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Wont they be suprised... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754642)

If they actually turn something in..

Re:Wont they be suprised... (5, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754705)

If they actually turn something in..

Then I wouldn't be surprised if the inventor begins with "Greetings, hoomans!"

Re:Wont they be suprised... (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754708)

If only... If only...

Re:Wont they be suprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754745)

Something? No, that wouldn't be a surprise.

At the Bottom of the Gravity Well (1)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754781)

Won't there be a problem if they try to operate it inside the atmosphere, or at the bottom of a gravity well?

Just speculating on the availability of appropriate test facilities, to prove that the device actually works. Good try on the part of the alledged inventor.

Re:At the Bottom of the Gravity Well (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755028)

"Won't there be a problem if they try to operate it inside the atmosphere, or at the bottom of a gravity well?"

You're confusing this real warp drive with fictional hyperspace and warp drives.
Assuming this one is real; this at least is a real design even if it does not work.

Re:Wont they be suprised... (2, Funny)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754818)

> If they actually turn something in...

or if the PTO dusts off some shelf and discovers this patent was actually granted to Worsley and Twist back in 1836 as well.

Too bad... (1, Insightful)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754646)

Too bad they didn't also answer a working model for many software that's patented, as well as some business methods, such as the RIAA's...

Re:Too bad... (1)

grimsweep (578372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754719)

Careful what you ask for. I think Sony's got that covered on both fronts with their rootkit 'feature'.

Re:Too bad... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754761)

Working models are required when the Examiner simply cannot believe such an invention would work. They're typically requested of the flood of time machines, warp drives, teleportation devices, and other such knick-knacks and paddy-whacks the USPTO receives applications for.

As far as your typical Slashdrone comment regarding software, however, there's a fairly low burden of showing something will work in software just because there is so much flexibility when writing code. The same is even more true with regards to a hardware implementation of something that could be done in software.

However, since you've been modded insightful, I have to ask -- why? If it's something that you honestly don't believe could be implemented in software, then a) you're obviously too stupid a coder to accidentally run into the problem of practicing the patented invention; and b) if the inventor can actually code the thing, you'd be suggesting that it would therefore be useful and non-obvious just because you're too stupid to figure out how the patent system works.

Here's a hint, Slashdot ... most of the examiners in the electrical arts know more about electronics than you guys. And they DEFINITELY understand the patent system better than idiots like parent.

Re:Too bad... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754870)

Here's a hint, Slashdot ... most of the examiners in the electrical arts know more about electronics than you guys.

Wrongo, legal fanboi. They don't know jack shit about "electrical arts", or else they'd have a real job actually building something instead of shuffling papers in a government cubicle.

If they had even the slightest bit of talent, they would be embarrassed to categorize the most trivial of ideas to be "non-obvious".

And they DEFINITELY understand the patent system better than idiots like parent.

No, they can't see the forest for the trees. All they know about is masturbatory legal minutia. For example, they can't see how software patents are threatening to destroy innovation in the software industry, because they're not actually trying to make a productive living developing software. They just get paid to plant landmines all over the industry landscape; they don't give a shit about who ends up getting hurt or who has to clean them up. All they know is that their bosses allocate them a couple of hours to plant each mine, and their organization is rewarded based on how many mines get planted.

Re:Too bad... (2, Insightful)

pluggo (98988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755110)

Eh... didn't Einstein work at the patent office?

Re:Too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14755181)

Yeah, he was known for his practical engineering prowess, especially his ability to deliver software products into the market.

Give me a toy or shut up (2, Interesting)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755052)

This is the same way Art Bell kept mechanical kooks off his radio show. Anyone who claims to have a perpetual motion machine design is told to send a model. When he gets a toy which runs forever then he'll gladly discuss it.

Re:Too bad... (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754813)

Just what I was thinking -- I'd really like to see the PTO require working models of all "inventions" submitted for patent, and while I'm as pleased to see this frivolous application rejected as I would be any other, I can't help be a bit bothered by the double standard involved. "Silly, unworkable, sci-fi-inspired idea probably filed as a joke? Forget it, pal. Silly, unworkable, b-school-inspired idea layered in suit-speak? No problem!"

