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US Army Issued Patent for Scorpion Camo; Admits Pattern Inferior to MultiCam

On 7 July, 2015 the US Patent and Trade Office issued Utility Patent 9,074,849, Entitled: “Camouflage for Garment Assembly” to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army. It followed Utility Patent 9,062,938, Entitled: “Camouflage Patterns”, issued two weeks earlier on 23 June, 2015. Both cover Scorpion W20601, initially developed in 2010 by engineers at the Natick Soldier Systems Center and later, after further refinement, recently adopted as the Army’s new Operational Camouflage Pattern.

  

There are a few curious things about this patent. First off, it’s practically an opus at 59 pages, although admittedly, there are a lot of illustrations. Also, it was issued very quickly, and coincidentally, just in time for the beginning of the Army’s OCP transition. Next, it doesn’t feel like it was written by a patent attorney, but rather by an engineer who was sure to include a great deal of fascinating, although extraneous information on how the pattern was developed and tested. Oddly enough, the Army hasn’t said a peep about it, which is strange considering they continue to assert “appropriate rights to the pattern“. However, once you dig into the details of the patent, you may see why they’ve stayed mum. Finally, the type of data disclosed in the patent tells an interesting story. But before we get to that, let’s address the patent itself.

The Abstract

A garment assembly such as a uniform, a military uniform and a military combat uniform is presented. The garment assembly includes a helmet or head cover being cut from a fabric having a first camouflage pattern with a first set of intermixed colored blotches thereon. The colors of the first set of intermixed colored blotches being selected from a first group of colors including an Olive 527 color, a Dark Green 528 color, a Tan 525 color, a Brown 529 color, a Bark Brown 561 color and a Dark Cream 559 color. The uniform also includes a coat being configured to fit at least a portion of a human torso and a trouser configured to fit at least a portion of human legs, the coat and trouser each being cut from a fabric having a second camouflage pattern with a second set of intermixed colored blotches thereon, the colors of the second set of intermixed colored blotches being selected from a second group of colors comprising an Olive 527 color, a Dark Green 528 color, a Light Sage 560 color, a Tan 525 color, a Brown 529 color, a Bark Brown 561 color and a Dark Cream 559 color.

One could take this revelation at face value, concluding that “the Army did it, they beat Crye!” But not so fast. That Utility Patent might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Types Of Patents
I’d like to point out that this is a Utility Patent which is very specific and the Army doesn’t seem to have done itself any favors in the specificity of its claims. For those unfamiliar, the claims of a patent are the points that are being protected and the patent itself is essentially a right to exclude, meaning the patent holder gets to decide who can use the intellectual property it protects.

Since it’s a patent, you’ll probably want to immediately put it on the same footing as Crye Precision’s existing MultiCam patent, thinking one cancels out the other.  Not so.  Lineweight LLC, which is the holding company for all of Crye Precision’s patents, holds a Design Patent for the MultiCam pattern (D592,861). But, a Design Patent is more broad in nature. Think of it as a picture rather than a description of specific elements of the picture.

A Patent’s A Patent, Right?
So what’s the difference between these two types of patents you might ask?

To get around a Utility Patent all you have to do is make changes to what you’ve got until you no longer violate the specific claims of the patent. The more specific the claims are, the easier this is to do.

On the other hand, to determine if someone has violated a Design Patent, they use the “ordinary observer” test. Essentially, if it looks like it infringes to the average person, it does.

W2 vs MC

At casual inspection, Scorpion W2 sure looks close to me. Just examine this photo. Which swatch of fabric is Scorpion and which is MultiCam?

What’s It All Mean?
While I’m sure Crye Precision is aware of this patent, it’s so new and so restrictive that I doubt they’ll do anything about it. There’s no reason to. Ultimately, the Scorpion patent doesn’t affect Crye’s existing MultiCam IP or any of its contractual agreements with printers. Despite the Army’s new Utility Patent, they will continue to pay a license fee to Crye through the printers in order to use the Scorpion pattern.

Update – Info Regarding Related Patent 9,062,938
The Army fasttracked not just one, but two patents; the “garment assembly” patent which is the main subject of this article, as well as another patent granted about two weeks earlier concerning just the pattern. Both are Utility Patents and contain much the same information regarding the percentages of color used to make up the Scorpion W2 camouflage pattern. While the “Camouflage Patterns” patent also contains all of the extensive information about the ACU and helmet cover substrate, it is just two pages shorter at 57, but does acknowledge up front that it is related to the “garment assembly” patent and incorprates the same data directly from the other patent.

Both patent also include this section:
  

This is the ‘Hail Mary’ play that the Army has included in the patents. Unfortunately for them, it won’t have the effect the Army has hoped for. They are showing these patents to printers and telling them that they no longer have to pay a royalty. All it seems to be accomplishing is causing further tension in the supply chain as the Army expects businesses to violate contractual obligations and then doesn’t understand why they can’t.

Crye Precision collects the licensing fees for MultiCam and Scorpion from printers through royalty agreements. The Army pays those fees as part of the per unit cost of each garment, just like they do for permethrin treatment. The printers entered into industry standard licensing agreements which were written to protect the MultiCam pattern. It’s business. These patents don’t nullify contracts between Crye Precision and the printers.  

It’s All About The Colors
Although the document does go into detail as to why other, prior art camouflage patterns don’t quite work, the actual claims in the Army’s patent revolve mainly around percentages of colors, even down to the tenth of a percentile. That’s right, the Army patented colors. I seem to recall a certain Colonel at PEO Soldier telling the media that Crye couldn’t extend Intellectual Property protection to the colors in the MultiCam pattern and yet, that’s exactly what the Army just did. Feel free to eat some crow on me, Bob.

