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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.
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  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."

  5. #35
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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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