Re:Too bad... (3, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754897)

I'd really like to see the PTO require working models of all "inventions" submitted for patent

That used to be among the requirements, but the costs of storing all the models became prohibitive back in the 1870's or so. The Smithsonian Institution has quite a few of them, and they show some of the collection from time to time.

-jcr

Re:Too bad... (1)

theorbtwo (493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755008)

There's no purticular reason that they should /store/ all of them, only the ones that haven't been examined yet. However, storing even that many might be a problem, and moving them to the examiners (or vice-versa). How do you store a working model of a neuclear reactor?

Re:Too bad... (3, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755078)

"How do you store a working model of a neuclear reactor?"

Inside the working models of radiation shielding.

Re:Too bad... (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755018)

I'd really like to see the PTO require working models of all "inventions" submitted for patent
That used to be among the requirements, but the costs of storing all the models became prohibitive back in the 1870's or so.
The collection also caught fire and a substantial part of it was destroyed, even twice (IIRC - the story goes that at one time some were actually saved by PTO employees throwing the "best pieces" out of the window).

Anyway, for software there would hardly be a storage problem (at some US$400 per Terabyte) and the documentation&disclosure function of the patent system could even be much improved by requesting actual working and compilable source code as both a model and a "preferred embodiment" - so they should really require this (or better yet, abandon BMPs altogether, of course) to help rein in the trolls.

The present state of affairs looks rather bleak if it is news indeed that one patent office did for once require a model at least of something as outlandish as a Warp Drive, rather than rubber-stamping it.

Re:Too bad... (3, Insightful)

LinuxHam (52232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755071)

I'd really like to see the PTO require working models of all "inventions" submitted for patent

I respectfully disagree. I submit patent applications as an IBM employee, and while I don't have the resources to ever bring my ideas to market, IBM can certainly bring to bear just about anything I submit that they deem worthy. But why would they ever tool a manufacturing line and build a working demo of every invention *before* having a patent covering the idea? I started to develop a residential answering machine that allows a family to setup individual profiles with independent mailboxes, greetings, and email addresses to forward messages as attachments. I did my due dilligence and found too many related patents and applications out there. Even if someone hasn't developed a working demo yet, I can respect that they claimed the idea as their own. Why can't you? And why don't you feel that "Joe Inventor" who works in his garage for 20 years trying to find the next big thing should be allowed to make money by documenting cutting edge ideas just because he can't afford to fab circuits, develop code and burn EEPROMS?

Kicking it up a notch, how about IBM implementing a new chip design? We can simulate complete chip designs entirely in software. Why should they spend a billion dollars to fab the first version of the chip just so they can ship it to Washington so a patent clerk can validate its worthiness? I feel this position was borne from the fact that a tiny fraction of the folks we meet and work with in our daily lives are actually backed by an organization that may at one point actually do something with our ideas. You certainly don't mind demanding that those of us who *can* spend millions of dollars in development actually *do* spend that kind of money. Obviously, software patents are a different story, but you didn't say "all software inventions". You want every patent application accompanied by a working model.

Re:Too bad... (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754915)

The acquisition of working models with respect to software probably won't be an issue - what they'll have to contend with is several submissions, since most of what is patented either has prior art, or is so obvious (aka "stupid") nobody without a lawyer on the payroll would consider patenting it in the first place. Most people despise government bureaucracy, but this is one case where it would actually do some justice - make the software patent process so cumbersome that it's just not worth the trouble.

About darn time they paid attention. (4, Funny)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754655)

Now I've got some time to finish mine.

Re:About darn time they paid attention. (1)

slowbad (714725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754707)

The simple truth is that interstellar distances will not fit into the human imagination

"Have some sense of proportion!" she would say 38 times a day.
And so he built the total perspective vortex just to show her.