This heavy reliance on colors to attain the patent is the pattern’s very weakness and may be why the Army hasn’t trumpeted the issue of this Utility Patent, because it literally invites counterfeiters. It is so specific, even the slightest change gets around the limited protection of this patent. In fact, because it contains so much information, the patent itself serves as a recipe on how to get around its very protection. This leaves the Army at the mercy of Crye Precision who has the more expansive Design Patent. It would be up to Crye to determine whether any newly minted Scorpion knockoffs violate the MultiCam patent and then police them.

What About The Bookends?
What does this mean for the so-called bookend patterns? The Army’s new Utility Patent obviously doesn’t protect any color variants due to its specificity, so they wouldn’t be protected by this patent.

And Now, The Rest Of The Story
There’s another, bigger story, lurking in the language of the patent. For over a year now, we’ve been awaiting details on the Army’s rather abbreviated testing used to select the Scorpion pattern. The Army was able to determine in a matter of weeks that Scorpion was the one for them when previous, Camouflage Improvement Effort Phase IV testing had taken well over a year to complete. For some odd reason, they included a great deal of extraneous testing information in the patent, perhaps in their haste to rush the patent through, for the official transition from UCP to OCP on 1 July, 2015.

The application was just submitted on 12 December, 2014. While unusual to be granted so quickly, as I understand it, this is perfectly legal. Although, the application was never published and there was no period for public comment regarding the patent prior to it being granted.

But back to testing. According to the patent, the Army conducted picture-in-picture testing of MultiCam, Scorpion, Digital Transitional Patterns 1 & 2, MARPAT Woodland & Desert and the incumbent Universal Camouflage Pattern across several simulated environments. These were Transitional (Arid, Dormant and Verdant) and Woodland (Dormant and Verdant). This chart (Table 4), embedded in the patent, shows how the patterns performed.

  

UCP Performs Horribly
Before we go any further, take a gander at UCP’s performance; just abysmal. It makes you wonder how long the Army has known about its performance and how long they ignored it. As it is, this set of testing was conducted in Spring 2014 and we know for sure UCP was also tested during Phase IV, back in 2012 but the Army won’t release those test results.

With Camouflage, Specialization Is A Blessing As Well As A Curse
This chart also validates something else we know to be true. Environmental specific patterns do very well in the environment they are tuned to, but work against the wearer in other environments. Just take a look at the performance of the two MARPAT variants across the environments to see how that works.

Scorpion Doesn’t Perform As Advertised in Arid Environments
The Army also makes an untrue claim in the patent application, declaring the Scorpion pattern, designated 100 in the patent, “significantly better” than all other candidate patterns in the Transitional Arid environment during picture-in-picture testing. As you can see from the patent’s chart, this simply isn’t true. In reality, it performed fifth out of seven patterns. Considering that America’s Army continues to be engaged with our enemies in Arid regions, this is ridiculous to purposefully adopt a pattern that performs worse than what they’ve already got. They made a similar claim regarding the Woodland Dormant environment but naturally, Scorpion was outperformed by the encironmentally specific MARPAT Woodland.

Turns Out, MultiCam Is Best
Despite explaining in the patent why MultiCam doesn’t work, testing demonstrated otherwise. What we learn, from the Army’s own published research, is that OCP aka Scorpion W2 doesn’t perform as well as OEFCP aka MultiCam, except in one environment, the Woodland Dormant environment (think fall and winter). Let me put it another way. According to Army testing, MultiCam outperforms Scorpion in four out of five critical operating environments. And yet, the Army adopted Scorpion anyway and is paying Crye Precision a royalty for this lesser performing pattern. Scorpion or MultiCam, Crye Precision receives a royalty. The Army spent time and taxpayer money to develop a pattern that performs less well than what they already had. In summation, the uniforms our Soldiers are getting now (OCP) don’t perform as well as the uniforms they were issued even a month ago (OEFCP).

Bottom Line
Based on the data presented in the patent, you can only come to one conclusion.  When you consider cost and performance, the Army should just drop the charade and fully adopt Crye’s MultiCam. Even better, the Army would gain access to Crye’s environmental specialty patterns which are already seeing limited operational use with certain customers.

A Note To Readers:
I’d like to wrap this up by pointing out that I am not a lawyer, but I did read the patent, and that for brevity, I’ve described some things, like types of patents, in rather generic terms. I’ll let the actual patent attorneys argue over the intricacies of Intellectual Property law but I’m sure there will be plenty of others who also want to chime in. All I ask is that you have an idea of what you are talking about and are prepared to explain the basis of any comments.

This article was updated on 16 July, 2015 to add imformation about patent 9,062,938 “Camouflage Patterns”, 23 June, 2015.

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136 Responses to “US Army Issued Patent for Scorpion Camo; Admits Pattern Inferior to MultiCam”

  1. Erik says:

    Oh snap….
    I wish I had something more to add, but I think you pretty much hit that point squarely.

  2. Dev says:

    My oh my. Mistakes after mistakes to cover the arses of the decision makers and bean counters that got into the mess in the first place.

    Whatever happened to taking responsibility and admission of fault and culpability?

    • Philip says:

      That only applies down the chain…

      The brass’ next medal or joint staff assignment would be jeopardized if it went both ways.

      • Darkhorse says:

        i’m pretty sure Mortlock got a ham sandwich and a road map when PEO gave him the dufflebag drag… Shoulda been a 15-6 investigation for waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer $$$

  3. Chris K. says:

    Well done, excellent article.

