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Thread: US Navy Patent: Really??

  1. #31
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    And bear in mind as well that the Inuit do not exist in a vacuum. 40 years ago is after the release of Star Wars; one, or several, of these witnesses may have seen the first of these films, or maybe any of the many other sci-fi films and TV programs that take inertialess flight to be a normal part of spaceflight (hint- it isn't). Canada isn't a complete cultural desert, and it wasn't 40 years ago either.

  2. #32
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    As an anthropology student... could we please not say “primitive”?
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  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    As an anthropology student... could we please not say “primitive”?
    I think that's a fair request. Just in my defense, I brought up the word but I deliberately put it in "scare quotes" to indicate that it's not really a proper word to use. Others seem to have replied to my post but without using the quotation marks.
    As above, so below

  4. #34
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    Is it possible that this is a patent along the lines of,

    "the drive itself does not exist, but if it ever does, we hold the patent for this particular application of such a drive."

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    Quote Originally Posted by stutefish View Post
    Is it possible that this is a patent along the lines of,

    "the drive itself does not exist, but if it ever does, we hold the patent for this particular application of such a drive."
    Those kinds of patents should not be enforceable as I understand it. The WIPO guidelines say:
    - The invention must be capable of industrial application, meaning that it must be capable of being used for an industrial or business purpose beyond a mere theoretical phenomenon, or be useful.
    - The invention must be disclosed in an application in a manner sufficiently clear and complete to enable it to be replicated by a person with an ordinary level of skill in the relevant technical field.

    So if someone came up with an alternative way to do this they should be able to challenge the original patent holder to demonstrate their patented invention. And if they cannot, the patent is revoked. In the US this is enhanced by the requirement of 'utility' for a patent grant. If you can't show that you have something that can do what you claim it can then the patent can be challenged. So I don't see these patents as particularly useful as they'd probably be shot down fairly quickly if a working technology came along.

    At least that is my understanding. I am not a lawyer.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by stutefish View Post
    Is it possible that this is a patent along the lines of,

    "the drive itself does not exist, but if it ever does, we hold the patent for this particular application of such a drive."
    I'm not familiar enough with US patent law, and it is constantly changing (particularly the interpretations of it), but I have seen patents like that. Back when I grew quartz crystals, I saw a patent (also from a government lab) for filtering impurities out of hydrothermal solutions (350+C and 10,000+ psi) so as to grow more perfect crystals. The patent was granted, even though there was no alloy in existence out of which someone could fabricate a filter to actually do such a thing. But at least that patent didn't violate known physics.
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  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Those kinds of patents should not be enforceable as I understand it. The WIPO guidelines say:
    - The invention must be capable of industrial application, meaning that it must be capable of being used for an industrial or business purpose beyond a mere theoretical phenomenon, or be useful.
    - The invention must be disclosed in an application in a manner sufficiently clear and complete to enable it to be replicated by a person with an ordinary level of skill in the relevant technical field.

    So if someone came up with an alternative way to do this they should be able to challenge the original patent holder to demonstrate their patented invention. And if they cannot, the patent is revoked. In the US this is enhanced by the requirement of 'utility' for a patent grant. If you can't show that you have something that can do what you claim it can then the patent can be challenged. So I don't see these patents as particularly useful as they'd probably be shot down fairly quickly if a working technology came along.

    At least that is my understanding. I am not a lawyer.
    Yes to all of that (by my understanding). However, it is also my understanding that there are no challenge mechanisms in the US (there are in other countries) other than taking it to court (and that is usually for patent infringement). So, unless someone takes it to court, the patent stands.

    It is sad that an examiner allowed the patent, but having dealt several times with such things, I'm pretty unimpressed by the knowledge of many patent examiners.
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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Yes to all of that (by my understanding). However, it is also my understanding that there are no challenge mechanisms in the US (there are in other countries) other than taking it to court (and that is usually for patent infringement). So, unless someone takes it to court, the patent stands.
    I thought that all changed in 2012-3 with the America Invents legislation. You can ask for a patent review (an ex parte re-examination - at a cost of $18,000 though...) which you can't take part in. If you want to actually take part you have to go for an opposition challenge (an inter partes review). If that fails you can then go to court.

