The Ohio Academy of Science (Academy) and The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Intellectual Property Law Section today named Mr. William Beale founder of Athens, Ohio-based Sunpower Inc., the recipient of the 2012 Ohio Patent Legacy Award in honor of his 1971 patent for an improved Free-Piston Stirling Engine. Overall, Beale holds 26 patents.
Dr. John Kopchick of Ohio University, Athens, will receive the 2012 Ohio Patent Impact Award, one of two recipients this year. The award honors a patented medication marketed and sold by Pfizer to treat gigantism worldwide.
Messrs. John Nottingham, John Spirk and their colleagues of Cleveland-based Nottingham Spirk, a business innovation firm, also were awarded the 2012 Ohio Patent Impact Award for the company’s work on the innovation of the Crest Spinbrush®. Originally sold as a Procter & Gamble product and now sold under the Arm & Hammer® multi-brand, the electric toothbrush dominated the market, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in sales with more than 10 million SpinBrushes sold in the first year.
Mr. Patrick Roche of Cleveland-based Faye Sharpe, LLC, legal counsel for Nottingham Spirk, will receive special recognition from the Academy and OSBA.
Upon hearing the announcement of the awards, Ohio Governor John R. Kasich remarked, “These inventors exemplify Ohio’s rich history of innovation including the controlled, powered airplane, the automobile self-starter and the vaccine for feline leukemia that have impacted the world.” He continued, “I hope all Ohioans will see these creative citizens as primary contributors to Ohio’s innovation and entrepreneurial economy and to the resurgence of jobs that we need to keep this state strong.”
Five members from the Academy’s Board of Trustees and OSBA evaluated patent award nominations based on: (a) most prolific (greatest number) of patents in a year, or (b) a patent which has significantly impacted the state of Ohio through positive changes measured by economic, social change, health benefits, growth of new industries, jobs, or other possible criteria.
The Academy and OSBA will recognize awardees on April 14 at Ashland University.
In 1964, William T. Beale changed the technical world with the invention of Free-Piston Stiring Engine. The patent, entitled “Stirling Cycle Type Thermal Device” was issued in 1971. Following his invention, Beale founded Sunpower, Inc. in Athens, Ohio with the mission of producing “Better Machines for a Better World.”
Beale’s technological expertise, exhibited through the 26 patents on which he is named, and through the success of Sunpower, has placed Athens, Ohio on the map as the birthplace of the Free-Piston Stirling Engine. Beale’s technical contribution, starting with the Free-Piston Stirling Engine, lead to the creation of two additional Athens-based companies.
Sunpower, backed by an impressive patent portfolio consisting of 48 American patents and 111 international patents, has become a recognized world leader in energy-efficient, environmentally friendly machines for power generation and cooling. Building on the invention of the Free-Piston Stirling Engine, Sunpower has designed more than 50 different technology platforms and has built over 350 prototype units for a wide variety of applications. These activities have led to such successes as the CryoTel® cryocoolers, Sunpower’s Stirling cryocooler line of products, and the NASA Advanced Stirling Convertor.
Sunpower has been a part of the Athens community for almost four decades, and in the past four years has seen a doubling in both employee numbers and in facility size. Sunpower’s growth has provided over 40 new jobs to the Athens area. These hi-tech jobs have brought new residents to the community increasing the diversity of an already culturally diverse region. Part of the “trickle-down” impact of these jobs include homes being purchased, adding to the state and local tax base and Sunpower employees becoming involved in the community and community events.
In August 2011, Sunpower opened a custom-built facility in Stateside Technology Park on East State Street in Athens. This 40,000 square foot, state of the art facility will allow Sunpower to remain the front runner in the areas of Free-Piston Stirling Engine and cryocooler research and development as well as maintain their leading technological presence throughout the world.
Beale has devoted his life to developing sustainable solutions to the world’s problems-from the heart of Appalachia. Beale’s legacy started with the invention of the Free-Piston Stirling Engine, and continues through the work of Sunpower and its spin-offs, the contributions of engineers he mentored, and his ongoing technological contributions.
The innovation and entrepreneurial setting
Sunpower is the world leader in free-piston Stirling technology. Our reputation for producing reliable and efficient Stirling engines and cryocoolers is known world-wide. Sunpower’s engineering services include prototype design, development and fabrication of free-piston Stirling engines. The CryoTel line of cryocoolers has outstanding performance, manufacturing accuracy, and quality. We invite you to contact us for more information about our services or products.
CONTACT: Dr. Lynn E. Elfner