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Patents Science

Anti-Gravity Device Patented 416

October_30th writes "According to the United States Patent Office website, Boris Volfson has recently patented a "Space vehicle propelled by the pressure of inflationary vacuum state", which is essentially an anti-gravity propulsion device." The validity of this patent remains to be seen, but the general consensus of the physics community seems to be that it is complete malarky.
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Anti-Gravity Device Patented

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  • Sorry (Score:2, Funny)

    by Luigi30 ( 656867 )
    I've patented patenting bullshit. I'll take my royalties now!
  • The comments out of the physics community, to say the least, have been much stronger than that.
  • In Context... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lurch84 ( 889236 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @06:39PM (#14017217)
    When you look how absurd some of the intellectual property or business model patents have been recently, it was only a matter of time before the patent office started issuing absurd patents for (non-existant) physical products.

    /me rushes off to get patent for inertial dampening

    • /me rushes off to get patent for inertial dampening

      //I'm already in line for Heisenberg Compensators ahead of you

      //the guy in from of me is carrying papers describing tractor beams

    • Re:In Context... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster ( 602015 )
      More like patents for non-existent physics.

      Oh, and while you're at it don't forget to patent the verteron pulse generator.
    • AIUI in the states at least you don't have to actually have built the deveice that you patent or even know how to built it. You just have to show that it is reasonable that it could feasibly be built.

      Personally I think that is totally wrong. Nobody should be able to petent something they can't build. Fair enough people can come up with ideas for deveices we could build in the future but if they can't build them, to my mind, they didn't invent them. Having said that by letting people patent ideas rather th

      • Ok, how about this example:

        I demonstrate by knocking out a gene in mice that I can cure cancer. Let's pretend that this gene encodes an enzyme and given the mechanism of action that an enzyme inhibitor would have the same result. Suppose I'm not a huge pharmaceuticals company but at a university so I don't have the resources to generate such an inhibitor. Assume, however, demonstrating the idea that an inhibitor of this particular enzyme would cure cancer is novel (non-obvious) and let's pretend that the
    • There's nothing wrong with that. Perpetual motion machines have been patented for years. As long as you are giving a complete description of your invention, and it hasn't been patented by someone else, you can get a patent. It doesn't matter if it works. That's the problem of the person who wants the patent. If he wants to shell out lots of moolah for hogwash, why not let him?
      • here are two reasons why it is VERY, VERY bad. if the patent exists, there is absolutely no reason for any person to develop, you are just doing R&D work for someone else for free. That happens for the life of the patent, and after it expires (IF it ever does as the current rate), there still is no incentive to develop it, since it is now public domain if you do, free to be copied by anyone else.
  • by ThatGeek ( 874983 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @06:39PM (#14017218) Homepage
    The real question is how can I, as an inventor, patent my time machine?

    I mean, anyone can just go back in time with my intention and claim my patent!! WTF??
  • Nonsense... (Score:5, Funny)

    by moviepig.com ( 745183 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @06:39PM (#14017219) Homepage

    It's well-known that the only true anti-gravity device is a (Score:5, Funny)
  • by complete malarky ( 930602 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @06:40PM (#14017223)
    ...what I keep telling the scientists, this device has nothing to do with me!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 12, 2005 @06:40PM (#14017224)
    Just like the patents for my cold fusion device and perpetual motion machine, plus convenient hair dryer.
  • by Digital Pizza ( 855175 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @06:41PM (#14017233)
    How is this related to my rights, especially online?

    If it's "complete malarky" then nobody has anything to worry about, but if the guy were to actually make something out of this then doesn't he deserve the patent?

    This should probably have been put in the "Funny" category, if anything.

    • I agree with you that it isn't a perfect fit for the YRO category. However, if womeone can patent anti-gravity space propulsion systems, just use your immagination what you could do for software or on the internet.

      I'm going to go and patent my O(n^-9) sorting algorithm and then my new web browswer that doesn't need an internet connection to display web content.

      Up to this point, this poste has been a troll, but what if in 5 years, someone does come up with a way to do better sorts or a way to show webpages

    • Comment removed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by account_deleted ( 4530225 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @06:59PM (#14017329)
      Comment removed based on user account deletion
      • by Ruie ( 30480 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @11:23PM (#14018374) Homepage
        There is one more thing to worry about - the particular patent abounds with junk terms like "vacuum pressure".

