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MoD brainbox repo opens up IP treasure chest for world+dog

Easy Access to some small-but-snazzy UK military ideas

British military boffins are letting world+dog use bright ideas they devised for, among other things, compact antennas, military bouncy castles and a dog-training programme.

The Defence and Science Technology Laboratory holds the Ministry of Defence's IP portfolio. The agency announced earlier this week that it is extending its "easy access IP portfolio".

This includes radio antenna tech, biomedical innovations, armour and even a "system for training sniffer dogs while avoiding trainer-induced bias," all being made available under the Easy Access IP scheme, as detailed on the DSTL website.

In brief, the Easy Access IP scheme involves a two-page contract in readable English, along with what is being presented as relatively low licensing fees, though the public literature does not specify what "patent costs" actually means in monetary terms.

Items of interest to IT-focused techies may include DSTL's miniature mobile antenna (PDF, 1 page). This little device is said to be capable of operating across the 2GHz-5GHz frequency range with an area of just 2cm2.

"The antenna is suitable for small, low cost or rugged devices which need to operate across a wide frequency band (e.g. 4G) or across multiple frequency bands where multiple antennas or complex solutions are undesirable or where space is at a premium – for example smart watches, toys, sensors, and internet enabled devices," added DSTL, which is offering a handful of similar antenna patents to world+dog.

Also up for grabs is the IP on a rucksack power supply, which incorporates "universal power and network connections for electrical devices" for which you can read more here (PDF, 1 page).

As for the military bouncy castle... strictly speaking it's a "structural element comprising a series of individual, inflatable layers co-arranged in an offset orientation, suitable for the construction of temporary modular structures". Interested by the idea of making and selling build-your-own inflatable edifices? Have a shufti at the DSTL infosheet here (PDF, 1 page).

If this all sounds a bit too good to be true, it's worth remembering the wider context: the MoD is starving and broke as a result of having too many large and expensive equipment projects (F-35 fighter jets, two new aircraft carriers, etc) and a government that doesn't care about properly funding conventional defence. Commercialising its IP is an easy way to claw back a few pennies.

Oh, and should you want to train Fido to sniff out whatever it is you want him to sniff out without biasing his training regime, there's more info here. The full DSTL list of Easy Access IP is on its website, along with this little footnote: "Note that DSTL will be happy to discuss licensing of any of its technologies where appropriate, not just the ones listed above." ®

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