    But, yes, it is a great example of a patent that simply should not have been granted. I have some sympathy with the patent staff - they probably had a bunch of convincing people with jobs suggesting strong scientific credentials telling them that this was feasible.

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    Been a long time.... I decided to look a little deeper at the patent process info and found some things..... The patent was rejected by the examiner initially and the Navy appealed. The appeal was filed by a Dr. James Sheehy, Chief Technology Officer of the Naval Air Systems Command stating that:

    " I am familiar with the above referenced patent application as well as the development, usage and properties of the craft using an inertial mass reduction device. That as a result of my education and career I am regarded as a subject matter expert and can be considered a person of ordinary skill in the art in the subject matter of the above patent application."

    " That the invention described in the above referenced patent application is enabled via the physics described in the patent application and the peer reviewed papers described in the Inventor Amendment dated January 23, 2018."

    He also says that he makes the statements with the knowledge that " willful false statements and the like so made are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, under USC 18 1001."

    WOW...

    The appeal included a reference some IEEE paper relating to "Estimation of Q-Factors and Resonant Frequencies". The Examiner, Philip J Bonzell then allowed the Patent. I believe it cost the Navy $800 to appeal.

    Also found the below on a website after searching Dr. Sheehy:

    (fncypants)
    "Being a patent lawyer, I had to dig a little deeper because there is a record behind every patent.
    As you some of you already know, the patent office does not freely give patents for impossible devices. No perpetual motion machines, no magic invisibility cloaks, nothing that an ordinary person in the relevant art could not build after reading the patent. This is a doctrine called “enablement”—the patent, plus what is already known in the art, must be enough to enable one to build a working device without undue experimentation. This is the quid pro quo of the patent system: to get ownership of the invention for 20 years, you must tell everyone enough about it to build it themselves.

    This patent almost suffered the fate of non-enablement at the patent office. What led to its issuance is the interesting part because patent examiner tried and tried to reject this patent as not “enabling” the invention. Yet it issued anyways.

    I cannot link directly to the patent prosecution documents, but the files are public and you can find them at the USPTO database[0] by searching for the patent's application number 15/141,270.

    The patent was filed in April 2016. The first action by the USPTO was in November 2017 with the usual delay and it rejected all claims as not enabling the invention. Simply put the examiner said: “You’re claiming a perpetual motion machine, good-bye.”

    The patent examiner and the applicant held an interview in January 2018, which is an ordinary event to try to convince the examiner is wrong. The examiner pointed out “that he still felt there were enablement issues.” The applicant disagreed. No agreement was reached.

    A few days later, the applicant filed his formal response to the rejection. He attached a published article under his authorship in AIAA Space Forum[1]. He also cited other publications on how to “generate extremely high EM flux intensities.” Basically, he's saying I'm peer-reviewed here is some other peer-reviewed articles, and it being peer-reviewed that's all you need to know.

    But most interestingly, he attached a letter from Dr. James Sheehy, Chief Technical Officer of the Naval Systems Air Command, indicating that the amount of magnetic field and electricity described as being required by the patent “can be created, and thus the invention is enabled.” Dr. James Sheehy is a real dude, with that real title and corresponding resume.[2]

    Dr. Sheehy’s letter is fascinating. It asserts that the applicant is currently one year into a project to demonstrate the feasibility of high EM field-energy and flux and has begun experimenting with associated propulsion systems. Dr. Sheehy says he believes the research shows the invention will be a reality. Then he says (seriously, he says) “China is already investing significantly in this area and I would prefer we hold the patent opposed to paying forever more to use this revolutionary technology.”

    The examiner at the patent office (who is typically kind of knowledgeable in the field) nevertheless called B.S. Peer-reviewed, shmear-reviewed. He rejected the application again finally in March 2018. He pointed out "for a high energy electromagnetic field to polarize a quantum vacuum as claimed it would take 10^9 teslas and 10^18 V/m." He said "these levels are not feasible with current technology so how would someone of ordinary skill be able to know how to create this craft? The largest magnetic field ever created is 10^3 teslas and a neutron star is 10^ teslas so how are you using a microwave emitter that produces a magnetic field that is three orders of magnitude greater than a neutron star?" And so on... Basically, the examiner said this is bull****.