And one in end he plugged the whole of reality as extrapolated
from a faery cake, and in the other end he plugged his wife so
that when he turned it on, she saw in one instant the whole
infinity of creation and herself in relation to it.

So Adams also shows that interstellar distances co-exist with human imagination for one instant, before Trintragula's invention annihilates it.

Re:About darn time they paid attention. (2, Funny)

linj (891019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754764)

You're a bit behind, aren't you.
MacGyver built his already on episode 842, out of monkey blood and a half sprig of mint!

Re:About darn time they paid attention. (5, Funny)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754869)

Yeah, I remember that show. I have all the seasons on DVD with the director's cut and interviews. The funny thing is, in 842 they originally had MacGyver using an old snake skin and banana peel instead, but for some strange reason, all the working prototypes in rehersal kept transporting the MacGyver crew on location to the Quantum Leap studios instead.

Re:About darn time they paid attention. (1)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755133)

Best Sunday morning post ever! If I had mod points, I'd give you a boost. Thanks for a good laugh. :-) - Paul

I have a working model. (5, Funny)

kote-men-do (881870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754661)

I have a working model, but unfortunately it's stranded a couple of galaxies away. I can give you directions though, would that suffice?

Re:I have a working model. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754730)

Are you sure it's working?

Re:I have a working model. (1, Funny)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754884)

Ahhh... The wonders of the English Language.

I believe you meant to say "I HAD a working model...". Because if you HAVE a working model it can't be stranded in a different galaxy, but the one you had, before it became stranded......

Re:I have a working model. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754903)

Maybe he's stranded out there with the engine, and this is a sneaky way of effecting a rescue expedition.

Re:I have a working model. (1)

kote-men-do (881870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754905)

If I said "I had a working model" that means I would no longer own it. But the warp drive is still my property even though it's not in my inventory. Sorry, English isn't my native language.

Re:I have a working model. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754886)

He's obviously fibbing. Warp drive won't get you past the great barrier!

Re:I have a working model. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14755155)

And even if it did, the Q would be out there all like "I'm gonna take yer warp drive, biz-natch!"

Word.

Re:I have a working model. (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754920)

I'm sure as long as those directions had a few grand attached to it, for 'gas' ya'know?, then it would be just fine.

An example of a good patent (2, Funny)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754666)

This would be an example of a useful patent, if only it were true.

Actually let them patent it now (4, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754667)

.... that way we won't get harrassed with frivolous lawsuits when it becomes a reality 20 years + down the road.

Essay: A Violent Protest Against Patents [slashdot.org]

Re:Actually let them patent it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754742)

That's because potential patents are an investment oppertunity. In fact, there are orginizations that do nothing but build up their portfolio and then cash in later with patent infringment lawsuits. It's a business at the expense of confidence in industry inovation.

Re:Actually let them patent it now (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754763)

It is worse than that from what I hear, see if you make a product someone else can sue you for infringement on their patent. Specifically if you sue someone they can sue you right back (think of how many patents large companies hold, probably at least one applies to your product). If you make no product and simply own patents, you are able to sue other people without any risk to yourself.

Re:Actually let them patent it now (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754842)


You're probably right, but It'd sure be something to get sued in Court over a warp drive patnet.

Re:Actually let them patent it now (4, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754789)

I was going to say the same thing, but it doesn't matter.

The warp drive will not be used down on earth, and will probably not even be constructed planetside (and if it is, it is more likely to be built in Chana than the US anyways), so it will be outside the USPTOs jurisdiction.

Re:Actually let them patent it now (1)

bev_tech_rob (313485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754937)

No kidding.....it will use crappy made warp coils and counterfeit dilithium crystals.....the power transfer conduits will probably rupture half the time ;)

Re:Actually let them patent it now (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754879)

Yeah, thanks buddy. I have a working model that I'm ready to commercialize, but I should wait 20 years while this faker has the technique locked up in a phony patent?

j public requests release from corepirate nazis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754672)

denied, of course. what a surprise? those fauxking patentdead stock markup FraUD felons are certainly making the rest (best) of US look whoreabull.

how is it allowed? just like corn passing through a bird's butt eye gas.

all they want is... everything. at what cost to US? not a pretty picture at all. quite infactdead from our viewpoint.

lookout bullow.

for many of US, the only way out is up.

don't forget, for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way) there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/US as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Re:j public requests release from corepirate nazis (4, Funny)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754704)

spelling:0 composition:0 see me.