  4. netrunner says:

    outstanding article

  5. MRC says:

    Good job Eric!

  6. Mick says:

    If I were in an HR dept in the defense industry.. I would collate the names of the DOD buffoons involved in this chicanery onto a “do not hire” list.

    • Johns381 says:

      You know at a certain level of defense industry executive it doesn’t matter what HR says.

  7. Weaver says:

    So, next question – what officer is hetting his star by pushing the Army to adopt Scorpion over Multicam (Developed unique camo pattern and husbanded through to Service-wide adoption)?

  8. orly? says:

    Again, I am still curious.

    Why was UCP originally considered “superior” in the first place?

    • Johns381 says:

      It wasn’t really about performance but a branding image. The Army couldn’t let the Marines out cool them with digital camo.

      • orly? says:

        You forget the first trials had Scorpion in them.

        They found UCP better than Scorpion, explain that.

        • Johns381 says:

          I don’t remember seeing that trial result.

        • Seamus says:

          To my knowledge the Army never released that info (or the info about the phase IV trials). I would love for them to do so and let the facts be known. I know nothing will come of it and probably everyone involved in the decision is now retired but at least put it out there in the hopes that this could be avoided in the future.

          • LL says:

            I vaguely remember claims about UCP superiority under NV and I did think it looked pretty good but when you’re dealing with goat herders visible spectrum should trump any NV consideration

  9. Sapper says:

    Thanks for putting this on blast. The small minds have nowhere to hide. Today im going to test the waters of 1st EN BDE in OEF-CP. Wish me luck, ive got the ALARACT and DA PAM 670-1 as my ammunition. Hopefully i dont need to fight too hard.

    • Ray says:

      Good luck to you. I think you have the right ammo. Let us know if you make any new “friends”

  10. DBG says:

    The Daily Show with Jon Stewart needs to take this and run with it one night. *reaches for popcorn*

  11. Adam says:

    In the comparison chart, there were two patterns listed; DTC #01 and #02. Are they referring to AOR 01 & 02, or something different?

  12. JB says:

    “According to Army testing, MultiCam outperforms Scorpion in four out of five critical operating environments. And yet, the Army adopted Scorpion anyway and is paying Crye Precision a royalty for this lesser performing pattern.”

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!

    This. Is. Awesome.

    Thanks for this one SSD, fantastic article.

    • Stephen says:

      WOW, I think our government just slapped itself in the face, they adopt something slightly inferior to save a buck and but yet still pay royalties??? Wonder how much money was pissed away on not going with multicam, not like the most popular gear vendors aren’t already making this stuff??? Who wants to develop camo patterns for the government for them to eventually make a spin off, that doesn’t incentivize industry and shows super poor ethics…!

      Way to go SSD for this very informative piece.

      • LL says:

        I guess the question would be how much is the difference between paying them for multicam use and paying for scorpion? I remember UK and Poles have some patterns similar from multicam too

    • balais says:

      Army stupid, army strong.

      • xdarrows says:

        There are smart Rangers … and there are strong Rangers. The Army is being (and has been) led by some very strong Rangers.

  13. Rob says:

    Is anyone else reading in the abstract that the helmet and head cover is a different pattern than the coat and trouser? The helmet and head cover is missing Light Sage 560.

    SSD, thank you for putting together a very informative piece. This is truly incredible and I hope we hear from Crye in the future.

  14. Kyle Defoor says:

    Just come on over for the big win…..TeamMulticam!

    All seriousness- well put together E. This took some time and it’s appreciated by a lot of folks on the user end who can reference particulars quickly and simply with this post.

    Respect,
    KD

  15. Mash68w says:

    Can’t we all just agree it’s better than UCP and move on

    • CAVstrong says:

      +1

    • Seamus says:

      No!! Because this is nothing more than Army trying to steal a private companies pattern. Crye would be upset except for the fact that Army is too incompetent to accomplish the heist without paying royalties.

      • LL says:

        Yeah but how much are the royalties for the almost as good but unused scorpion in comparison to the already militarily and commercially successful multicam?

        • TH says:

          I’ve purchased fabrics with both print variants – the royalty cost are similar.

          Scholarly work Eric – much appreciated.

  16. Brian says:

    Interesting article. I’ll admit that I wish the Army had just adopted Crye’s Multicam. However, while it is technically true that “According to Army testing, MultiCam outperforms Scorpion in four out of five critical operating environments.” I’d point out that the difference in performance is very small. According to the table you printed OEFCP scored an avg of 58 and Scorpion scored an avg of 56. In the arid environment, OEFCP scored a 58 while Scorpion scored a 50. Maybe that is significant, but Scorpion outperformed OEFCP in dormant woodland 57 to 52. In the other environments Scorpion was very close to OEFCP in performance. Whether the Army should have adopted Multicam for other reasons is a different matter, (and again, I think they should have) but the performance difference just doesn’t seem that big to me.

    • Riceball says:

      The thing is, originally, one of the purported reasons that the Army went with Scorpion instead of Multicam was that they didn’t want to pay Crye a licensing fee for using MC, but now that it seems that the Army has to pay a fee to Crye anyway for using Scorpion. So the question is then, shouldn’t the Army have just adopted MC since they’re paying either way regardless and if you’re going to be paying for a camo pattern wouldn’t want to pay for the better one, even if only marginally better? This also begs the question, is the Army paying less for using Scorpion than they were for MC or is it the same, or even more?

    • SSD says:

      When you’re paying for both, why not continue to buy the one that works better and has a well established industrial base? After all, they’ve had MultiCam for years. The Army decided to expand the time and dollars to reinvent the wheel and then, couldn’t quite make it work.

