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MMI Textiles

Friday, July 24th, 2015

This sample of Valdyr camouflage was digitally printed on Durastretch 520V by MMI Textiles. You may recognize the pattern from Revision Military’s Kinetic Operations Suit built for USSOCOM’s TALOS program.


The Durastretch 520V is actually a lighterwight fabric than you’d think. It’s a Berry compliant, 5.3 oz, 90% Nylon/10% Spandex ripstop, stretch fabric. I’m hoping to see someone make something out of it soon (hint, hint Trey and Tom!).

MMI Textiles offers a variety of fabric printing capabilities including the digital print option seen above. Be sure to visit them at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, August 5th-8th in Salt Lake City, Utah – Booth # 355-304.

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

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

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.

Beyond Clothing – Limited Edition Lupus System Outfit

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015


Beyond Clothing and Orion Design Group have partnered up to produce the Lupus System outfit. The Lupus System consists of Beyond’s A5 Action Shirt, the A5 Rig Light Backcountry Pant, and the A5 Softshell beanie, all in ODG’s proprietary Lupus transitional camouflage pattern.

A5 Rig Light Backcountry Pant

The A5 Rig Light Backcountry Pant is a new design from Beyond. Intended as a lightweight alternative to the Rig Softshell Pant, the Light Backcountry pant is designed for active use in warmer weather. It’s constructed of a Tweave Durastretch material with DWR treatment.


  • Bar Button fly closure
  • Internal Suspender loops
  • Hand pockets
  • Zippered back pockets
  • Zippered Thigh Pockets
  • Articulated knees
  • Internal Knee Pad Pocket
  • Ankle Gaiters with Cinch Adjustment
  • Beyond_ODG_Lupus-5
    A5 Action Shirt

    The A5 Action Shirt is a lightweight softshell pullover constructed of Tweave Durastretch material with DWR treatment, making it highly wind and water resistant. The Action Shirt is also breathable, abrasion-resistant, and highly packable, making it appropriate for a wide variety of environments.


  • Front Quarter-zip
  • Zippered bicep pockets with loop patches
  • Hook and loop cuff closures
  • Beyond_ODG_Lupus-7
    A5 Softshell Beanie

    The A5 Softshell Beanie is constructed of the same Tweave Durastretch fabric with DWR treatment as the A5 Softshell pants and jackets. Designed for active use in cold weather, the Beanie offers protection from the elements, while the fleece lining warms and wicks away moisture from the wearer.


  • Light Fleece Liner bonded to 4-way stretch nylon shell
  • Flat Locked stitching
  • Low-Profile
  • The Lupis System is currently available for purchase on the Beyond Clothing website. Quantities are limited to just 200 pieces, and there is a discount for purchasing the entire kit.

    Hyperstealth Bids Farewell To Hollywood

    Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

    Hyperstealth released this rather well laid out statement regarding the decision to end their long relationship with the film industry.

    (July 13, 2015, Vancouver, B.C.) Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp. is a successful camouflage design and development company with over 4,000,000 military uniforms issued around the world which use their licensed camouflage patterns and over 12,000 camouflage patterns under worldwide copyright.

    Hollywood came calling nine years ago and since that time Hyperstealth has worked on developing camouflage used on many hundreds of uniforms for both TV series and blockbuster movies. The worldwide box office grosses for those movies which used Hyperstealth camouflage uniforms is $4.9 Billion U.S. dollars including 3 of the top 6 movies of all time. If you add the movies Hyperstealth has provided camouflage for pre or post production then the number goes to $6 Billion U.S. Dollars and adding those movies which used patterns developed by Guy Cramer, President/CEO of Hyperstealth but are independent of Hyperstealth then the total worldwide box office gross goes to 7.3 Billion U.S. dollars.

    Hyperstealth provided very fast short run production at fairly inexpensive rates. Whereas large textile printers require 10,000 yard minimums with considerable upfront costs on screen cuttings and color sampling and screen cutting alone could take weeks before the printer could begin production of the material. Hyperstealth also had a vast library of patterns to select from and the ability to change colors and scale to the studio requirements or even creating new patterns in just a few hours.

    The last thing a studio needs is to find themselves in is an expensive copyright infringement case which can occur if the studio used or developed a pattern close to another camouflage pattern owned by someone else and used it in their movie without permission of the original owner. Hyperstealth pattern use provided the studios that copyright security.