        This is bad, because inventor was supposed to disclose the invention to obtain a patent and this implies using established terminology to describe it.

        Allowing a patent with made up terms is equivalent to allowing wildcards "I patent a thing * that does * and is useful" - the owner of the patent can try to define these terms as legal opportunity presents itself.

        • This is bad, because inventor was supposed to disclose the invention to obtain a patent and this implies using established terminology to describe it.

          From MPEP 2111.01(III)


          An applicant is entitled to be his or her own lexicographer and may rebut the presumption that claim terms are to be given their ordinary and customary meaning by clearly setting forth a definition of the term that is different from its ordinary and customary meaning(s). See In re Paulsen, 3

    • if the guy were to actually make something out of this then doesn't he deserve the patent?

      I don't think that's how it should work. He should only deserve the patent if he can accurately describe HOW to build such a device, even if he currently does not have the means build or test the device himself.

      Otherwise people could go around patenting any idea, no matter how far fetched, and then hoping one day someone will figure out a way so they can cash in. I realize this is essentially what the Patent database
    • The approval of this patent (#6,960,975) is a testament to the stupidity of the USPTO, which certainly affects the rights of everyone. What's to stop someone from writing a program that strings words together in patent-application-ese and mass submitting them? Then find people who are violating your wonderful patent and sue them. Or just patent every single device ever seen or conceived of in Star Trek or other Sci Fi, and then sue as they become invented. Illustrating the stupidity (and absurdity) of t
    • Because ScuttleMonkey likes to demonstrate his superiority by picking on poor little anti-gravity devices.
    • While we're on the topic, could we all agree on an informal protocol whereby the replies that actually are funny can be moderated Insightful instead of Funny, so that I can turn on the "ignore posts rated Funny" thing? Because half the shit marked Funny these days isn't really funny, it's inane self-indulgence. Occasionally, though, there is something funny, which I'd hate to miss.

    • by slashname3 ( 739398 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @08:04PM (#14017658)
      Like a lot of the patents that have been granted, this will just keep antigravity out of the general publics hands for a very long time. Just like that 100 mile per gallon carburator.

      And it just goes to show that if you have the money you can get ANYTHING patented.
  • Race! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 )
    but the general consensus of the physics community seems to be that it is complete malarky.

    Quick, patent malarky!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 12, 2005 @06:45PM (#14017252)
    Since the "normal" scientific will dismiss this off the bat as usual, what does the "underground" scientific community, which tries to deal with this type of phenomena, have say about it? (Yes it does exist, break out the tin-foil hats etc..)

    Well even they agree that the patent examiners have been duped and it would never fly. For a interesting compilation of discussions going within the community have a look at this article [zpenergy.com].

    Though real science aside, it would be very cool if it worked.

  • Naw, its full of hot air..........hmmm
  • This is why every patent application should have to be accompanied by a functional prototype demonstrating the efficacy of the idea being patented.
  • If the vacuum pressure density of the locale is modified to be substantially higher than that of the ambient vacuum, the speed of the vehicle could conceivably be higher than the ambient light-speed.

    ... beam me up, Boris!
  • Star Trek Anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zebra_X ( 13249 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @06:55PM (#14017308)
    If you read the patent text he's basically describing the warp drive from star trek.

    "whereby providing for the gravitational imbalance such that the lowered pressure of inflationary vacuum state is pulling said space vehicle forward in modified spacetime."

    interesting i guess.

    in normal fashion both slashdot and the reporting news outlet have got it all wrong. it's not a perpetual motion machine - becuase it requires input of a nuclear reactor to make it "go". It's no more a perpetual motion machine than a space probe launched from earth.

    nor is this "anti gravity". the patent describes a device that will "modify" space time such that an area of "low pressure vacuum" and "high pressure vacuum" are created. the low pressure area is infront of the ship and the high pressure is behind the ship. the ship travels forward because it's caught in the middle. i guess.

    not a physics major.
    • by istewart ( 463887 )
      Problem is that vacuum, by definition, does not contain any sort of matter that would exhibit an observable pressure. Vacuum is simply empty space. To metaphorically "compress" or "expand" vacuum (as in Star Trek) would require a deeper knowledge of the nature of space-time than we have now, if it was even possible then.
    • Re:Star Trek Anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DavidTC ( 10147 )
      You know, that raises another interesting question besides 'How'd he patent something in violation of physics?

