The Buzz Over New Battery Technology… And The Questions Raised By Its Patents
from the aren't-patents-supposed-to-tell-you-how-these-things-work dept
The Associated Press is running a story that’s getting some buzz about the venture capital-backed secretive startup EEStor, who claims to have created a technology that can replace electrochemical batteries for things like automobiles. According to the article, if the technology worked as planned, it could mean the ability to create an electric car that would need a five minute charge and could then run for 500 miles without gasoline. Impressive, right? But, the claims seem so outlandish that they certainly should raise the inner skeptic in many people. The technology could very well be real, but there should be a bit more proof before everyone just believes it. And reports of delays in getting the technology to actually work are hardly confidence boosting.
However, what’s most interesting about the AP coverage is that it focuses in so much on the patent that EESTor holds on this technology. However, it does quote a few skeptics who question whether or not anyone can actually make what’s described in the patent work. That’s should (once again) highlight how pointless these types of patents are. People often point (mistakenly) to the benefits of patents “disclosing” new technologies — and, indeed, the point of patent disclosure is to reveal the idea to the level that someone skilled in that field can use the patent to recreate the invention described. However, in these days of overly broad or speculative patents, it’s quite rare that a patent provides the information needed to actually create what’s claimed — and that’s clearly the case with EEStor’s technology. Since no one, not even EEStor or its partners, seems to be able to actually make the technology do what the patent claims it can do, shouldn’t that call into question the validity of the patent itself?