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Patenting for the hyperloop industry

For the third year in a row, Delft Hyperloop has been working together with the Intellectual Property experts of NLO. The innovations of Delft Hyperloop could be very important for the future of Delft Hyperloop’s development. That’s why Delft Hyperloop’s Daan Witte sat down with Liselot Arkesteijn, Trainee Patent Attorney at NLO and TU Delft Alumni, to discuss the process that belongs to patent inquiries and how these could be implemented for the future of Delft Hyperloop.

The innovation: Linear Synchronous Motor

The team’s biggest innovation in this year’s hyperloop prototype, is the development of our very own Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM). This is a magnetic propulsion method that can propel our pod completely contactless. Similar systems have been developed for maglev trains and rollercoasters, but they were not developed to reach the same performance, and neither were they created to operate in a vacuum environment. Delft Hyperloop is currently still in the early stages but we can proudly say to have a functioning proof of concept that reaches speeds of 25 km/h in only 20 meters. Expanding, increasing and improving in the future gives us great confidence that we will develop a motor that can reach speeds of 1000 km/h efficiently in a vacuum environment.

Patenting process

Liselot and I discussed the possibility of patenting the Linear Synchronous Motor in the near future. Since similar motor types have been developed in the past for different applications, it is a good idea to focus on those elements of our LSM that make it suitable for an application in the hyperloop. Examples are our current control system or the way we localize our pod and transfer that information to working closed loop controls. As we are a non-profit organization, linked to the University and work with commercial partners, good agreements with all parties would be necessary. NLO has this experience and they could guide us through the complete patenting process.

Protection stimulates innovation

Applying for a patent to protect an innovation does certainly not mean that you want to keep your invention a secret. As a matter of fact; in a patent application all technical details including illustrations are public. A Patent Information Specialist can find this information for you. Delft Hyperloop would only apply for a patent to make sure nobody does exactly the same thing as we do. Instead, we would inspire everyone to find their own way to create hyperloop propulsion. Make your own mistakes, get different results and teach others around the world of your findings, thus stimulating diversity in hyperloop development. In our eyes, this method of diverse engineering is the only way to get the best version of the future mode of transportation.

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