      Namely, how'd he patent something that'd been clearly explained in various 'Physics of Star Trek' books over the last decade?

      Of course, Star Trek didn't invent the idea of bending space to go FTL. It's just the best known for a 'warp drive'.

      There are basically only four basic ways to go faster than light that stand up to any physics scrutiny at all: Hyperspace(1), going into another dimension whe

  • Is gravity really understood well enough to call this nonsense without thorough investigation?

    I for one welcome our new weightless overlords.

  • Too bad the USPTO doesn't require a working prototype.
  • by kreyg ( 103130 ) <kreyg.shaw@ca> on Saturday November 12, 2005 @07:02PM (#14017341) Homepage
    ...by the time anyone actually invents one, the patent will have expired.

  • The validity of this patent remains to be seen, but the general consensus of the physics community seems to be that it is complete malarky.

    Well, given this site's moderator's affinity for junk science it is no wonder that the story ended up here. You have to wonder what they are thinking.

  • .... mindset failure of teh US patent office.
  • The current state of the USPTO could allow me to patent a method for buying "hot stocks" now with information from the future based on my special method for "non-temporal pipelining" to send stock results from www.nyse.com a few months in the future to > /dev/hotstocks.  With enough references cited, and some "work", I'm sure I could patent this.
  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @07:10PM (#14017381) Journal
    With all the engineering breakthroughs we had in the last two weeks, the next headline better be: There's a company in Israel that is creating hover cars that run on water and their lift is from anti-gravity. These cars actually generate hydrogen as they travel, so if you're running low on money, you can pull into any gas station to be paid for your excess fuel since their primary fuel source is perpetual motion. These cars can also fly in case you need to make a transatlantic voyage. Combined with the fact they can drive themselves to the destination, they also can automatically park themselves in the air when you decide to get out. While space travel is not standard with this car, you can get it as an option for those people who want to take a vaction to their property on the moon.
  • I'm all for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kuukai ( 865890 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @07:16PM (#14017409) Journal
    If some guy in Indiana wants to pay hundreds of dollars to patent stuff that (regardless of being real physics or not) can't possibly be implemented before the patent expires, I'm all for it. That means that if/when technology finally catches up it'll be public domain. He should go ahead and slip in a broad patent on near-light travel, and something about wormholes. To tell the truth, I feel the same way about gene patents. If they want to patent them all, let them. As many incredible advances as have been made in genetics, I somehow feel they'll be much more useful in twenty years. The goverment is too dumb to figure out what's obvious and what's not, so if we just patent [i]everything[/i] now and check back in twenty years, the problem will be solved.
    • Sounds nice, but it doesn't work that way. For 20 years, the "invention" is protected, so no-one can work on it. Then, after 19 years, they apply for a new patent on a completely new invention, which is a slight modification on the old invention. Blammo, they are in it for another 20 years.
  • The screenwriters of the Stargate franchises could write a better patent application than that! In fact, I think it would be cool to apply for a patent on the Zero-Point Module and see if it gets granted.
  • Were there patents on the books for the technology which rendered those black, angular American war jets radar-invisible? You know, those whatchamacallit planes the US trucked out during the first Gulf War.

    No? No patents on technology which the U.S. Military would without any question want first dibs on and absolute subsequent control over until it became twenty years old and hopelessly out of date?

    Really? No kidding?


  • by rdean400 ( 322321 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @07:42PM (#14017537)
    Since when is it good practice for any Patent Office to issue patents based on conjecture? There should be a valid working prototype before any patent is issued. Software patents are bad enough, but speculative patents are total b.s.

    • The PTO does not require a working prototype because it does not want all the patents to belong to huge corporations. Pretend you create a nuclear fission reactor that's table-sized. (You're like the second coming of Albert Einstein or something.) If the PTO required a prototype, you would have to find someone with a lot of cash to build the prototype to submit to the PTO. The corporation might steal your idea and take the prototype to the PTO by itself.

      So while this lack of a requirement looks ridiculous in this example, there may be other more realistic places where it has protected the small inventor.
  • I'm going to file my own patent.

    It'll be a patent for "something" that does "stuff".

    I may have to file two seperate sub-patents. One for "Something that does cool stuff" and one for "Soemthing that does boring stuff."

    I'll make millions!
  • It seems I have read several science fiction books that used this principle. Isn't that prior art?

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker