Volvo Trucks has just admitted to serious engine emission control problems in a new Press Release. The problem is not clearly defined, but rather the press release vaguely refers to it as follows:
One possible source that fits with this wording is degradation of an SCR catalyst using reductant injection. Another, previous, Volvo Press Release touted the advantages of such as system:
So we looked to see if Volvo has any patents describing such as system and found US 9,097,159, related to a method for detecting urea deposits in an exhaust line of an automotive vehicle, a method for eliminating urea deposits and an automotive vehicle adapted to such methods. The abstract explains the method is for detecting urea deposits in an exhaust line of an automotive vehicle and includes determination if an exhaust gas's temperature is reached, if the result of determination is positive, stoppage of urea injection, and determination of the quantity of NOx in the exhaust gases on the outlet of the selective catalytic reduction system. A comparison is performed between the quantity of NOx determined on the outlet of the selective catalytic reduction system and a theoretical quantity or a measured quantity of NOx produced by the internal combustion engine. If the comparison shows that the quantities are different, it is considered that urea deposits are present in the exhaust line.
Volvo may have discovered their in-use problem via a diagnostic approach just like the one above. The question now is - what can they do to solve the issue. No doubt, whatever the solution, it may generate important IP that other competitors may not even realize they need.
Oobleck is a common name for a non-Newtonian fluid comprising cornstarch and water. Named after a substance humorously described in Dr. Seuss’s classic children’s story, Bartholomew and the Ooblek, the cornstarch and water concoction is frequently used in children’s science classes as a fun way to learn about fluid mechanics. You may have fond memories, yourself, of playing with oobleck as a youth. Oobleck behaves as a fluid when touched gently, but becomes hard as a solid when hit with great velocity. For example, a person could run across a swimming pool of oobleck without getting their feet wet. However, if a person stood still on the oobleck, then they would slowly sink. Because oobleck is a children’s plaything and because of its simple recipe (cornstarch and water), one may be surprised to learn that inventors have attempted to patent serious industrial uses for the material. As an example, one current patent application, US 2015/0016885 (now abandoned), is for a system of fi
Checking my email after work one day, I was greeted with some unfortunate news: the application I was prosecuting had received yet another Office action. Frustrated, I couldn’t resist skimming the substance of the rejection. After all, like any patent practitioner, I thought my arguments were pretty irrefutable. The news only got worse… or so it appeared. The Office action was something called an “ Ex Parte Quayle action.” Having never received one of these actions, I started mentally preparing myself to pull out the MPEP and research some arcane rejection. To my surprise, I didn’t find myself knee-deep in case law the following day. Ex Parte Quayle actions, while somewhat inconvenient, are far from insurmountable. In short, an Ex Parte Quayle action or “Quayle action” is issued when an application has objections remaining as to formal matters, but is otherwise allowable. Accordingly, the mailing of these actions closes prosecution on the merits of the appl
The recent Infrastructure bill signed into law by President Biden affects many things, but one aspect that affects the automotive world is adaptive headlights. As noted by Jalopnik puts it somewhat crudely, this means “our headlights will suck way less” (link to https://jalopnik.com/finally-our-headlights-will-suck-way-less-1848067412 ). But with this sudden change, adaptive headlights in the US may be in for a particular messy IP situation since many companies may have considered it was not necessary to protect their adaptive headlight innovations in the US because of the 50-year old rule preventing such technology. Recent patents in the field from applicants such as Lumileds and Arex indicate that smaller players and startups may be able to break into the market which is expected to explode in the next few years once the final rules are implemented. For those in the industry that have typically avoided US patent filings in the adaptive headlamp area, they may want to rethink th