    As is often done in this situation, the applicant filed an appeal from the patent examiner’s rejection. This is usually a procedure that is next addressed by a board of patent judges, with more briefing, typically oral argument, and takes months to years. But the appeal was never picked up after it was lodged, and it is unclear why. Two months after the appeal was filed, on October 31, 2018, the examiner (for no reason apparent in the file) allowed the patent to issue without comment and on the same day the government paid the fees it owed. The patent was issued in due course.

    Whether or not the named inventor was a crank, and whether or not the invention was equally frivolous, this was a patent prosecuted by a Navy attorney, vouched for by the Navy CTO, and pushed through under atypical circumstances, in a public forum.

    What's even more intriguing is that, if the Navy wanted, it could obtain the patent under a secrecy order that would keep it from the public's eyes until it was declassified.

    Knowing all this, now ask yourself why this impossible sounding patent issued in a public forum with high-level brass support under tax payer dollars."

    [0] https://portal.uspto.gov/pair/PublicPair

    [1] https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/pdf/10.2514/6.2017-5343

    [2] https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-sheehy-28437a8/

    Some other interesting links...

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...nt-is-operable
    Last edited by Grant Hatch; 2020-Nov-13 at 09:09 PM.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch View Post
    Been a long time.... I decided to look a little deeper at the patent process info and found some things..... The patent was rejected by the examiner initially and the Navy appealed. The appeal was filed by a Dr. James Sheehy, Chief Technology Officer of the Naval Air Systems Command stating that:

    " I am familiar with the above referenced patent application as well as the development, usage and properties of the craft using an inertial mass reduction device. That as a result of my education and career I am regarded as a subject matter expert and can be considered a person of ordinary skill in the art in the subject matter of the above patent application."

    " That the invention described in the above referenced patent application is enabled via the physics described in the patent application and the peer reviewed papers described in the Inventor Amendment dated January 23, 2018."

    He also says that he makes the statements with the knowledge that " willful false statements and the like so made are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, under USC 18 1001."

    WOW...
    That’s nice. So when will there be a lab demonstration and more importantly, when will there be independent lab tests of the claimed inertia reduction? I couldn’t care less about completely unsupported scientific claims or a patent based on these claims. There are plenty of nonsense patents, and people making claims they can’t support.
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2020-Nov-13 at 09:30 PM.

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  11. #41
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    If everything in post 49 is true, and I have to say I haven't tried to verify anything, what I would conclude is that a scientist at the DOD is working on something that is intriguing, but doesn't seem to have any feasibility now. If it was feasible, then surely they would have issued a secrecy order and the information would not be public. But if they realize that Chinese scientists are working in this area, and they think there could be some breakthrough some time in the future, then filing a patent would be a sort of insurance policy. The statement by the Chief Technical Office seems to be saying that, the way I read it.
    As above, so below

  12. #42
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    This story exhibits a worrysome trend for me, that patents have fully swung from protecting an inventor with a deal that gives the state access, to a means for large organisations to squash the small. The method is to file a bizarre patent then use it to attack any later invention, knowing that the huge cost of defending is prohibitive, plus the even bigger penalties for (unfairly) losing are scary. This is a reversal of the original intentions of invention patents which developed out of monopolies in trade. I have experienced this when applying, you get a cease and desist notice from a big player whose argument is “ if you are working in this area you must be infringing our patents” with no specifics. It is especially insidious if the bulldozer patent is “if anyone finds a way to do antigravity, we claim priority for the fictional idea” or similar. It would not work for any small company but it seems allowed for huge vested interests.
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  13. #43
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    OK, but Why? Does the Navy think an inertialess drive is coming soon or what? Why would they bother to patent a seemingly impossible drive system? And then there is this from the (fncypants) patent lawyer scratching his head in puzzlement: [ "Dr. Sheehy’s letter is fascinating. It asserts that the applicant is currently one year into a project to demonstrate the feasibility of high EM field-energy and flux and has begun experimenting with associated propulsion systems. Dr. Sheehy says he believes the research shows the invention will be a reality. Then he says (seriously, he says) “China is already investing significantly in this area and I would prefer we hold the patent opposed to paying forever more to use this revolutionary technology.” ] Really? I think there is more to this than meets the eye. But what??

