Engineer claims defense contractor Raytheon stole his patent

Company responds to claim

SAN DIEGO - A military radar system designed to protect American lives is under fire by an engineer who formerly worked for one of the country’s largest defense contractors.

Nagui Mankaruse claims missile defense technology manufactured by the Raytheon Company uses his patented technology to cool electronics inside the company’s radar. He claims his creation helped perfect three missile defense systems ordered by the Department of Defense, including the Firefinder, Sentinel and Thermal High Altitude Area Defense Radar, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

See the patent documents:

But Mankaruse isn’t suing for patent infringement -- he said he is suing for wrongful termination.

Mankaruse claims once he provided the company with a solution to a major engineering problem with his patented technology, Raytheon ran out of work for him.

He told Team 10 his solution to the company’s overheating electronics pre-dated his hire at Raytheon.

Design details laid out in a June 2002 patent owned by Mankaruse and his wife describe a high performance cold plate - a device used to cool high performance electronics.

In May 2004, Mankaruse claims he told Raytheon executives about his patent when he was hired as an engineer.

"I told them this is the solution," he said. "I have a patent that can solve this problem. It actually cools the missile defense unit."

Mankaruse claims the missile systems’ internal electronics were overheating, which caused computers to miscalculate missile locations.

"The problem is overheating of the radar and that actually prevents a concentrated signal," he said. “The radar was not working.”

Mankaruse said he believes the company stole his patent to facilitate the completion and delivery of the Raytheon missile defense technology.

Raytheon's vice president of intellectual property has responded to some of Mankaruse claims.

"To our knowledge, no Raytheon products or programs infringe or have ever infringed," Raytheon intellectual property vice president F. Kinsey Haffner wrote.

Haffner also cites U.S. Authorization and consent statute writing it "grants patent infringement immunity to defense contractors," as long as it is for the public good.

Team 10 found the Department of Defense Inspector General has ruled this "a civil matter between Mr. Mankaruse and Raytheon."

Mankaruse is Egyptian-born and American educated, receiving his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from University of Southern California.

He said he has not sued for patent infringement because he wants the missile defense radar to continue protecting American soldiers.

"This is for our country.  It's not for Raytheon," he said. "It's for the fighters to save lives, to protect our country."

Raytheon's senior manager of corporate public relations provided Team 10 the following statement:

Raytheon respects the intellectual property rights of others. We have carefully reviewed the allegations made by Mr. and Mrs. Mankaruse, and we have advised them that there is no merit to their claims.

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