Patent Ideas?

By Sebastian Sprenger / October 27, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Industry officials today got a chance to show off their wares at a technology conference sponsored by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization. At one of the tables at the University of Maryland Conference Center, interested passers-by could see a display of some trigger devices insurgents have used in Iraq and Afghanistan to blow up coalition troops.

Next to the samples of command wire, trip-lines and pressure plates, a mock explosively formed projectile bomb was also on display. A JIEDDO official used the EFP exhibit to demonstrate how sophisticated some bomb makers had become, manipulating the device to stabilize its trajectory, or aiming charges to target specific vehicle occupants.

We also learned that the EFP design is actually patented.

A subsequent search in the online database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveals a surprising plethora of patents on these weapons, each filed complete with drawings. The inventors hail from all over the world.

For example, the German Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in 1990 filed a patent in the United States, titled “Producing explosive-formed projectiles.” There is also a "Performance explosive-formed projectile" patent, filed by two Frenchmen. The U.S. Navy, meanwhile, holds a patent titled "Explosively formed penetrator (EFP) and fragmenting warhead."