      • Engineer says:

        Not invented here syndrome?

        • Brett says:

          The brass have to justify the billions of dollars they spend on R&D within the establishment, no matter how good the products outside the establishment be. After all, if they don’t spend (waste) that money in the budget this year it won’t be there next year, or some such fiscal retardation.

          • Bradkaf308 says:

            If little Canada can come up with CadPat, we the US Army can do better. Bit of a pissing match?
            Some times COTS is better, not just easier.

    • majrod says:

      Agree Brian. Very minor difference. Reminds me of the difference in reliability between the M4 and the HK416.

      I’m not supporting the Army’s approach but a lot gets overlooked in the analysis.

      Owning the pattern provides the gov’t flexibility. E.G. Let’s say the Army decides to paint vehicles in Scorpion there are no fees to a third party.

      Right or wrong owning military tech is a very strong instinct in the military.

      Is the printer license the same cost as the royalty fee for using multicam? If so it is silly to avoid multicam over a licensing fee to end up paying it anyway. Further, is the printer license fee a necessary evil with smaller production vs. the potential of having to surge in times of conflict (e.g. WWIII) and secure other non license paying printing facilities to meet demand?

      The Army did do work on their Scorpion pattern before the latest adoption decision. This is largely overlooked because the Army withdrew Scorpion from the Phase IV because it looked so close to Multicam. It made for easier analysis to eliminate an alternative. See what happens when you take the easy way out?

      In the end nothing is going to change. No one will be held responsible for choosing Scorpion over Multicam, who selected UCP a decade ago or why UCP (and five other patterns) had to be developed in the first place.

      • Engineer says:

        ^ This x1000. The military has lost the ability to hold people accountable for failure and instead punishes innovative thinkers.

    • CAVstrong says:

      I think the crucial aspect here are forgetting is branding. While over the past ten years our military has taken branding to an extreme. There is still value and importance to having your military look unique and distinctive on the battle field. While certain personnel in certain situations do require absolute stealth your average soldier, even your average light infantrymen doesn’t require that.

      For this reason I am very very happy with Scorpion. While it might not be “as good as” in an unavoidably subjective test it has proven to be good enough. Plus more importantly it’s is uniquely American.

      • Riceball says:

        But the thing is, Scorpion is barely recognizable as being different from Multicam, unless you really know the MC pattern and really compare the two you can’t tell the different, certainly not from a casual glance so branding kind of goes away there. The other thing is, if you’re going to wind up paying for a camo pattern no matter what, why not pay for a better pattern? Unless the Army is getting Scorpion for practically free when compared to MC the Army would probably have been better off continuing to pay Crye for MC.

    • Historia says:

      The difference could be a bullet

      • KP says:

        He’s pointing out that the difference is in the aggregate score. The Scorpion kind of OCP outperformed the Multicam kind of OCP in some areas but overall did worse. Part of it is the weighting system and part of it is that Multicam is more multi than Scorpion.

  17. straps says:

    OUTSTANDING analysis and reporting.

    And makes me still angrier that Army didn’t accept Crye’s terms (sadly, chump change in the defense sector), thus owning (a) the superior pattern and (b) the bookends.

  18. Engineer says:

    It’s pretty stunning how much better each MARPAT performed in its respective environ. We should have adopted it service wide to begin with, then developed a transitional variant.

    • SSD says:

      The move to a single pattern was about dollars and cents.

      • ThatBlueFalcon says:

        And not much sense at that…

      • Engineer says:

        Agreed, but I wonder what the costs would have been had we adopted back in 2001. We have essentially created 2 uniforms amortized over the same period.

        • SSD says:

          It’s about basis of issue. You could issue one uniform to all, say the woodland version and the desert uniform only to deployers. Hey, wait a second…that’s how we used to do it and we ended up with folks in Iraq in Woodland BDUs.

          • majrod says:

            “we ended up with folks in Iraq in Woodland BDUs.”

            Yes and unarmored HMMWV’s, flak jackets vs. body armor, M16’s vs. M4’s etc. It’s hard to realize how much it takes to equip hundreds of thousands when one comes from a community that only consists of tens of thousands that always get the best first. All that said, we still remain the only nation that can project all that combat power. Perfection is hard to achieve.

            (FWIW, I’ve been on the short end of the stick wearing woodland as the lead BN taking on the Republican Guard in ’91 while the POGs back in Saudi Arabia were wearing chocolate chip.)

            Issuing the less used camo pattern when needed is a viable solution. (Much easier to do if we get back to common patterns to ease stockpiling costs. That’s not going to happen soon either.)

            • Riceball says:

              The simplest solution to this would be to do what the Corps does and just issue everybody a set of woodland and a set of desert cammies, or in this case, a set of OCP and a set of desert. Or, at the very least, issue combat arms troops, and maybe MPs as well, a set of deserts once they complete their schooling and check in to their respective units. Not perfect but it would make it much more likely for most combat arms troops to have a desert uniform when/if they deploy to the desert and it would mean a lot fewer people would have to wait to be issued a set from warehouse stockpiles.

              • SSD says:

                Army says they can’t afford that across the board, although, your second option is what used to happen for many units prior to UCP. Everyone had Woodland BDUs and certain units were issued specialized OCIE such as DCUs.

                • Engineer says:

                  I don’t understand how they say they can’t afford that, don’t they issue several uniform sets in Basic anyway? I realize I may be ignorant of manufacturing costs, but it seems to me the slightly higher per uniform cost of 2 colorways is less than the billions they’ve spent on a pattern that’s going away.

