Printer Friendly

COURT RULES 84 SPACECRAFT INFRINGE ON HUGHES PATENT

 WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled that 84 spacecraft valued at between $3.6 billion and $4 billion have infringed on a patent for a satellite attitude control system invented by Hughes Aircraft Co. scientist Donald Williams in 1959.
 The ruling determining which spacecraft are included in the compensation base is a major milestone in the company's 27-year struggle to get the U.S. government to pay for its taking of the Hughes patent.
 In order to calculate the amount of the award to Hughes, Judge James Turner still needs to determine the final value of the compensation base, a reasonable royalty for the use of the patent, and delay compensation as required by law. Turner has indicated that these determinations would be made by the end of the year.
 Hughes has requested a royalty of 15 percent, which is derived from a 1965 contract with Comsat, in which it agreed to pay Hughes 15 percent of the value of its satellites utilizing the Williams invention. The government has conceded a royalty rate of 1 percent.
 Delay compensation is required by law and is designed to compensate an injured party for the loss of the use of unpaid royalties. Hughes has requested a delay compensation rate equal to the company's historical return on equity, or a rate equal to that paid by the government on overdue income tax refunds. The government has requested a rate based on 52-week Treasury bills after taxes are deducted.
 The invention was used on every geosynchronous orbit satellite from 1963 through 1974, and on every satellite from 1963 until 1982 that used a solid fuel motor in its transfer to geosynchronous orbit.
 In the late 1950s, a team of Hughes scientists, using company funds, developed a lightweight, spin-stabilized satellite that could be carried on existing launch vehicles. The satellite utilized Williams' invention in which a single gas jet reorients the satellite. The invention proved to be the solution to a problem that had stymied government and private industry scientists.
 Williams applied for a patent in April 1960, and that invention, characterized by NASA as "unique," made the geosynchronous satellite practical and ushered in the age of global satellite communications. NASA contested the patent in 1966 after the U.S. Patent Office allowed Williams' claim.
 In November 1973, Hughes filed suit in the U.S. Court of Claims, charging that the government used its patent without authority and seeking reasonable compensation. All of the 84 spacecraft involved in the ruling were manufactured by contractors other than Hughes for or on behalf of the U.S. government.
 -0- 8/17/93
 /CONTACT: Richard Dore of Hughes, 310-568-6324/


CO: Hughes Aircraft Co. ST: District of Columbia IN: ARO SU:

JB-MF -- LA024 -- 3593 08/17/93 13:32 EDT
COPYRIGHT 1993 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 17, 1993
Words:467
Previous Article:BUSINESS, INDUSTRY GROUPS CITE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF SCAQMD'S RECLAIM PROGRAM ON REGION'S ECONOMY
Next Article:HONDO REPORTS THIRD QUARTER RESULTS
Topics:

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters