Virginia Patent of the Month – November 2021

Iridium Satellite, LLC is a global satellite communications company whose constellation of satellites connects people and devices globally through voice and data services. They have spent years developing their own unique constellation architecture to make sure every surface of earth has coverage. Throughout this process, they have invested in heavy R&D for all parts of their system – from communication abilities to satellite engineering. Recently, they have focused their attention on developing a wireless communication terminal.

Their recent development uses an antenna made of multiple elements, each of which is configured to apply a phase shift to a signal that the antenna transmits. Then, a beam steering controller steers the main beam of the antenna by controlling these phase shifts. The steering controller can also detect failures of the antenna element and – if failed – disables it and modifies the phase shifts for the remaining antennae. Devices can then connect and communicate with satellites regardless of a failed antenna.

At the heart of every Iridium Connected device is a module that enables connectivity between that device and the Iridium network. Once connected, communications to virtually any other voice or data device on the planet is possible. The ability to manage communication and ensure the connection does not falter, even with a faulty antenna, is critical to this mission.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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