The patent system is used to safeguard a variety of innovative ideas including the technical achievements of private and state-owned companies. An interesting example for using patent system with governmental organizations is the US Postal Service Company (USPS), which has introduced a new idea to improve its mail delivery system. According to its new patent, recently granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office, a sorting robot is embedded in a mail delivery vehicle to separate and sort out the packages along the way.
The patent was filed in late December 2017 and recently granted under the number US10351347. According to patent documents, the in-car robot looks like a device for picking up and moving items and packages between storage containers that can separate items based on addresses.
The main purpose of the technology is to save labor and improve the delivery process of mail orders. The patent document states: "The current methods of stuff delivery are expensive, most of which due to existing personnel". Since the continuation of this costly process can put a great deal of financial pressure on the US postal system, it is looking for ways to improve the sorting and delivery of postal items and optimize the processes.
Such a problem faces large companies like Amazon which is looking for ways to reduce the shipping and ordering costs. In this regard, Amazon has also filed several patents in the field, most of which are very strange, and this has greatly reduced the likelihood of commercialization. In contrast, the solution adopted by the USPS seems to be logical and can be readily implemented. In addition, USPS could licensing the patent to other logistics companies, which would create additional revenues for the company. USPS had previously filed a complex patent infringement lawsuit with a small US technology company, one of the loudest examples of legal disputes between a private company and the US government over intellectual property.