X hits on this document

PDF document

A CASE STUDY OF INOPERABLE INVENTIONS: WHY IS THE USPTO PATENTING PSEUDOSCIENCE? - page 32 / 39

173 views

0 shares

0 downloads

0 comments

32 / 39

1306

WISCONSIN LAW REVIEW

first two objections imply that the examiner was unaware of Aharonov’s discovery that vector potentials can exist independently of electromagnetic fields and have real, measurable effects.261 The third objection implies an ignorance of Josephson junctions, which can respond to vector potentials.262 The fourth objection is puzzling in that most people are aware that receivers (for example, cell phones) can be shielded by surrounding them with conductive metal (for example, steel-framed buildings). Although the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences appeared to partially rely on the explanations of the appellant, the decision principally relied on the fact that the examiner failed to make a prima facie case for inoperability or lack of enablement.263

When a patent examiner discovers that the claims of a patent application are unclear, and there is no suggestion that the application is poorly written, there are two likely explanations: the patent is nonsensical or its principle of operation is too complex to immediately understand.264 The lesson of the Puthoff patent is that in a world where both types of patents are more and more common, even a competent examiner may fail to distinguish innovation from pseudoscience.

V.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

Any solution to the problem of patenting inoperable inventions must take into account the possible economic costs of maintaining the status quo, and then balance those costs with the economic demands placed upon the USPTO by any proposed solution. The principle economic cost of granting patents to inoperable inventions is the increased possibility of consumer fraud due to the fact that a patent is

  • 261.

    Landau, supra note 257, at 180.

  • 262.

    J.B. KETTERSON & S.N. SONG, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY 61 (1999).

  • 263.

    Ex parte Puthoff, 1997 WL 1883784, at *3. An extensive search of the

relevant literature reveals that Puthoff is alone in studying the remarkable effect described in his patent. This suggests, perhaps, that the experts in the field may find it implausible. Unfortunately, a detailed theoretical deconstruction of Puthoff’s experiments is well beyond the scope of this Comment.

264.

Although an expert physicist and engineer, Puthoff is recognized in many

circles because of his penchant for dabbling in unorthodox scientific endeavors. In addition to being a believer in harnessing zero-point energy for space travel, see Harold

E.

Puthoff

et

al.,

Engineering

the

Zero-Point

Field

and

Polarizable

Vacuum

for

Interstellar

Flight,

a positive

article

55 J. BRITISH INTERPLANETARY SOCY 137 (2002), he about controversial, self-proclaimed psychic Uri

also coauthored Geller in the

prestigious journal Nature. Russell Targ & Under Conditions of Sensory Shielding, 251

Harold Puthoff, Information Transmission NATURE 602 (1974). It is possible that the

examiner was aware of Puthoff’s reputation and became more willing application as nonsensical rather than overly complex, but there is no actually happened.

to treat the patent evidence that this

Document info
Document views173
Page views195
Page last viewedMon Dec 05 21:24:04 UTC 2016
Pages39
Paragraphs1244
Words16793

Comments