                  • SSD says:

                    Well, for one thing, you’d have to raise the basis of issue from four uniforms in one pattern to six or even eight in two patterns. That’s a substantial increase for an organization as large as the U.S. Army. Then, there are other issues that the Marine Corps, which issues two separate terms is still dealing with such as outer garments.

                    • SubandSand says:

                      I thought the Corps was only required two in each pattern as its only worn half the time.

                    • SSD says:

                      But in that “half-time” it’s worn “full-time”. Six sets of cammies in the sea bag.

                • balais says:

                  They can afford it. They’re lying through their fucking lips.

                  Considering the amount of money the DOD has pissed away over the past 20 years, the argument of “not being able to afford” two terrain variants of the same camo pattern is complete bullshit.

                  So now we have the entire UCP debacle, the initial issue of OEF multicam in 2010, and now scorpion. Thats three different patterns over the same time that we could have retained desert and woodland MARPAT.

                  • Riceball says:

                    The issue with the Army not adopting MARPAT wasn’t because the Army didn’t want, it was because the Marine Corps didn’t let them have it. IIRC, when the Army first started looking for a new camo pattern and before they settled on UCP (out of the blue) they had asked the Marine Corps about using MARPAT, but the Corps got pissy about it and refused to share. Sadly, the SecDef did not order the SecNav and/or the Commandant of the Marine Corps to play nice and share with the Army.

      • Historia says:

        Not Dollars and Sense apparently

    • sefryak says:

      I’d like to see the testing results from the Camo competition and see how how Crye’s bookends (and the other competitors) matched up against MARPAT. That would be a more accurate comparison than an area specific pattern versus a general one.

      • majrod says:

        +1

      • Mac says:

        You do realize AOR1 & 2 outperform MARPAT and that’s why they were used for the benchmark patterns for Phase IV testing instead of MARPAT?

        • Riceball says:

          That may be true but what makes you think that the Navy is any more likely to offer the AORs, especially 1, to the Army? The Corps patently refused to share MARPAT with the Army way back when and the Navy had to restrict AOR1 to NSW only because of how closely it resembles desert MARPAT. If the Navy did offer AOR1 & 2 it would likely piss off the Corps because of the whole AOR1 vs. desert MARPAT thing and would probably make many in the Navy unhappy as well because I imagine that AOR1 is looked at as being for too good for regular grunts because it’s issued to NSW only.

          Admittedly though, it would be nice if the SecDef could manage to declare that from this point on if anybody wanted a new pattern it had to be an existing one, regardless of who owns it. If it’s branded like MARPAT and the AORs then they need to create a secondary batch sans the embedded logo for all other branches. It would negate the cost savings some but it would still be easier and cheaper than having different patterns for every branch.

          • SSD says:

            By law, a military department cannot restrict its camouflage pattern from use by another service.

            • Riceball says:

              But that wasn’t always so was it? Otherwise the Amy might have ended up adopting MARPAT instead of UCP way back when. That is unless the whole story about the Corps refusing to let the Army use MARPAT is more myth and legend than truth.

          • Mac says:

            The Navy doesn’t own the AOR patterns, USSOCOM does. NSW were the only ones who decided to use the patterns. And AOR is not just issued to NSW. There plenty of Seabees running around in it the NWU Type 2 & 3 uniforms that have absolutely nothing to do with NSWC.
            As for your second paragraph, look up the Enyart Amendment and the 2014 NDAA.

            • Riceball says:

              AOR1 is restricted to NSW, purportedly due to its close resemblance to desert MARPAT and the Corps not liking that. So as a compromise, the Navy restricted the usage of AOR1 to members of NSW only, non-NSW deploying to ta desert (and who aren’t Corpsmen assigned to a Marine unit) would have to wear the old 3 color desert cammies.

  19. Bill says:

    I guess the only think I am ticked about is them spending the money to redevelop Scorpion, only to still pay Crye. We knew Scorpion was likely an inferior pattern to Multicam.

    I am not surprised by the way the two performed. The greens and browns of Scorpion are more vivid and take up larger areas of the pattern.

    Honestly, if we are paying significantly less to use Scorpion than they would to extend the use of Multicam, then ok. Budgets are down and saving money for something that is almost as good seems like a fine way to go. If however, we are paying Crye the same amount or close to for Scorpion, then fuck them.

    I’d say if we need an arid uniform quickly for some reason (back to Iraq and into Syria?) three color desert will likely complement Scorpion pretty well.

  20. Brando says:

    Great write up! So can we finally close the door on the ridiculous Army GWOT Camo Fiasco?

    • majrod says:

      Agree but it’s much bigger than just the Army and a problem we will revisit again all too soon when the next fight starts or a branch gets tired of its current pattern.

  21. Sampson says:

    Your characterization of design patents and utility patents in general is just flat out wrong. Perhaps nobody here will be impacted, but this kind of irresponsible characterization may lead an inventor to mistakenly believe that the design patent he secured through an invention promotion company is better than a utility patent that a competent practitioner would have otherwise secured.

    It’s only because the claims of this utility patent is so narrow and very specifically directed to the pattern of the invention, that the Crye design patent may effectively become broader. Otherwise, utility patents are much broader in scope (further broadened by the doctrine of equivalents), as design patents cover only the ornamental features of a utilitarian article.

    It’s perfectly fine for a utility and a design patent to cover the same article, but the granting of the utility to the Army’s Scorpion pattern may lend some credence to an argument that the design patent is not valid as being directed to a utilitarian, not ornamental, feature.

