Intellectual property (IP) regards creations of the mind such as inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, and images used in commerce.

The idea of promoting and protecting IP is three-fold.

  1. First, the prosperity and well-being of mankind benefits from the capacity of humans to create and invent.
  2. Second, once a new and novel idea is generated, the protection of that new and novel idea encourages the allocation of additional resources which allows the idea to grow, expand, and mature.
  3. Third, the lifecycle of new ideas spurs immeasurable economic growth, creation of new and expanded employment and industries, and most importantly, eases and improves the daily life of the human species.


industrial technology

For industrial technology IP such as air lubrication systems, the protection for new and novel ideas is in the form of patents which provide a period of protection for the originator of the new and novel idea typically for up to 20 years.


for ship owners

For a ship owner implementing air lubrication systems in their fleet, it is critical to understand the patents regarding ALS that are already issued and the specific protections extended by those patents.


early air systems

The idea of discharging air bubbles out the shell plate of a ship goes back decades to original research started during World War II. That beginning research led to the installation of Prairie-Masker air systems on U.S. Navy vessels during the Vietnam war.

The goal of Prairie-Masker air systems is not to reduce viscous drag and fuel consumption, but rather to mask the acoustic signature of the ship to hide the vessel from submarine sonar. Reports are that the systems are so effective that ships are requested to disengage the systems when training in proximity to submarines to avoid accidental collisions.


current patent protections

While the fundamental concept of air being discharged from the hull of a vessel is not new, and any patent protection on that feature of the ALS technology is not protected by current existing patents, many patents regarding ALS are active.

Any ship owner or practitioner of the ALS technology would be wise to be aware and knowledgeable about the specifics of current patents and the applicability to their ALS development.


SHIPWRIGHT LLC has prepared a 450-page ALS IP Patent Report which includes:

  1. full copies of related patents and a number of analyses
  2. summaries and analyses that help an owner or ALS practitioner understand the nuances, reach, and limits of existing patents and prior art.

Available for purchase now, distribution limited to internal use by the purchasing company.

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