    So why has Hyperstealth decided to walk away from further Movie/TV business? This is not their core business. When times were lean a few years ago, these contracts helped supplement Hyperstealth’s revenue but the time constraints of all these productions required that Hyperstealth drop everything else and focus 110% on the movie or TV project working 12-16+ hour days and over weekends and holidays to meet their deadlines. Quite often the Science Fiction movies and TV series want something futuristic, a new material and/or a new pattern, something that no one has seen before. These Movie/TV requirements are usually more than what a country development program would require for a new military camouflage pattern, and country camouflage pattern development is currently the core business of Hyperstealth.

    In business there is an element of marketing, promotion and/or branding to offset the costs associated with the extra work required for these special short run jobs. However, getting a studio to authorize a press release or even allowing Hyperstealth to announce their pattern was used in a film or TV show was at best difficult. Hyperstealth was under strict NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreements) with the studios and productions and Hyperstealth didn’t even show up in any of the movie credits.

    Out of all the big movies Hyperstealth has worked on, only Marvel Studios provided a one page press release a week after the release of “Avengers; Age of Ultron” but would not allow the release of photos from the movie or production showing the camouflage uniforms. Hyperstealth had to take a photo of their camouflage material in their office to use with the press release.

    Guy Cramer, President/CEO of Hyperstealth “While we have been highly successful with the movies and TV shows, it has interfered with our key business and when you are unable to make that your highest priority, then we are putting Hollywood ahead of our main clients, that being country camouflage programs. We don’t need their (Hollywood) money, we can’t really afford the extra time and given Hollywood’s track record on credit, we don’t see any real benefits from further movies or TV shows.”

    As an aside I’d like to show you the camo pattern they are referencing from the “Age of Ultron“.


    Sneak Peek – Clothing in ODG Lupus Camo by Beyond

    Sunday, July 12th, 2015

    Coming soon from Beyond.

    AFSOC Testing All Terrain Tiger Camo

    Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

    According to an update on the Tiger Stripe Products website, AFSOC personnel are testing the All Terrain Tiger camouflage pattern.

    UPDATE 25 June 2015:

    Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) personnel begin Testing & Evaluation of All Terrain Tiger™ (ATT™). Details pending.

    Who could blame them? Despite the Army’s transition to the Operational Camouflage Pattern, the Air Force continues to issue the four color grey-based digital tigerstripe camouflage pattern it adopted in 2006. Granted, deployers are issued kit in OCP and Air Force personnel assigned to AFSOC, select Battlefield Airmen and Security Forces personnel assigned to Global Strike Command wear MultiCam. However, the garrison uniform remains digital tigerstripe. It’s also used for may deployments includimg contingency operations.


    All Terrain Tiger was actually envisioned by TSP as an operational alternative to the USAF’s digital Tigerstripe pattern. While All Terrain Tiger may end up being used for specialized applications on deployments, patterns such as this are often also used by OPFOR for training.

    For more info, visit,

    Hyde Definition Announces The Launch Of

    Wednesday, July 1st, 2015


    29 June 2015


    Designed and built in-house, is the new central, brand-hub for the PenCott® family of camouflage patterns from Hyde Definition Ltd.

    This is the first time that the PenCott® pattern family has had its own dedicated website, and greatly expands and improves upon the PenCott® pattern content that has been previously held on the website.  Among other enhancements, the new site features an in-depth look at the development of the patterns, what makes them so effective and where the name ‘PenCott’ comes from. 


    Another key highlight of the new site is the wide-ranging and ever growing gallery of submitted photographs showing the performance of the patterns in-the-field around the world.  There’s even an interactive map of the world that lets you select to see photos of the patterns in use by country (and by state in the US).

    A useful section of the site for Makers is the page covering the range of different PenCott® pattern fabrics and materials that are now available – as well as links to sources where they can be bought.


    Consumers will find the full, up-to-date listing of PenCott® garment and gear producers – with links off to their websites – an invaluable resource for getting kitted up in PenCott®.

    Finally, the Blog section of the site will present all of the latest news related to the PenCott® patterns, as well as additional original content relating to the field of camouflage history, design and technologies.


    With the launch of the separate site, the legacy site will be revamped and refocused to cover the consultancy services and other camouflage projects that Hyde Definition works on.

    Check out today – and also don’t forget to follow PenCottCamo on Facebook and Instagram too.