On April 16, 2014, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division (NSWC Corona) signed a nonexclusive Patent License Agreement (PLA) with American Technical Services, Inc. (ATS) of Norco, California.
The agreement transferred the Navy's METBENCH Calibration Management System, a net-centric, browser-based information technology that automates standardized equipment calibration procedures and collects measurement data across the fleet. The historic cross-licensing agreement was the first of its kind for the U.S. Navy, creating two-way exchange between ATS and the Navy of their respective calibration technologies. It also was the first PLA for NSWC Corona-designed technology.
The NSWC Corona team--Capt. Eric Ver Hage, Richard Schumacher, Jennifer Stewart, Arman Hovakemian, and Christopher Monsey--were principally responsible for the successful technology transfer (T2). To make history happen at NSWC Corona, they excelled in overcoming fundamental challenges inherent to the lab's inchoate T2 culture. The team not only smoothly transferred METBENCH to the private sector, but also expanded the lab's emerging intellectual property (IP) and T2 culture.
As Commanding Officer, Capt. Ver Hage was a singular advocate for METBENCH transfer, which became central to his vision for NSWC Corona's T2 future. Mr. Schumacher, a co-inventor of the Navy technology, provided the technical expertise. Ms. Stewart, as the lab's Office of Research and Technology Applications officer, brought together key individuals from within and outside the laboratory, and is credited by the team for providing the drive and creative energy. As the recently appointed Chief Technology Officer and former head of the Measurement Science Department, Mr. Hovakemian guided the transition with his deep knowledge of Navy metrology/calibration needs. An IP attorney at NSWC Crane, Mr. Monsey was the most experienced contributor with his extensive PLA knowledge and portfolio.
The historic cross-licensing agreement was the first of its kind for the U.S. Navy, creating two-way exchange between ATS and the Navy of their respective calibration technologies. It also was the first PLA for NSWC Corona-designed technology.
For the Navy, the transferred technology promises major savings by reducing resources needed to regularly calibrate innumerable pressure gauges, contact switches, temperature indicators, infrared cameras, night vision goggles, radios, weapons systems and more. U.S. sailors perform about 10,000 calibrations each year, and the Navy utilizes roughly 1.85 million pieces of calibration test equipment. The METBENCH technology increases collected data quality, eliminates technical errors, and decreases calibration times, with near real-time calibration guidance, asset tracking, and readiness reporting.
For ATS, the transfer instantly expanded company horizons from its Navy contractor focus to a vast commercial marketplace. Any sector, from pharmaceuticals to manufacturing, that uses electronic and physical measurement tools contains potential ATS customers. Ubiquitous in both private and public realms, equipment calibration is a multibillion dollar industry.