Re:j public requests release from corepirate nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754943)

While I was reading that, apart from my brain melting I half expected the post to end in a "YOU ARE eduCAATED STUPID FOUR EARTH DAYS IN TIME CUBE ".

I'd like some dressing with my... (1)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754966)

There is actually a term for this...

Word Salad [wikipedia.org]

Re:j public requests release from corepirate nazis (4, Funny)

Bazzalisk (869812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755092)

What's that skip? Timmy's trapped down the well?

My rights online (4, Funny)

Musteval (817324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754696)

Thank you for this useful insight into my online rights. Keep up the good work, slashdot! :)

So this is how he makes his $$$ (5, Funny)

JoeGee (85189) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754711)

Warp engine designer: it's nice to see the time cube guy [timecube.com] has a day job.

Re:So this is how he makes his $$$ (1)

sweborg (954876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754942)

Surely designing warp engines is only his part time job next to doing SEO. Googlebot must love his website.

Legal Action (5, Funny)

turtleAJ (910000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754716)


Hello Earthlings,

I'd like to inform you, that ony of my many clients has in posession the MWOCPT titles to all kinds of warp drives. I think that if you where to see the patent, you'd understand we've got everything covered. Obviously, you (Earth) haven't developed gravity control yet... so, because of evolutionary "process" clauses in the Federation, we can't show you the patent. Besides... it's a 18.65TB PDF.

It's quite obvious that all your human efforts will fail, until you attaint a little bit of element 115. I'll leave you with that. Just so you know, the Orion Confederation doesn't take lightly to violations of Intellectual Property.

Thank you very much for your attention, and I hope this doesn't repeat itself,

-Stitch
Presently @ MilkyWay.Sol.3 (aka, Planet Earth)

BTW: If you want to survive the next galactical gravity fabric quake, we suggest you hurry up your nanotechnology advances...

Re:Legal Action (5, Funny)

jimm (5532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754872)

This has to be a fake. The email address should end with @3.Sol.MilkyWay, not @MilkyWay.Sol.3.

What the crap? (1)

Deathbane27 (884594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754770)

Wait, can they DO that?

Dumb question (4, Insightful)

Bombula (670389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754772)

Here's a dumb question from a non-lawyer: how long do patents last? Forever? I ask because if a patent only lasts 15 or 50 or 100 years or whatever, what sense does it make to patent something - even if it's essentially just an idea - if your protection is likely to expire before you take anything to market?

Re:Dumb question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754820)

20 years and you have a very good point.

Re:Dumb question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754843)

And it is 20 years from the day you file your applicatoin

Re:Dumb question (1)

versiondub (694793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754830)

Seventeen years, to be exact.

Re:Dumb question (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754864)

Time to get updated. Under the previous set of rules, utility patents lasted 17 years from issue. Under current rules, utility patents last 20 years from filing (with several exceptions beyond the scope of this discussion).

Re:Dumb question (1)

anothy (83176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754893)

actually, 20 years for patents filed today. been the case for a while, thanks (in large part, anyway) to the WTO. there's variation: design patents (as in for artwork, icons, or such) last 14 years. 20 is the general case in any country which signed the relevant WTO agreement (most where patents are likely to be relevant).

Re:Dumb question (1)

blazer1024 (72405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755158)

I don't know about the time, but the purpose of a patent is to get investors interested in your idea. If you don't have a patent, they won't take your seriously, because if you didn't bother to patent it, it can't be a good idea, right? :)

So, the goal would be to get some capital and within a few years, bring it to market. (Some people have said they last 20 years... I doubt it would take 20 years to bring a product to market... really) Then you make your fortune before the patent expires. By the time it expires, hopefully you have at least made plenty of money, or even better developed a reputation for your product, that when all the imitators come out later, it doesn't really bother you.