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch View Post
    OK, but Why? Does the Navy think an inertialess drive is coming soon or what? Why would they bother to patent a seemingly impossible drive system?
    When someone promotes a “new physics” based technology claim, it typically comes down to one or more of these things.

    (1) The researcher (or researchers) is/are not subject matter experts. See for instance, Pons and Fleischmann and their cold fusion claim. They didn’t seem to understand just how unlikely their claim was and didn’t test things they should have before making their claim.

    (2) The researcher is a subject matter expert but doesn’t test carefully enough or just misses something. The claimed FTL neutrinos were an example where an important detail was originally missed in the experiments. There are also cases where the researcher (perhaps not consciously) refuses to consider possibilities that would cause their experiment to fail. Rather they are only interested in results that seem to confirm their hypothesis.

    (3) It is a scam. This is often seen with magic energy machine claims, but it also often comes up with space drive claims (in many cases, if the claim were actually true, they would break conservation of energy, so these are closely related subjects). Incidentally, when you’re playing with strong magnetic fields (as are claimed to be needed here) or pushing a lot of energy around it isn’t hard to have effects that could appear to be anomalous motion if you don’t consider all the effects that can be caused per known physics. This has come up in some of the emdrive experiments. Sometimes things start as an experimental mistake and evolve into a scam.

    In this case, though, nothing whatsoever appears to have been demonstrated. We can guess what might be behind this, based on how these things turn out over and over again, but there is nothing here to actually look at. Maybe you like to imagine new physics exists where there is no evidence, but I’ve seen too many bad claims and outright scams to take things like this seriously.

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  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by stutefish View Post
    Is it possible that this is a patent along the lines of,

    "the drive itself does not exist, but if it ever does, we hold the patent for this particular application of such a drive."
    That's the thought that occurred to me . . .
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  16. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch View Post
    OK, but Why? Does the Navy think an inertialess drive is coming soon or what? Why would they bother to patent a seemingly impossible drive system?
    I don't know how things work in the Navy, but I know that in private industry worthless patents are often filed for. When I worked for Exxon, their policy was to keep secret (proprietary) really valuable inventions (so no one knew about it and could try to steal the idea and get around the patent), but to publish worthless inventions, because it looked good ("look, we got this number of patents last year, aren't we clever") and maybe someone else could use the invention and would license it from Exxon.

    Very often in private industry, the inventors of a patent get some sort of bonus or reward for filing for and getting granted patents. Plus patents look good on your resume. Maybe it is as simple as that.

    I also have to say that a significant amount of stuff in the patent literature is wrong. I personally have found patents that when I tried to reproduce the work, I could not, either because information in the patent was wrong or incomplete. I don't know if such mistakes and omissions are deliberate or accidental, but I suspect there are examples of both.
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  17. #47
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    So the Navy just bulldozes through with an "impossible drive", somehow bypassing the normal appeal process when the reviewer refuses to grant the patent? Then for some reason the reviewer rolls over and grants the patent. Wouldn't that imply the Navy and possibly the reviewer actually think it IS possible but didn't make public the "evidence"? Just trying to follow this to a logical conclusion. That would also imply that what was made public in the patent application was not complete.....

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch View Post
    That is certainly worth reading, in the context of this discussion.
    It quotes Dr. Mark Gubrud, a University of North Carolina physicist:
    "Pais deploys fairly sophisticated babble to make this sound plausible to those who know what real physics sounds like, but don't understand much of it. Which is likely to include most patent examiners, journalists, and Pais's own enablers in the Navy."
    "I don't know why Sheehy defended Pais's patents. I am certain it's not because they really make some kind of sense. I suspect the story is just one professional charlatan who has embedded himself in the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, plus one or a few supervisors he's managed to fool."
    Ultimately, Guburd believes the patents signify nothing more than “an illustration of the need for transparency and peer review,” but that “even with such niceties, nonsense gets funded, often for political and ideological reasons, or simply out of corruption. But nonsense seems an especially hardy perennial in hierarchical, closed and secretive organizations.”
    For anyone who has read The Men Who Stare At Goats, none of the above should seem at all surprising.

