Patent Office Grants Patent On Anti-Gravity Device

from the physics-is-for-pansies dept

It's absolutely true that you can get a patent on a technology or concept that you haven't built yourself. While many of us find this to be extremely problematic, plenty of patent trolls love the concept, because it lets them lock up all sorts of ideas. Then later, when someone else actually builds it, they can trot out the patent and squeeze the real innovator for money. However, should you be allowed to patent ideas that, not only haven't been built, but go against the laws of physics? Apparently you can. The US Patent Office has handed out a patent for an anti-gravity device. While it's true that there are some who believe that anti-gravity devices are possible, it would seem like a working model would be a fairly important part of the process before you hand out a patent like this to someone. What's next, a patent on x-ray vision or faster than light travel?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Bret McDanel, Nov 9th, 2005 @ 7:00pm


    Podelenkov used a spinning superconductor years ago, and alledgly his experiment was duplicated by at least 2 universities. I havent witnessed this but did read about it over 5 years ago. NASA was even trying to do this but they changed the recipie and it failed, they were alledgly retrying using exactly what his report said to do ...

    It was only a 2% reduction, and some of what was claimed I do not believe (such as the field extends forever rather than gets weaker at distances) but meh I havent researched it anywhere near enough to comment either way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    patrick, Nov 9th, 2005 @ 9:07pm

    this sounds like a bogus story

    This sounds like someone has been had on this story. I can find nothing about it on Nature's website and there is no patent number given. If you are going to post about this or that patent, give the number.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    none, Nov 9th, 2005 @ 9:35pm

    Re: this sounds like a bogus story

    Patent #: 6,960,975
    Time it takes to look it up yourself: Two minutes.
    Learning how to use the internet: Priceless.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Newob, Nov 9th, 2005 @ 10:08pm


    Nope, too much prior art for faster than light travel, or that is, there will be too much prior art ... er ... retroactively.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Bob, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 12:49am

    Re: this sounds like a bogus story

    Stories with broken hyperlinks are always suspicious. Either someone doesn't know how to link properly, or yes it's bogus.

    Oh wait. I just saw where this 'news' came from. If you can call it that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Chris H, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 4:56am

    Re: this sounds like a bogus story

    >< br>
    For everything else... there's Mastercard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Michael "TheZorch" Haney, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 6:22am

    You all seem to forget...

    All of you seem to forget that what was considered science fiction and fantasy 30 or even 60 years ago is now science fact today.

    Here are some examples:

    The staple of sci-fi for years, its existance is now scientific fact.

    "Faster Than Light Particles"
    Recently particles that travel faster then light were discovered.

    "Black Holes"
    The existance of these were confirmed by the Hubble Space Telescope.

    "Rail Guns"
    Sci-Fi once again meets Science Fact.

    "Ion Propulsion Engines"
    NASA's Deep Space One used an Ion Propulsion system for thrust. Check out the JPL website for info:

    "Trackter Beams"
    No longer sci-fi, there is now a working prototype!

    "Organic Computers"
    They are also becoming reality. This is an older site, there has been significant strides in this technology in recent years.

    Microscopic machines. More sci-fi meets science fact..need I give any more examples people?

    There is a very active antigravity development community. Look at this page...
    and this one...
    and a corporation is getting into the act...

    Don't write off something as fantasy until you've researched it enough. That's what's wrong with the world of science today, eveyone is too shortsighted so see the truth. I mean, nobody predicted that you'd be able to run electrical devices off a machine that synthesises hydrogen into pure water and oxygen 10 years ago (hydrogen fuel cells). Wake up people and smell the coffee!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Stephan Kinsella, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 7:14am

    Patents on exceeding speed of light

    The idea of requiring a working model makes no sense. This is not the problem with patent law and would not solve anything. As for patents re speeds exceeding lightspeed--see Pat. No. 6,025,810: Hyper-Light-Speed Antenna (poking hole in another “dimension” to transmit RFwaves at faster-than-light speed, incidentally accelerating plantgrowth), listed here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Drewsky, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 7:58am


    Maybe a bunch of good hearted lawyers (if they exist) and scientists could get together and patent every obvious and interesting idea and then donate them to the public for free use. Sort of like reverse patent trolling. Of course that might not be good for innovation either, but at least you wouldn't get sued over something as simple as "1 click purchases" or as revolutionary as an anti gravity device. I guess I'm a dreamer...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Mike (profile), Nov 10th, 2005 @ 9:28am

    Re: Patents on exceeding speed of light

    Why does not showing a working model make perfect sense?

    Shouldn't showing something as actually possible make sense as a pre-req before granting a long term exclusive monopoly?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 10:04am

    Re: Patents on exceeding speed of light

    Yeah, you'd think it would Mike...

    I mean what will something like this really do?

    I'll tell you. It will make all of the other millions of possible inventors of anti-gravity decide it's not worth their time because even if they do figure it out, they will be violating the patent by someone else.

    What this does is significantly reduce the total number of people working on this research. Which in turn, means actually figuring out anti-gravity will take many many many years longer.

    Just like with open source, the more people you have working on something openly, the quicker it will be done. It will also be without flaws much sooner.

    Fix the patent system so EVERYTHING doesn't end up like NASA; taking 50 years to accomplish ANYTHING AT ALL.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Robert Rosenberg, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 11:38am

    Re: FTL

    The "invention" where there will be lots of "prior art ... er ... retroactively" is Time Travel. FTL does not necessarily involve going back in time - only getting somewhere sooner than a light beam would. You still arrive AFTER you started the trip.
    Now as to the question of if Time Travel is possible, check out the Science Fact article "The Theory and Practice of Time Travel" by Larry Niven.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    admin, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 2:51pm

    Re: You all seem to forget...

    I don't think Baez would appreciate you claiming his faq "Is Faster Than Light Travel or Communication Possible?" says that FTL particles have been discovered.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Chrismith, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 4:24pm

    Re: FTL

    Try reading A Brief History of Time when you get a chance. Faster-than-light travel and time travel are, for our immediate purposes, the same thing,

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    jayrtfm, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 9:00pm

    Re: Patents on exceeding speed of light

    >>"Why does not showing a working model make perfect sense?"

    I've got a really innovative improvement to the neutron bomb. Would you like to try my working model before I patent it?

    seriously, there's many inventions where the paper engineering is a valid proof of the concept (the math checks out, no new physics, etc) but it's not practical to build a meaningful working model.

    A good example of this is the statite, see

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Ko, Nov 16th, 2005 @ 8:44am

    Will it work?

    It may sound rediculous but there are theories that gravity may be related to magnetism in some way and that rotating magnetic fields may counteract gravity. Here is a link to something interesting :

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    adrew cman, Oct 15th, 2008 @ 6:05am



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    bobbo33, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 10:08am

    Time travel vs. patent law

    Whereas, faster-than-light travel and time-travel equivalent (as demonstrated in "A Brief History of Time"), and;

    Whereas, patents are granted on a "first to invent" basis;

    Therefore, faster-than-light travel (and time-travel variants thereof) are not eligible for patent protection, due to prior art that may be created at some point in the future.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Hide this ad »
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.