Proposal (5, Funny)

m33p (635261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754777)

Dear Friend, I am Mr Andrew Peter Worsley and I have an important business proposition for you. On December 12th, 2001, while testing my Warp Drive (patent pending) transport, the ship was stranded in Galaxy N37 due to technical difficulties. The patent office is now demanding that I show it to them before they will approve my patent. But unfortunately, I spent my last penny developing the prototype! As you can see, this patent would be very valuable, and recovering my ship would be a good business investment. I am currently lookinging for investors to gather the $35,273,000 needed to recover the ship. etc, etc, etc... Awaiting your urgent reply. Thanks and regards.

Re:Proposal (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754896)

Fortunately I just got some emails from some very nice people in Africa that have a large sum of money they are willing to split with me. Maybe I should hook them up.

Add your punchline here. (1, Funny)

kitzilla (266382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754779)

Let's get started, shall we? Warped time is a-wasting:

1. It should be no problem building a working prototype of this thing -- once they find a supply of dilithium crystals.

2. Cap'n, she canna work in her current condition. Impulse is the best I can give ya!

3. ?time warp engines these mean you do What

Take it away ...

Re:Add your punchline here. (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754889)

Ya canna' change the laws of physics!

Re:Add your punchline here. (1)

Tyger (126248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755188)

It's worse than that it's physics, Jim!

Some common sense in the patent office? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754795)

Well, it's nice to see that at least someone applied some brain before passing a patent. Unfortunately, it's not always so easy.

My guess is that normally, the patent clercs simply shake their heads, say "don't understand it, but since they wanna patent it, it's prolly working" and pass it. In this case, though, at least "warp drives" are so well known to be science fiction and far from a working model, that it rang someone's alarm bell.

I wonder, though, if a quantum singularty drive would have been shot down as well. It's not really common knowledge anymore that those don't work (yet) either. Worse yet, they won't be used in Federation starships.

I really sometimes wonder what kind of approval course a patent has to go before becoming patent. Does anyone who has a clue take a look at all?

Re:Some common sense in the patent office? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754859)

Remember, Einstein was a "mere" patent clerk.
There have at least at some point in history been some brains in the patent office.
My bet is there are still lots there.
I would love to have a similar job - vetting other peoples ideas, however it would be better if the patent office actually got inloved and brought together like minded inventors and introduced them to each other, we might advance our civilisation by doing this.

Re:Some common sense in the patent office? (1)

1ucius (697592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754986)

My guess is that normally, the patent clercs simply shake their heads, say "don't understand it, but since they wanna patent it, it's prolly working" and pass it.

I'd guess their theory is that if it doesn't work, nobody will care if it's patented.

Re:Some common sense in the patent office? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14755199)

I'll see what I can do.

Does anyone who has a clue take a look at all?

Generally, Examiners have to have a science degree and are usually selected to work in their adopted field. In certain fields, PhDs are common.

There are several kinds of patent examiners. New Examiners are called simply Patent Examiners. Their job it to understand an application and then research existing public documents (older patents, Dialog, magazines, anything public) for the invention's concepts. The invention doesn't have to be described completely in a single existing document to knock out the application - the Examiner can combine multiple prior arts if "one of ordinary skill in the art" would have done so.

Thus, Examiners, to be good, must know the prior art, or at least be able to find it quickly. They must also know the patent statutes and PTO regulations as well as patent cases which clarify the statues and regulations. While most Examiners are not lawyers and probably don't know it, they are acting in a legal capacity by adjucating, in effect, whether applications warrent patenting. As you would expect, Examiners examine applications in a narrow field.

I really sometimes wonder what kind of approval course a patent has to go before becoming patent.

