Vector, a small Tuscan based aerospace enterprise, filed a law suit against aerospace giant Lockheed over its smart technology which is able to reprogram satellites in orbit to facilitate multiple missions. The suit alleged that Lockheed has violated multiple patents of Vector issued for its GalacticSky “software-defined satellites” which have been in development since 2016.
The GalacticSky smart satellites are orbiting computer platforms which are programmable on the go which allow users to upload softwares for testing and developing industrial applications. This technology permits a single computer to run multiple operating systems and share computing resources and also involves software virtualization.
This GalacticSky division of Vector Launch is based in San Jose, California, boasting of multiple patents on its smart sats. Tailored imagery, onboard analytics, highly-secure data storage and transfer, high speed communication are the offers made available by this division of Vector Launch.
The lawsuit has been filed by Vector in response to Lockheed’s announcement of March 20 about “SmartSat”; the company’s new software-defined satellite. This was preceded by Vector announcing in March that the first GalacticSky satellite, GSky-1 was to be launched later in this year after its development was to be completed at the University of Southern California’s Space Engineering Research Center.
“After exhausting all non-legal remedies, Vector saw no other path forward than to take this legal action, as we must protect our intellectual property rights,” the company said.
Lockheed is yet to respond to the lawsuit as of April 12, 2019. The company’s spokesman Matt Kramer denied commenting quoting a company policy about pending proceedings. Simultaneously, Vector CEO Jim Cantrell is also said to have denied commenting on the litigation.
The infringement lawsuit was filed after Lockheed did not respond to letters by Vector expressing concern said Shaun Coleman, Vector co-founder, while in an interview with Spacenews.com. Vector alleges Lockheed to have infringed three of their patents wilfully; issued in 2017, 2018 and on April 2 this year. The lawsuit seeks a permanent ban on Lockheed from further infringements or agree on providing on-going royalty in relation to the sales of the related satellite products by Lockheed; the attorney’s fee as well as three times the compensatory damages.
Coleman further detailing on the lawsuit, also is a specialist in software virtualization and based at GalacticSky in San Jose; clarified the company’s position of preferring to work with the aerospace giant rather than getting into a lengthy legal battle.
Vector’s marketing director showed discontent on a stunt of Lockheed on April Fool’s Day when they announced about announcing a space fragrance called Vector, the logo showing a lot of similarities to that of Vector’s.
Generally patent lawsuits tend to end in settlements or agreements; the path which will be taken by Vector-Lockheed is still unclear as no settlement talks are currently underway.
Lockheed boasting of annual revenues reaching $50billion; Vector not lagging far behind by raising more than $100 million since 2016 including a $70 million funding round last fall.