Saturday, November 12, 2005

patent on antigravity machine

In more patent news, the PTO has issued a patent on a spacecraft using an antigravity device. Here is the abstract:
A space vehicle propelled by the pressure of inflationary vacuum state is provided comprising a hollow superconductive shield, an inner shield, a power source, a support structure, upper and lower means for generating an electromagnetic field, and a flux modulation controller. A cooled hollow superconductive shield is energized by an electromagnetic field resulting in the quantized vortices of lattice ions projecting a gravitomagnetic field that forms a spacetime curvature anomaly outside the space vehicle. The spacetime curvature imbalance, the spacetime curvature being the same as gravity, provides for the space vehicle's propulsion. The space vehicle, surrounded by the spacetime anomaly, may move at a speed approaching the light-speed characteristic for the modified locale.
Now, one requirement is that a patent must teach the person of ordinary skill in the art how to practice the invention. I think that means for this patent to be valid an ordinary spacecraft engineer should be able to take this patent and build a functional antigravity system. Anyone up for giving it a try?

The reaction from the physics community appears to be negative. I'm not sure I agree with the reasoning, though:

"The problem, of course, it that this deceives a lot of investors," he said. "You can't go out and find investors for a new invention until you can come up with a patent to show that if you put all this money into a concept, somebody else can't steal the idea.

"[Approving these kind of patents can] make it easier for scam artists to con people if they can get patents for screwball ideas."

It's possible scam artists could use it, but people shouldn't treat a patent as anything more than a grant of property. It's like a deed to a chunk of land: until you actually go look at the land, you won't know how valuable it is. Same deal here.

On the other hand, it seems like the applicant should have had to supply some sort of evidence that the thing actually works. It would be interesting to go back and see what that evidence was.

Props to slashdot for this one.

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