First, patents supposedly exist as a tradeoff - a limited monopoly on an invention in exchange for disclosing how to make and use the invention. An invention, to be patentable, must have a novel aspect which is non-obvious. Thus, an invention which is novel but obvious to "one of ordinary skill in the art" is not patentable (in theory).

Now, more to your question.

The process begins with the filing of the application. The Examiner can "allow" it to issue as a patent or can reject it. If the application is rejected, the inventor can make amendments or legal arguments and the Examiner gets another reply. Applications can issue right away, or the process back and forth can go on. Many applications never issue as patents and some can take decades to issue. It's up to the inventor, who pays for everything, how long to keep trying.

New Examiners, however, must have their work signed off by a more experienced Examiner. After some years, once Examiners are ready to reach grade 13, they go through a qualification process and if they pass they become a "Primary Examiner". The immediate boss of Examiners is a "Supervisory Patent Examiner" (SPE) who is a Primary who has been tapped to lead what I think is called an "Art Unit".

Some SPE's are very strict and demanding. It is common for such SPE's to be known to force their new hires to quit (job too demanding) or to fire them. The problem why this happens alot is that SPEs receive bonuses if all of their Examiners achieve certain rankings (i.e. 110% of their expected production). Other SPEs on the other hand may be quite pleasant to work for. Thus you might have a group of Examiners run ragged by their boss just next to another group who can do their weekly work in 1 or 2 days and spend the rest of each week goofing off.

The point I am coming to is that SPEs control whether or not a new Examiner can issue a patent or not. I heard of one SPE who got an early Java related application and who allegedly said that he would never issue it. Why? Because certain patents are destined to be controversial and the Examiners who issue them generally get paid alot of attention by the PTO upper management. There are those Examiners who seek to stay out of such spotlights. Also, SPEs can refuse to sign off on their Examiner's work if they have an axe to grind with the Examiner (or the Inventor or his attorney for that matter). An SPE can set an Examiner up to be fired by refusing to sign the Examiner's work, thus mandating the Examiner does not meet quota - a side effect of which is denying the inventor his or her patent and requiring the inventor to pay more fees to continue the fight. Yes, beleive it or not, office politics is very much alive in the USPTO.

In summary, though, most Examiners in my experience are pretty well qualified and pretty well dedicated to doing the best they can within their lot at the PTO.

Solution (5, Funny)

hool5400 (257022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754796)

Just call it a software warp drive, or even just include the word software somewhere in the application. Just watch the bastard fly throught the application process.

Re:Solution (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755033)

No, you've got it all wrong. It's only patentable once you create a warp drive on the internet.

Reading the patent.. (3, Informative)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754797)

seems a bit overdone, I think they pretty much explained freshman quantum physics in the first part... but if you skip down to the bottom, it makes a smidgeon of sense.... I wouldn't doubt that the actual solution is something similar to this, but the problem they would have is that (if the whole electron bit is true) is the immense forces on the armatures and the internal superconductor. Theres a problem is that if you try to push strong magnetic fields into a superconductor, they tend to break down (the property of superconductivity, not the actual ceramics).. so when this thing (if its even possible) starts to lift, it will likely collapse the superconductivity of the internal sphere, and it would fail to lift. You'd still see the difference on a scale, but I would doubt you'd ever get off the "launch pad" in the next 50 years.

Re:Reading the patent.. (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754812)

That being said, still seems a bit far fetched.

Re:Reading the patent.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14755187)

But wouldn't something like this look like the "Machine" in the movie Contact? We just need to get Jodie Foster to sign up to test it.

I like the part in the technical example (4, Funny)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754800)

Where you rotate a superconductive sphere 1 meter in diameter 1,500,000 rpm. That'll work.

Re:I like the part in the technical example (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754876)

I hope it's a damned small sphere.

Otherwise the surface will get to insane speeds..