    And the reason this patent issued so quickly is not because of some shady government conspiracy – the applicants merely filed a track 1 expedited examination request and paying $2,000. This is a process to which any applicant can avail themselves.

    • Sampson says:

      Sorry – being a large entity, the track 1 filing request has a fee of $4,000.

    • SSD says:

      I highly doubt that a company is going to come in here, read this article and run out and get a patent based on what they read.

      Of course, it could happen. I mean you seem to have glossed completely over the epilogue that informs that I’m not a lawyer and that I’ve offered rather simplified explanations of the types of patents, and you talk like a lawyer, so I suppose it’s possible that a common person could make that mistake. Except that I warned them that types of patents are more intricate than the scope of the article.

      And, as I said, fast tracking a patent is perfectly legal. Question is, why would the Army need to fast track this patent? And why would it be in the taxpayers’ interest to toss another $4k on this pyre?

  22. BAP45 says:

    Is it just me or does every competition or improvement plan seem to go the same way? Not just these recent things like the camo and carbine stuff but even going back to things like the M14 adoption. It feels like you can predict the outcome to these things before they even start.

    • Riceball says:

      That’s why I’m betting the new pistol competition will end up the same way, my bet is that the Army is either going to end up adopting the M9A1 that the Corps is using or the new A3(?) that Beretta recently came out with. I’d be really surprised if they chose a brand new pistol as a result of this competition.

      • 32sbct says:

        As long as the Spec Ops community can get whatever they need, is the M9A1 or the new A3 that bad of a choice? What we really need is the ability to use modern ammunition as opposed to ball ammo. If the ammo does not change what difference does a new pistol make?

        • SSD says:

          That’s a very valid point but one which may be impossible due to international agreements.

    • Johns381 says:

      It’s scary to think about. If they could screw up camo like this what about JLTV or JMR Helo?

  23. Lasse says:

    What system does these colors come from?

  24. No, the other Mike says:

    Quick question: Where has it been said that the Government is paying Crye a royalty on Scorpion?

    The Army owns the design which it sends to the printers and says “We need x many for $x” Where in there does Crye get anything?

    • SSD says:

      Crye Precision gets paid a royalty fee for every yard of Scorpion or MultiCam the Army uses because for some reason, the Army failed to negotiate any alternative with Crye.

      • Philip says:

        So by this logic (and do correct me if I’m wrong) doesn’t that mean if the Army sticks with Scorpion long enough, the royalty per yard fee will eventually come to equal (and later surpass) the one-time fee they could’ve paid for unrestricted rights to the family of patterns?

  25. 32sbct says:

    I have both the new OCP uniform and the OCP-EF uniform sitting right in front of me. The only difference I can see is that the OCP pattern does not have the small vertical elements that Mulitcam has. I find it very hard to believe that this small difference makes any real difference in the real world. Multicam is a great pattern but you can’t tell me that Scorpion W2 is not effective just because those little vertical elements are missing, you can’t even see them from about twenty yards away.

    I can tell you this, the design changes to the new uniform are great (collar, button cuffs, zipper on the arm pockets, etc.). This is a well thought uniform and should serve us well. We’ve been bitching about UCP since it came out and now we have a replacement. I can tell you that Fort Bragg is doing a great job keeping everything in stock except the new boots. So if you want it, it’s out there if you’re near one of the wave one bases.

    The bookend patterns will be required because there is no one pattern that fits all terrain. Go back to the original green dominant ERDL for jungles and the three color desert for arid…done.

  26. m5 says:

    The meaningfulness of the performance scores of the patterns, as shown in ‘Table 4’ of the patent, heavily depends on how representative the backdrop environments tested are for actual areas of operation. The patent application gives no details: no number of backdrop pictures used, no info on simulated observation distances, geographical locations, vegetation zones, etc.

    Moreover, the scoring is based on the *subjective* performance ratings given by the test persons, not on measured human response data. Amazing, but this is what the text implies. If this really is the case, there is a bias based on the personal preferences of the soldier-observers. No wonder Multicam won! And the abysmal performance of UCP is perhaps exaggerated further.

    I would be very hesitant to draw conclusions based on the performance scores, except for UCP. Besides, in the US Army camo study of 2002-04, Scorpion finished 3rd out of 4.

    • SSD says:

      The fact that this info in the patent at all is fortuitous. What’s more, it’s the only test data the Army has divulged so we have to take it at face value. After all, they felt it was germane to the patent and it’s their data. We have to assume that they chose backgrounds that were operationally relevant and we have to assume that the test subjects gave honest responses. If the data was as corrupt as you suggest, then the Army wouldn’t have included it. After all, it didn’t exactly rubber stamp their invention. However, I am amused that you don’t want to accept all of the test data, just the UCP information.

      As for the 2003ish testing, it was not using picture-in-picture but rather, as I recall, the NATO observer test. Additionally, at the time, Scorpion was tested across multiple environments against tuned patterns which were parts of families like All Over Brush and Shadow Track. UCP did not exist for that particular round of testing but was, like Scorpion, sold on extrapolated data from the more extensive test regimes of other patterns.

      • m5 says:

        I’m not suggesting that the data is all corrupt. But I do suggest that one should be wary about drawing conclusions from it. The difference in the scores between, eg, Multicam and Scoprion are slight, and could easily result from the limited scope of the hasty study.

        However, the scores for UCP are so way off from the rest, that it is hard to believe that this could be due to the limitations of the study, or random noise.

