American Superconductor Corp

and New Zealand-based Industrial Research Ltd have been issued a

‘fundamental composition of matter patent’ for the superconductor

material used in commercial high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire. The wire is made of a metal oxide material composed of bismuth, lead, strontium, calcium, copper and oxygen, commonly referred to as BSCCO 2223. It was developed and patented in 1988 by IRL. AMSC is the exclusive licensee of this patent and will now receive 17 years of patent protection for the material.

AMSC obtained its exclusive world-wide rights to the patent in 1992 when it entered into a business relationship with IRL that continues today. Following the first patent application, the patent was challenged by many companies around the world because it is so fundamental to the production of commercial HTS wire. “This newly issued patent applies to all of today’s commercial applications of HTS wire. It is extremely strong because it has withstood more than 14 years of review by the US Patent Office and has overcome numerous legal challenges from companies around the world,” said Alex Malozemoff, chief technical officer of AMSC. “This core patent … significantly strengthens our intellectual property portfolio.”