The issue of patents and whether or not to patent is a question in all sports. We at X-Jetpacks have worked in sports design (snowboard, skate, bike, “thrill sports”) for decades and have experience with both protective patent approaches and open development. Some sports are open and progress quickly, other sports quickly tie themselves in knots with patents and lawsuits. Windsurfing is the great example here, great sport, never able to progress past the formative stage due to in fighting.
The problem with patenting in hydro jetpacks is two fold. Jetlev Technologies was able to secure a patent in the US and Australia for a water jetpack. Problem one because, as outlined below, the technology is demonstrably not original. The second problem is what happens with an IP monopoly, it stifles innovation and competition. Because of the issued US and Australian patents, the market are restricted to Jetlev only products for jetpacks. Jetlev chooses to sell expensive models only, develop the equipment at a snails pace, and offer no choice for the consumer, no chance for competition. As a result the Flyboard came into the market and ate their lunch, making huge strides into a market that should have been theirs.
Our grandfathers working at NASA and Western New York aeronautical companies did massive research in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s in the fields of individual flight systems. Even a flyboard shows up powered by compressed air. The old saying, “There is nothing is new under the sun” holds true. The pilot checking his watch at 1:08 is the height of casual.
Jetlev took the same patent application and submitted it to the European Patent office. The European Patent office was quickly able to see that the major components of this system were based on Wendell Moore’s work in the 1960’s and the patents that were issued at that time. Simply powering a jetpack by using water (Jetlev) instead of steam (BELL Aerospace) is not a significant step of invention. The European Patent office rejected most all of the claims on this ground.
One of many jetpack predecessors, jet engine version on the left, peroxide propellant on the right.
The question why a US and Australian patent was issued is a valid one, surely something that will be settled in future litigation. Flexible hose supply from a compressed source, two jets above the center of gravity, steering, all prior art. The US and Australian patents were issued, is currently in effect, prevents competition, give Jetlev a basis to sue people like the Flyboard lawsuit in 2012, ( subsequently dropped ).
We take the approach of developing at a fast rate and innovating the product. We are open about our development and the technologies we publish our ideas defensively, we can use the ideas, others can use the ideas, everyone advances. The sport grows, the equipment grows. The equipment becomes safer. We contribute to the relative safety of the sport.