Who invented the helicopter drone? What can we learn about its patent landscape using AmberScope?

Since the release of the more recent product Cluster Searching, the earlier visual based patent searching product AmberScope has taken a bit of a back seat. Indeed Cluster Searching tends to be the easier product and learn and use, and is ideal for quickly identifying the most similar products to a good set of starting patents.

But sometimes patent searching is not a linear process. You may not be sure of the best starting patents, or want to build a visual understanding of the patent landscape. This is when AmberScope still has a place, and this is why we continue to offer it in combination with Cluster Searching.

As an example of its value, I got curious about a big up and coming consumer trend – flying drones. I ran a search in the free patent search engine PatentLens for patents that included the word ‘drone’ in the title, abstract or claims, and sorted the results from earliest filed to oldest. Perhaps not surprisingly, the very earliest patents referred to improvements in beehives and bagpipes, but by 1951 patents using this term were being filed for pilotless planes

Perhaps more relevant, in 1962 a company called  Piasecki Aircraft Corporation that previously developed pilot controlled helicopters  filed US3053480 for a Omni-directional, Vertical-lift, Helicopter Drone:

US3053480.jpg

 

Which is essentially the same concept as a four rotor drone toy you can buy for less than $100, complete with a camera: 

a1sx2_Original1_Raptoy_eye.jpg

 

but which still relies on the ability of the Piasecki invention to:

fly with its vertical axis at all times pointed to the zenith and with its orientation constant in spite of direction of flight, under which circumstances flight control is extremely simple, turns are made without banking, and a constant, level platform is provided for instruments, mechanical and electrical equipment, and the like, and all controls and manipulative equipment greatly simplified.

So simple that you can control some drone models with an app on your smartphone.

Helicopter drones big and small are now being used for all sorts of reasons, including exploring the physical landscape

But what about visually exploring the patent landscape? For this you need AmberScope, and if you click on the image below, you can explore this landscape for yourself in a fully dynamic and interactive form:

US3053480_b.jpg

 

There are a number of things you can do with this interactive landscape. For example, you can ‘hover’ over any of the connected patents, and you will see a summary box for this patent

US4795511_20161003-010905_1.jpg

 

And if this is not enough information for you, clicking the “Details” button highlignted above will bring up more details of the patent.

Maybe you just want to see patents filed before the 1959 filing date of this patent? In that case, we offer a filing date filter, which has been set in the example below to only show patents filed between 1923 and 1959.

US3053480_prior-art.jpg

 

By exploring the connecting patents, you can see that this patent was quite innovative over the known prior art. 

Or maybe exploring this network takes you a patent you would like to make the focus of the search – such as this one?

US7068210_20161003-010906_1.jpg

 

Note how the “17 more” button has been highlighted? If you were press this button, this would create a new network, based on this patent, which would have 17 more patents not shown in the earlier network, and looking something like this:

US7068210_Network.jpg

 

AmberScope comes with a number of additional useful features to help you make the most of AmberScope – these are further described here

Do you want to try AmberScope or Cluster Searching for yourself?

For a demonstration and free trial of both AmberScope and Cluster Searching, please contact us.

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