        Moreover, I don’t suggest that the soldier-observer test persons would be dishonest. However, prior assumptions about the capabilities of the tested patterns necessary affect the subjective ratings, even if the test persons do their very best to be objective. The effect is well-known from a wide range of psychological experiments

      • m5 says:

        No. Scorpion did not compete against environmentally tuned versions of the other patterns in the final round (Phase IV) of the 2002-04 study. There were just four patterns left, and Scorpion finished third thereof.

        In the field evaluations, the winning pattern, Desert Brush, outperformed Scorpion in day-time field evaluations at two desert locations and two urban locations, whilst Scorpion did better at two woodland locations. The pattern ‘Woodland Track Mod’ ranked similarly against Scorpion, but with lesser margin. The performance difference in the night-time performance evaluations were small.

        Unfortunately, I cannot find a free link to the presentation of the study any longer, but here it is in Scribd:
        https://www.scribd.com/doc/44376850/Universal-Camouflage-for-the-Future-Force-Warrior-Ppt

        • SSD says:

          Perhaps we are talking past one another. There’s a reason these patterns have names that include words like “woodland” and “urban” and “desert”. It’s because they included environmentally specific color ways.

          • m5 says:

            Perhaps. My point is that the single pattern Desert Brush scored highest overall when evaluated – not only in desert – but also in urban and woodland conditions. So, even if the pattern was initially designed for desert – but modified for phases II and III – it had the best overall performance, hence being a more capable ‘multi-camouflage’ than Scorpion, the predecessor of Multicam, in this specific multi-environmental study of 2002-04.

            The results of the 2002-04 are illustrative of the limitations of such studies. In phase III of the latter Army camo improvement effort in 2009, a number of patterns were tested against environments relevant for Afghanistan, including ‘Rocky Desert’ and ‘Mountainous’. Multicam obtained the highest scores in these two environments, and also had the best overall performance, hence chosen as the OEF pattern.

            Had the 2002-04 study also included rocky and mountainous terrain types, the results would certainly have been different. Hence my point that without sufficient information about the test environments, the results tend to be meaningless, especially regarding subtle differences in performance.

            • SSD says:

              Did you know that Desert All Over Brush was tested in Afghanistan in 09? However, they paired the uniform with a armor vest that clashed, which may have skewed its performance.

            • balais says:

              That was another “big stupid” moment, the neglect and obfuscation of the success of desert brush.

  27. AZO1 says:

    My question is, why the hell did they change the orientation of the pockets on the new ACU? Its classic Army, last minute, just because crap. Why did we pick ACU? Just because. Why did we pick Scorpion? Just because. Why did you make the pockets slant backwards? Just because, soldier, now shut up and drive on, and now you cant reach anything in your pockets.

    • CAVstrong says:

      Agreed. And for the matter why did we even bother to retain the slanted chest pockets. Nobody….NOBODY uses those pockets under body armor. Make them straight. Heck but zipper on them in you want but all this slanting makes it look sloppy.

  28. Army Goes Rolling Along says:

    You do realize there are two patents, not one? Ask a patent lawyer about your analysis. You’ve totally missed the two key points of this patent.

    • SSD says:

      Yes, after conducting a new patent search I see there are two patents with much the same info. Thanks for the info. It explains some conflicting date issues I was running across.

      9,062,938 Camouflage Patterns, 23 June, 2015
      9,074,849 Camouflage for Garment Assembly 7 July, 2015

      Both share the same testing data that Multicam outperforms Scorpion W2.

      Are you concerned with the “Government Interests” section? You do realize that printers still have contractual obligations with Crye? And that those contractual relationships between Crye Precision and the printers were created at the insistence of the Army over the past several years?

      I’m open to the patent attorney analysis of what I missed. Please share.

  29. balais says:

    No, they should have told the marine corps to stfu and FORCED both desert and woodland marpat on all branches.

    Copyright be damned. the SECDEF should have done his job.

    I dont believe anybody that says it couldn’t have been done.

    • Ab5olut3zero says:

      +1

      This is the military, not summer camp. We do as we’re told.

    • Riceball says:

      I agree, the Commandant should have been ordered to let the Army use it, just create a version without the EGAs embedded in it and call it done. As much as I love my beloved Corps, they really got stupid and overly prideful after they developed MARPAT and the Army wanted to use it too.

      • Ab5olut3zero says:

        I’ve heard versions of the ‘they wont let me play dressup’ with both sides-Army and Marines- being stupid. It doesn’t matter who screwed the pooch at this point, fact is we never should have been in this fix and it’s probably a matter of time before we have this conversation yet again. Common pattern uniforms just makes too much sense, Branch pride be damned.

        • balais says:

          Im pretty much over blaming specific branches. As far as im concerned, they’re both at fault.

          As I’ve said before, If I was General Commissariat, I would punish all branches by eliminating all camo uniforms, and forcing the adoption of OD green across all branches and Coyote Brown for arid deployments. 😀

          • Ab5olut3zero says:

            Sounds good to me. Put on camouflaged armor and pouches over top and it would probably work just fine. But what do I know? I just ride a tank… And I agree both branches screwed that pooch, hard and dry.

  30. Stefan S. says:

    Never ceases to amaze me that common sense still alludes the Army. Retirement is excellent!

  31. Henrik says:

    They should just go for AOR1 and AOR2 for the whole military and be done with it. Drop all the Navy vs Army pride crap.
    We in the rest of the world are like “wtf!”.

    One pattern does not work. Multicam is a joke, not as bad a joke as UCP but still a joke. Multicam looks nice and worked well in A-stan, other than that it NEVER impressed me, in woodland it is almost as bad as UCP.

    • CAVstrong says:

      +10 to the one pattern doesn’t work comment.

