A laser radar system invented by a Manhattan Beach resident received a U.S. patent Tuesday — and achieved a milestone in the nation’s history.
The “Coherent Ladar Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection” system is the proud holder of U.S. patent number 10 million.
Joseph Marron of Manhattan Beach is officially listed as the inventor of the system, although the patent technically belongs to his employer, Raytheon.
For the record, it took 228 years to reach patent number 10 million. The first patent was signed by President George Washington on July 31, 1790 — issued to Samuel Hopkins for inventing a process of making “potash,” a fertilizer ingredient.
“This patent represents one of 10 million steps on a continuum of human accomplishment launched when our Founding Fathers provided for intellectual property protection in our Constitution,” said Andrei Iancu, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. “Some of the greatest leaps humanity has made have been fueled by our greatest inventors, Americans who have changed the course of history with their brilliance and dogged perseverance.”
The ladar — laser detection and ranging — system receiving the patent has potential application in projects such as self-driving vehicles, military defense systems and outer-space and undersea exploration, according to the Patent Office.
According to Raytheon, Marron — an optical engineer — applied for the patent three years ago. He had no idea he would be the recipient of number 10 million.
“It’s equivalent to a guy who buys a lottery ticket every month. Eventually, it hits,” Marron said in a statement released through Raytheon. “… As an inventor, to be able to say I have patent 10 million, that’s pretty good for the resume.”
His ladar system uses reflected light to measure speed and distance, according to Raytheon. And while the patent marks a milestone, it isn’t a first for Marron. He already has more than 20 patents, receiving his first in 1991 for developing an improvement in bifocal eye lenses.
“Raytheon engineers and researchers like Joe have been pushing the bounds of what’s possible for generations,” Raytheon Chairman/CEO Thomas A. Kennedy said in a statement. “It’s what we do. We innovate, we solve hard problems and we create solutions that explore new frontiers to shape an exciting future.”
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