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  19. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch View Post
    So the Navy just bulldozes through with an "impossible drive", somehow bypassing the normal appeal process when the reviewer refuses to grant the patent? Then for some reason the reviewer rolls over and grants the patent. Wouldn't that imply the Navy and possibly the reviewer actually think it IS possible but didn't make public the "evidence"? Just trying to follow this to a logical conclusion. That would also imply that what was made public in the patent application was not complete.....
    Alternatively a person with a pet project devotes a lot of time to fighting for a patent, and everyone involved gives up trying to fight him because it is just not worth the time and effort. So he gets a patent for an impossible thing that the patent people know would be challenged and overturned quickly if any real examples of similar technology emerge.

    It is pretty common in science and tech for senior researchers to have these kinds of pet, speculative or fringe interests that their position allows them to indulge. And leadership is going to listen to them about how feasible it is. I've worked with plenty of examples of this! At the end of the day their output in other areas is valuable and their other projects can be seen as a way to keep them happy and motivated, with a slim chance that they will turn out to be right and the organisation will reap a huge reward.

    Not everything is a conspiracy to hide some deep dark secret.

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    Speaking of The Men Who Stare At Goats....Reminds me of some of the crazy "remote viewing" projects the CIA had going on back in the day. Had guys supposedly spying on the Russians from a comfortable room in the states! Hah!
    Well.... anyways, the reason I keep hammering away at this drive thing is because I have personally seen something ( I believe) which exhibits the characteristics of this drive.
    Last edited by Grant Hatch; 2020-Nov-18 at 07:34 PM.

  21. #51
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    Personally I find telepathy more likely than alien space craft, although agreed never demonstrated nor with basis in any known science, so not patentable by any conventional means. Although with sensors now detecting brain waves and implanted sensors being actively pursued, we are nearly there. It is a well established principle that you cannot patent an idea that you cannot demonstrate, and that, for me, remains the case with yet to be developed technology.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    It is a well established principle that you cannot patent an idea that you cannot demonstrate, and that, for me, remains the case with yet to be developed technology.
    I guess it depends on what you mean by "demonstrate", but I'm not sure that is correct.

    This is from a website called ipwatchdog:
    United States patent laws do not require you to have a prototype in order to apply for a patent, all that is required is that you be able to describe the invention so that others could make and use it. So, while you do need to have some kind of identifiable manifestation, you can start by proving your concept on paper.
    And this from a law firm's website
    Fortunately, having an idea may be further along the path to intellectual property protection than you think. The USPTO doesn’t require physical samples or prototypes of your invention, just the proper illustration and documentation to fully describe it.

    So while an abstract idea won’t get you anywhere, putting that idea into real, physical descriptions can put you on the path toward a patent. Working with an illustrator or patent drafting artist can provide you with the documentation you need to prove that your idea is more than abstract.
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  23. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    This story exhibits a worrysome trend for me, that patents have fully swung from protecting an inventor with a deal that gives the state access, to a means for large organisations to squash the small.
    This is indeed commonly done, and has been for some time. It's a form of corporate bullying.

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  24. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I guess it depends on what you mean by "demonstrate", but I'm not sure that is correct.

    This is from a website called ipwatchdog:


    And this from a law firm's website
    Yes i did not mean prototype, that was dropped long ago but demonstrate as a description that supposedly works and would allow others to build it. Demonstrate might include calculations and ranges of values. And drawings of course. Another factor is that patents tend to be short term for major projects like a new rocket engine using new physics. Branding has become more important in everyday invention because a brand can be protected for as long as fees are paid, and even without fees using “passing off” laws although these are different in USA from UK. Some major takeovers are basically to secure ownership of brands. In a funny way the mention of the USNavy in this case is more important than the patent details.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    This is indeed commonly done, and has been for some time. It's a form of corporate bullying.

    CJSF
    I once sat through a corporate presentation where my (now former) employer claimed, “We use patents like swords, not shields.”
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