    • balais says:

      Thats another proposal I’ve seen that would’ve been better than scorpion IMO. The AF would have accepted it, with them being eager to leave their stupid tiger striped UCP behind, and the army would have been able to flip the finger to the USMC by using a pattern that is similar to theirs.

  32. Don John says:

    Excellent article. I just read this article on Army Times just now about unit leaders prohibiting OCP wear. http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/careers/army/2015/07/17/sma-reminder-camouflage-patterns/30208285/

    The Soldiers fight back!!!

  33. Armchair Warlord says:

    Another hatchet job from Soldier Systems.

    The reason Crye hasn’t done anything is because they simply do not have a legal leg to stand on in this dispute. The Government has rights to the pattern, full stop, end of story – and if printers continue paying royalties to them despite the law stating otherwise, Crye and the printers will be on the hook to compensate the government.

    Crye Precision will have to find a new source of income. Maybe they can go back to selling gear to airsofters?

    • Armchair Warlord says:

      To further destroy the article, the clear language of the patent indicates that statistical analysis indicated Scorpion did not perform differently from Multicam in a manner that was statistically significant.

      In plain English, this means the Army could run the test again and expect to have opposite results.

      Soldier Systems’ endless disingenuous attacks on PEO-Soldier and Natick are shameful and reflect poorly on the integrity of its writers.

      • Ab5olut3zero says:

        And yet you continue to read their articles…

      • SSD says:

        Bwahahaha…I get such a kick out of this. The problem with your position is that the Army included, for some dumbass reason, what it had. I am literally ashamed at the chicanery demonstrated by the U.S. Army throughout his entire affair; sustained dishonorable actions by officers and officials. Furthermore, I know I am right when I read tripe like this.

    • SSD says:

      Crye Precision doesn’t have to do anything. They continue to be paid a royalty for the use of Scorpion.

      On the other hand, the Army has told printers that they would defend them in court if any printers decided to violate their royalty agreements with Crye Precision, even though such defense is against the law. Now, they’ve gotten a utility patent and inserted some silliness about government use without royalty payment and sent it to the printers, once again urging them to violate their contractual agreements. It’s starting to sound to me like someone in the government is in the racketeering business, urging businesses to violate contracts.

      I watch the Army try new tactic after new tactic to undermine Crye’s IP and commercial contractual agreements when all they need to do is negotiate in good faith with Crye Precision. It’s like the Army is playing the role of Wile E Coyote in the cartoons. Failure after failure.

      • Armchair Warlord says:

        Wow, looks like I hit a nerve. Is Crye paying you by the hour? Your sustained dishonesty in this affair makes it clear where your loyalties lie: with profiteers and not with the government and people of the United States of America. The US Army is a great bunch of people as long as they keep funneling taxpayer money into Caleb Crye’s pockets, I guess.

        The funny thing here is that the “fight” you’re talking about has not happened and will not happen. Crye has not contested this decision besides paying folks like you to throw mud and scream, because they have no legal leg to stand on. The Army has clear legal rights to Scorpion and does not owe any person royalties for its use, and it is clearly within its rights to demand any “backdoor royalties” going to Crye through the supply chain cease immediately.

        • SSD says:

          I don’t get paid to share what the Army is up to but your comment did remind of how I feel about the Army’s actions. But then I realized I was replying to a guy sitting in a cornfield.

        • SD says:

          Go back to licking the black boots of your fed overlords.

          Multicam > Scorpion. Period.

  34. Ab5olut3zero says:

    Wow. We waited a whole two weeks to start bitching about the new uniform pattern… ROFLMAO

  35. Uniform223 says:

    This is how I am understanding this whole circle jerk…I’m leaving out the whole legal and political issues just to keep things exceedingly simple than what is really going on.

    The US Army tested the original Scorpion pattern during early FCS/Land Warrior trials. The Scorpion and All Over Brush patterns were seen as the most successful of patterns tested. The US Army went on some weird path on its own to create UCP and adopt it. Years later after numerous complaints and overall dissatisfaction the US Army goes about on a “mission” to “Improve” the camouflage of the US Army.

    A RFP was put out for the Camouflage Improvement Program Phase IV. 4 private companies were selected; Kryptek, ADS, Crye Precision, and Brookwood. The US Army would test these patterns against AOR patterns and MARPAT patterns as well as other camouflage patterns in the US Army inventory. One of the patterns the 4 would be judged against was the original Scorpion pattern. Later on the Scorpion pattern would be taken out of the test as a “baseline” because it was too similar to the Multicam patterns.

    The US Army concluded that all patterns (transitional, arid, and temperate) presented by the 4 companies out performed baseline patterns and met given standards. It was widely reported and speculated that Multicam would be chosen and receive the contract. In the end none of the companies were selected at the end of testing and competition.

    Later down the road the US Army unveils a “new” camouflage pattern. This pattern would be a modified updated version of the “US Army’s” original Scorpion pattern; Scorpion W-2. This pattern would go on to be officially called OCP (Operational Camouflage Pattern) by the US Army.

    Whats old is new again…

    One thing that so many fail to mention or neglect is that the US Army’s failed UCP was the first widely issued patterns that was supposed to reduce the wearer’s silhouette when looked at through NODs.

    • SSD says:

      Pretty much on except that Phase III selected MultiCam after testing in Afghanistan.

  36. JB says:

    PEO-Soldier finally tries to defend themselves on here, and that shill is the best they can come up with?

    LOL…no wonder constant incompetence is the order of the day over there.

  37. Uniform223 says:

    Is there any information about the bookend patterns yet?