A Look at Patents On Body Scanner Technology

December 6th, 2010

A Look at Patents On Body Scanner Technology

by: John R. Harris

Air travel these days may be safer due in part to improved technologies for detecting weapons and explosive devices. In November, 2010, U.S. Transportation Safety Authority (TSA) began deploying whole body back scatter X-ray based scanner machines in some airports, with an “opt out” process leading to personal patdowns.

The body scanner technology is controversial. Some radiology specialists have written letters to the government expressing concern about the health effects.

Such letters and other articles have lead to strong expressions of paranoia and “individual righteousness” from those wanting to opt out of the TSA scans. But other scientists have said that the concerns about the radiation are wrong and overblown.

The controversy over the machines has raised the question – how does this full body scanning work? Is it safe? Who owns the technology? Who makes the equipment?

One good way to learn about full body scanning technology is to inspect the patents and patent applications owned by companies that make the equipment. Without passing any judgment on the quality of those patents (i.e. are they “junk” patents or not), here is a link to a recent article in INFORMATION WEEK about five patents and applications owned by three different companies in the field.

NOTE: the patent application publication documents in this collection are not issued patents, and might never issue.

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This information is presented for educational purposes and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Opinions expressed are those of the author and not of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP; see disclaimer at http://www.www.mmmtechlaw.com/privacy-policy-and-disclaimer/. Contact John Harris for more information at jharris@mmmlaw.com.


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