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A CASE STUDY OF INOPERABLE INVENTIONS: WHY IS THE USPTO PATENTING PSEUDOSCIENCE? - page 1 / 39

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A CASE STUDY OF INOPERABLE INVENTIONS: WHY IS THE USPTO PATENTING PSEUDOSCIENCE?

DANIEL C. RISLOVE*

    • I.

      Introduction.......................................................... 1276

      • A.

        The Problem of Inoperable Inventions ..................... 1276

      • B.

        Response to Arguments Against Reform .................. 1278

        • 1.

          Patenting Inoperable Inventions Harms Consumers . 1279

        • 2.

          Increased Scrutiny of Patents Will Not Stifle Innovation .................................................. 1281

        • 3.

          Patentees Are Only Partially to Blame ................ 1282

        • 4.

          The Problem is Both Legal and Institutional.......... 1283

    • II.

      The Legal Standard for Rejecting Inoperable Inventions ..... 1283

      • A.

        InoperabilIty and the Substantive Law of Utility ......... 1283

      • B.

        Procedural Law Regarding Rejection of Inoperable Inventions ...................................................... 1287

  • III.

    Law-in-Action Analysis of the Patenting Procedure........... 1291

      • A.

        The USPTO Lacks Sufficient Institutional Expertise .... 1291

      • B.

        Reexamination Makes Inoperability Rejections Difficult 1292

  • IV.

    Case Studies ......................................................... 1294

      • A.

        The DKL LifeGuard Patents ................................ 1294

      • B.

        The “Motionless Electromagnetic Generator” ............ 1299

      • C.

        The Cold Fusion Patents ..................................... 1302

      • D.

        The Puthoff Patent ............................................ 1304

  • V.

    Possible Solutions .................................................. 1306

      • A.

        Suggested Changes in the Law of Utility .................. 1307

      • B.

        Outsourcing the Examination of Difficult Patents........ 1309

      • C.

        Opening the Reexamination Procedure to Inoperability Objections ...................................................... 1311

  • VI.

    Conclusion........................................................... 1312

*

Physics,

J . D . , University U n i v e r s of

it yo New f Wi s c o n s i Mexico, n

L aw 1997.

S c h o o l The ,

e x p e c t author e would d 2 0 0 7 ; P h . D . i n like to

thank Katie Mason and especially Brian to suggest editorial improvements to this work.

Kwok

for

their

tireless

efforts

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