Supply Chain Patents: Why LaneAxis’ Stands Out

Landing drones on public buses? Someone else’s idea. LaneAxis OWNS the shipper-carrier direct freight process.

If you’re riding a public bus one day and you hear what sounds like a mini-helicopter landing on the roof — don’t panic. It may just be a delivery drone hitching a ride on its way to a dropoff… at the next bus stop.

It may sound a little “out there,” but that’s exactly what Ebay is proposing to do — per the details of its recent patent filing, just submitted this past March.

eBay’s idea relies on delivering not to a customer’s home, but to existing public transportation infrastructure, like a bus stop. And since drones have a limited battery life, according to eBay they could use public buses to travel for part of their journey in an attempt to preserve energy.

eBay Patent Drawing — “Room for one more passenger?”

This patent itself states: “…lower setup costs of drone delivery by utilizing existing infrastructure. For example, a bus traveling along an existing bus route can deliver drones and packages to a bus stop within a predetermined radius of a package destination, and one or more drones can deliver one or more packages from the bus stop to the package destination.”

Only time will tell if hitchhiking delivery drones will actually take off.

Patents Matter

Every year, over 600,000 patents are filed in the U.S. Roughly half of them are approved.

Patents are important because they help safeguard a product, design, or process. Although patents do not provide airtight protection, they are critical for companies — especially startups — to establish firm legal boundaries around their Intellectual Property.

In general, for a patent to be approved, it must be:

  1. New — No one has done this before in the public arena. It is not just that there are no other patents, but it also cannot appear in any publication or be an invention that is already available.
  2. Useful — The patent has to do something. It must constitute an “inventive solution” for a legitimate use-case.
  3. Not Obvious — The patent cannot just take an invention that already exists and improve it in an obvious way.

The LaneAxis Patent: “Shipper and Carrier Interaction Optimization Platform”

A Patent focused on breaking free from brokers/3PLs

The supply chain industry is flooded with disparate technology and a hodgepodge of patents.

This only underscores the significance of the LaneAxis Patent, which was filed in 2016 and approved and published in March, 2018.

U.S. Patent 9,928,475 for a “Shipper and Carrier Interaction Optimization Platform” arms LaneAxis with powerful Intellectual Property and a tremendous competitive edge.

“Protecting our Intellectual Property is paramount,” says LaneAxis CEO & Founder Rick Burnett. “We had the foresight to begin developing our patent application in 2015, and filed it in 2016. After two years of thorough examination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, we were awarded final approval for the patent — which set the stage for where we are now. Building the first-of-its-kind Shipper-to-Carrier Direct Network powered by blockchain.”

As stated in the Patent Abstract:

“A shipper and carrier interaction optimization platform can include an internet based web page, application for a handheld device, a dedicated device with a graphical user interface, or any combination thereof for one or more shipper to enter shipment requirements and/or bids for use of a carrier’s equipment. One or more carriers can enter equipment specifications, such as equipment type, availability, and minimum payment amount accepted, as well as bids for employment to ship goods via the shipper and carrier interaction optimization platform. The platform can automate matching shippers and carriers for each shipment, provide information regarding shipment status, and help carriers to maximize the amount of time their vehicles carry cargo. Systems may include a shipper interface, a carrier interface, one or more handheld devices running the interaction optimization platform, and positioning software and/or hardware to indicate the location of the one or more handheld devices used by shipment carriers.”

Once again, you can read the LaneAxis Patent here. LaneAxis has several other dozen patents pending and under review.

LaneAxis CEO Rick Burnett discussing the LaneAxis Patent at a blockchain conference in Shanghai, China.

LaneAxis engaged one of the top Intellectual Property/Patent legal firms when we first began cofidying our IP processes in anticipation of its future potential value, both from a systems standpoint and in the form of patent enforcement and/or licensing agreements. Just for reference, courts awarded a record $4.67 billion in patent damages in 2020, a major increase on the $1.5 billion awarded in 2019.

Patent enforcement is not an inexpensive endeavor, and once LaneAxis has filled its coffers a bit more we likely pursue this action. Our attorneys have informed us there may dozens of companies currently in violation of our patent. We do expect patent enforcement and the resultant penalties/license agreements to develop into a regular revenue stream.

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