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re: h power introduces epac(tm)-500 portable fuel cell product
31 mar 2002

>>...patents must be "useful," ie an applicant must convince an examiner
>>that the invention will work as described before a patent is issued.
>maybe that's what the law says, but you'd sure never know it from some of
>the patents i've seen.  i have seen actual patents where one of the claims
>was that of anti-gravity capabilities, and this was stated very plainly.

as you point out, the claims are the important part, with the most legal
significance. you might see a patent with a description of a perpetual
motion machine, but read on to find that the only claim is a workable
device to measure its net power output, if any.
>...john campbell, editor of astounding magazine... published a lot of stuff
>about... the "dean drive"... this was supposed to be an anti-gravity device,
>and to prove it worked there was an actual patent number given... i wrote
>and got a copy of that patent, and sure enough, there was the claim along
>with a bunch of other stuff.  what the thing actually was was a vibration
>generator rigged to climb a tape...

sounds like anti-gravity to me :-) dean kamen might claim the same for the
segway. the patent office allows people lots of latitude in naming their
inventions and choosing words to describe their functions ("an antigravity
device, comprising a vibration generator that climbs a tape..."), as long
as people precisely and clearly describe what the invention does. 


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