This really speaks to not only the Navy but to the nation of the importance of the work we do,” Technical Director Ron Vien said during a patent awards ceremony held on Feb. 23 to honor 16 Division Newport inventors. “Whenever I describe our organization, I explain it as the Navy’s technical steward in the undersea domain, and we are responsible for advancing the state-of-the-art in undersea warfare. This is a shining example of those kind of activities.”

Earning a patent and protecting intellectual property is one way we maintain that global leadership, Gomez said.

“While good patents come from the entire spectrum of our work, we want to focus on the science and technology aspects, basic and applied research, developing prototypes, new and innovative ideas,” Gomez said.

Hosted by the Patent and Chief Technology offices, the livestream event was aimed at demystifying the patent process for potential Division Newport inventors. In 2020, 16 Division Newport employees earned patents that spanned the problem-solving gamut, from a catapult launcher and device that harvests resonant wave energy, to a method for determining the instantaneous polarization of propagating electromagnetic waves.

Functionality and streamlining current processes provide impetus for inventions here, Jim Kasischke, Division Newport’s supervisory patent attorney, said. And while 90 percent of employees’ ideas can turn into patents, Kasischke said inventors should start by gathering enough information to submit an invention disclosure. This is the inventor’s description of their invention, and is the first internal step in the long evaluation process.

“The disclosure states the problem, how that problem is currently addressed, and how the invention proposes to solve the problem in a new way,” Kasischke said. “It highlights the advantages, has a photo or illustration, and describes how it will be done. The further the invention is developed, the easier it is to apply for a patent. Sometimes we get the disclosure early in the process and all the questions haven’t been answered. This office assesses its value, then it goes to the Invention Evaluation Board to see if NUWC wants to pursue the idea as a patent and if it’s legitimate. Then they’ll work with the inventor to get more information.”

Kasischke said this internal procedure takes about 18 months, then the office files the official patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), which can take as long as three years for approval. Because the process is lengthy, the Patent Office is in a constant state of evaluation and submission; last year, it received 19 disclosures and filed 34 patent applications with U.S. PTO.

Mechanical engineer Jackeline Diapis, of Division Newport’s Undersea Warfare Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department, went through this process, as one of Division Newport’s latest patent award winners honored in a ceremony on Feb. 23. In 2016, Diapis came up with an idea for an air-based sonar array. She consulted with various experts with different backgrounds and Division Newport’s Patent Office for guidance, refined her concept multiple times and was awarded U.S. Patent No. 10,788,575 for the revolutionary idea.

“This air-based sonar projector array came out of nowhere, and it was something I created from inception, so that was pretty special,” she said. “I am so thankful to everyone who supported this project that really helped with concept development and to eventually prove it would work. That was important to me – not just that a patent would be out there but to demonstrate that this could actually work.”

Patent award winners’ work doesn’t stop with the patent, however. Diapis will continue to develop her air-based sonar array, conducting further testing, looking for additional uses, and securing funding. She said she would not have come this far without the support and guidance of her fellow inventors and the Patent Office, and she encourages the workforce to protect their work with a patent.

“It was definitely worth it to pursue a patent. We do such great work at Division Newport, and so much of it has patent potential, because it’s new and innovative,” she said. “So take some time and do it, because it’s so important to protect your invention.”

2020 patent award winners

Division Newport’s most recent patent award recipients were honored during a ceremony held Feb. 23 and broadcast to the workforce. The ceremony is available for viewing at: https://youtu.be/_cgVYP7qC1A

The 16 recipients are:

  • Dr. Thomas Gieseke, Patent No. 10,746,495, Catapult Launcher and Patent No. 10,704,538, Method to Form Impulse Jet.
  • Paul Cavallaro and Andrew Hulton, Patent No. 10,702,439, Robust Soft Textile Transfer Package for Contaminated Materials with Non-Rigid End Terminations.
  • Robert Angeli, Patent No. 10,689,764, Thermal Interference Fit Anode Assembly for Cathodic Protection.
  • Nathanael Mayo and John Blottman, Patent No. 10,652,666, Liquid Filled Thermoacoustic Device
  • David Rivera, Patent No. 10,804,589, Parallel Plate Antenna with Vertical Polarization
    and Patent No. 10,649,016, Dielectric Measurement Probe for Curved Surface.
  • Dr. Thomas Ramotowski, Patent No. 10,608,371, Undersea Cable Connector with Internal Debonding Prevention.
  • Dr. Anthony Ruffa, Patent No. 10,570,876, Resonant Wave Energy Harvesting Device
  • Christian Schumacher and Thomas Howarth, Patent No. 10,805,738, Method for Making a Thermoacoustic Device and Patent No. 10,779,089, Thermoacoustic Device with Acoustically Transparent Housing.
  • Jackeline Diapis, Thomas Frank and Dr. Lynn Antonelli, Patent No. 10,788,575, An Air-Based Sonar Projector Array.
  • Peter Finkel, Fletcher Blackmon and Dr. Lynn Antonelli, Patent No. 10,686,116, Thermo-Optical Method of Phrase Transformational Transduction.

NUWC Division Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America’s fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare.

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.