Electronic Design

Washington Report

Air Force Equipment Test Reports made in the course of its activities will be given very restricted distribution in the future. There have apparently been complaints that competitors have obtained copies of Air Force reports in which commercial equipment is evaluated. This is specifically banned in a new regulation, which also asserts that before any reports are issued, steps will be taken to make sure that manufacturers' proprietary rights are protected. Reports will not include "any portion of test results that contains the test results of another manufacturer. This applies at all times, even when comparative tests are made."

In any case, release of the report to the maker of the equipment himself is discretionary. Reports will show whether the equipment that was tested is suitable for use by the Air Force. A summary of defects will be given if it is not acceptable. (Electronic Design, May 25, 1960, p. 23)

For whatever reason, military purchasing groups were sometimes lax in protecting the proprietary designs of bidders. Tektronix, for example, ran into a situation where a competitor was copying its oscilloscope designs, even to the extent of extraneous holes in the circuit boards. It took several years for Tektronix to get a satisfactory settlement from the government.

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