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World IP Day 2021: Patents granted to QinetiQ over the last twelve months


Alan Wilkinson - Principal Patent Counsel

QinetiQ has a rich heritage in innovation. It has become well-known for leading innovative progress and enabling emerging technology for decades. From our roots in the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) to our work as a mission-led innovation partner for defence, security and technology firms today; our thousands of engineers, scientists and world-leading researchers are constantly testing the boundaries of what might be possible. As a result, our Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio comprises a diverse technology base spanning a wide geographic area.

It is therefore fitting that as part of recognising this year’s World IP Day, we use this annual celebration to confirm QinetiQ has been granted more than one hundred and thirty patents in the last 12 months. This is a huge achievement and includes some truly ground-breaking innovation, of which the following are just a small selection.

Q-Shift Gearbox

One of the most significant challenges for high performance engines is being able to maintain torque and power through gear changes. Q-Shift is a gearbox technology that replaces the synchromesh of a conventional manual transmission. It uses simple components to pass the driving torque directly from one gear to the next, without passing through a neutral state making shifting under full load seamless. Patents in the portfolio take this concept further, including a version that seamlessly multiplies the number of ratios.

Benefits include:

  • Rapid seamless up-shifting under full load and seamless down-shifting under engine braking.
  • High efficiency; no de-clutching or loss of torque during shifts.
  • Reduced part count and complexity compared to a manual synchromesh transmission – equal or lower production cost.
  • Smaller, lighter and significantly cheaper than Automatics and Dual Clutch Transmissions.
  • Scalable from 2-15 ratios for light or heavy-duty use in motorsport, commercial automotive, industrial and military applications.

Laser phase noise compensation for LIDAR

The technique described in this patent is applicable to all coherent LIDAR in general, and especially to long-range observation or particularly low phase noise applications.

Benefits include:

  • Reduced phase noise on LIDAR measurements to improve accuracy
  • Extends the LIDAR operating range in excess of hundreds of kilometres;
  • Enables a more compact and lightweight measurement system.

Interference Mitigation for a Receiver

This recently-granted patent is aimed at overcoming interference or jamming signals in the receivers typically used for satellite navigation. In this invention a receiver analyses similar signals being transmitted in different spectral bands, and if one band is significantly greater in power than the other(s), it will ignore the higher powered band on the basis that it may well be suffering from inadvertent or intentional interference.

Benefits include:

  • Lower susceptibility to interference, which is particularly relevant to satellite navigation receivers
  • Simplified interference suppression techniques

Companies are increasingly realising that their intangible assets, or intellectual property (IP), is as valuable as their physical assets. Indeed, in some technology areas a company’s competitive advantage may reside substantially in its IP. This is certainly true of QinetiQ, which holds innovation at the heart of its business strategy. The examples above demonstrate that it is imperative for knowledge companies like QinetiQ to identify, protect and exploit their IP to underpin their business success.

Want to know more about IP? Check out our World IP Day series, including blogs, podcasts and guidance for SMEs. Interested in collaborating with QinetiQ? Contact our team for more information.