An Oregon company says it's received a patent for online flight planning. FlightPrep says the patent was originally filed in 2001 and was finally awarded Dec. 29, 2009. "FlightPrep's Online Planner is recognized for the ability to display charts and routes interactively from data stored on an Internet server. The invention cites the ability for the user to interactively modify routes without requiring the download of the entire chart after each change," the company said in its release. "The patent also covers the ability to receive flight plans from an Internet server as well as the ability to file flight plans generated by an Internet server with a travel regulating agency." It sounds a lot like any of the dozens of others of online flight planners available, but FlightPrep isn't commenting in detail about what effect, if any, the patent will have on the other flight planners.
In an email exchange, company spokesman John Bouyea declined to directly answer questions about the potential enforcement of the patent and the impact on other online flight planners. "FlightPrep has not evaluated those issues at this time," Bouyea told AVweb. "The patent may be interesting reading for other providers and the aviation industry as a whole."