Craig Matzdorf, a chemist at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, is a renowned specialist in anti-corrosion coatings, a field built on rust. But there is nothing rusty about the patent portfolio the Navy has amassed over the last 15 years based on work in his lab.
Today, the Navy lab and Aviation Devices & Electronic Components (Av-DEC), an aviation engineering company, announced the exclusive international licensing of Matzdorf’s latest, patent-pending invention known as “Synergistic Metal Polycarboxylate Corrosion Inhibitors,” for protecting aluminum, steel, and alloys.
“This is a critical portfolio for the fleet,” said Michelle Miedzinski, who has overseen the commercialization of Matzdorf’s patent portfolio since 2011. “Corrosion is a billion-dollar problem. The Defense Department has thousands of aircraft, ships, and vehicles that we need to keep in the air, on the road, and in the water.”
By adding the polycarboxylate inhibitors to aluminum-rich coatings, a previous Navy invention, Matzdorf and his team were able to double their corrosion resistance.
Discussions between Av-Dec and the Navy regarding the license began in October. The license is limited to making, using and selling the technology in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and the Republic of Korea.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Navy will typically receive a modest license fee in addition to royalties on commercial sales.
Av-DEC, based in Fort Worth, Texas, will use the new formula to enhance their existing product lines (gaskets, sealants, and tape), and develop a new primer additive supplied to commercial aircraft manufacturers and to the military.
“As a product, our new coating additive is going to be popular for all of our customers wanting to prolong the life and reduce life-cycle costs,” said Dave Schmidt, Av-DEC’s director of military programs.
Dan Swanson, senior technology manager at TechLink, assisted the company with its patent license application after working with the Navy to introduce Av-DEC to the technology.
This license agreement is typical of how the Navy extends patent coverage overseas, Swanson said. The company receives an exclusive license in exchange for modest fees and royalties but must, in turn, take on costs of filing and potentially defending the patent in each country on behalf of the Navy.
Several other companies have found success by licensing coatings developed by Matzdorf and his colleagues, but it is rare to find a company willing to take on the IP responsibilities overseas, Swanson said.
“Av-DEC has been a great partner for the Navy and has shown a sustained effort to commercialize and extend the reach of the technology,” Swanson said.