| William N. Hulsey
Within the aviation and aerospace industry, new technologies, such as composites and carbon nanotubes are emerging as ideal materials for designing aircraft. Such materials are extremely flexible, lightweight, and proving to be the right fit for the aerodynamic design of the aircraft. Feeding the aerospace industry is a diverse mix of Department of Defense military installations, which foster important synergies between private aerospace companies and government entities such as the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA).
While radio and satellite phones are the current preferred modes of communication in the aerospace industry, the entry of broadband Internet is expected to revolutionize aircraft communication. Also, researchers are increasing efforts to create more multi-functional primary flight displays.
The executive aircraft segment in particular is witnessing a spate of innovative features for cockpit displays that depict a variety of flight data to pilots, including weather conditions, maps, altitude, terrain, and air traffic. With the need to store vast amounts of flight information in small areas, micro-displays with high resolutions of up to 1.3 mega pixels are likely to surge ahead of conventional cathode ray tube (CRT) display panels in the near future.
As the aerospace, aviation and transportation technologies markets continue to grow, new inventions and innovations will continue to occur. All of these concerns point to increasing activity in the laws, business transactions, and disputes concerning IP in aerospace, aviation and transportation technologies.
Strong patent rights are imperative to encourage investments in R&D and for commercialization of aerospace, aviation and transportation technologies technologies. Small innovative firms rely on patent rights to build businesses around private sector space and aviation technologies.
Patent rights also encourage established manufacturers to invest in aerospace technologies to improve existing product lines. These patented technologies cover a broad spectrum of inventions and innovations, including aircraft parts, design, and display and communication systems.