Re:I like the part in the technical example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754967)

The grandparent post said "1 metre in diameter". At 1.5 million rpm, that works out to 78.5 km/s. That's pretty fast - fast enough that you'd have a hard time keeping the sphere from being torn apart by its own inertia - but it's nowhere near relativistic speed, and much less difficult than the kinds of physical feats required by other warp drives. If that's the hardest engineering challenge in building this drive, then this design is looking pretty good.

Re:I like the part in the technical example (1)

rumpledoll (716472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754984)

"If that's the hardest engineering challenge in building this drive, then this design is looking pretty good." You mean apart from the fact the the device is pure bullshit.

Re:I like the part in the technical example (1)

rcpitt (711863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755066)

Hmmm... off the top of my head, and note that it has been a long time since I've had to do any geometry lately - but circumfrence of a sphere 1 meter in diameter is pi x D which is something like 3.1415... X 1 meter = 3.1415... meters

At 1.5 million RPM this means a molecule on the surface of the sphere would be travelling something like 4.7 million meters/second.

Google kindly provided 299 792 458 m / s as the speed of light which means to me that the molecules of the sphere are already traveling faster than light.

So... to go trans-light you must have parts that can go trans-light. And for my next demonstration I'm going to show perpetual motion

Re:I like the part in the technical example (2, Informative)

wmspringer (569211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755102)

At 1.5 million RPM this means a molecule on the surface of the sphere would be travelling something like 4.7 million meters/second.

Google kindly provided 299 792 458 m / s as the speed of light which means to me that the molecules of the sphere are already traveling faster than light.


4.7 million is more than 299 million?

Re:I like the part in the technical example (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755117)

4.7 million meters/second

You misspelled "minute".

Re:I like the part in the technical example (1)

rcpitt (711863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755149)

seconds, minutes, millions - bah - should have had another cup of coffee ;)

I bet that (4, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754804)

that clerk is a /. reader.

Re:I bet that (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754851)

Can't be, the clerk spelled all the words correctly in their letter, and used proper grammar.

PTO waking up or is NASA greedy?? (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754810)

Hmm....either the PTO is waking up and doing something it should do for a majority of it's patents (NTP vs RIM anyone??) or NASA has looked at this and said....WOW....we could USE THIS!

On the otherhand, I don't believe for s second that this guy really has invented a WORKING FTL drive.

Re:PTO waking up or is NASA greedy?? (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754829)

It wouldn't have to be FTL to be useful. Intertialess would be a good start.

Re:PTO waking up or is NASA greedy?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754836)

Oh stop using sci-fi acronyms. He never said it was a faster than light engine... it simply warps space/time.

Re:PTO waking up or is NASA greedy?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754945)

... it simply warps space/time.

So does my flatulence - but do you see me rushing to the Patent Office and getting dibs on the Advanced Bipedal Gastro-Intestinal Release System?

Even if presented with a working model... (2, Funny)

bsandersen (835481) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754811)

Based on my experience with the Patent Office, even if they were presented with a working model it would still take them four years to process it.

-- Scott

The applicant's mistake... (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754815)

...was not submitting a patent request for 'one-click Worsley-Twisting'.

Warp drive? Wonderful! (0, Redundant)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754828)

Anything that might get you frigging humans off my planet is worth trying.

This "device" gives new meaning... (1)

Safrax (697056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754858)

to the phrase "spin up the FTL drive."

have the rules changed? (4, Insightful)

the_wesman (106427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754875)

hi - at my company, we hold a lot of patents. In fact, there's a program in which people at the company can submit patent ideas and our legal department checks them out and sees if they exist/are viable/etc. I submitted one last year (that already existed - damn) and while speaking with one of the lawyers he mentioned, quite empatically, that whatever is being patented does not actually have to exist. According to him, you can patent a process or software or hardware that has no working proof of concept. I think the idea of submitting a patent on something that can never exist is pretty lame, but on the other hand, I don't think that people should be allowed to call dibs on patents just so they can wait for somebody else to do the work and then sue them. It's tough to find a same medium. how close is too close (or too far) from the realization of an idea for it to be patented?

Patents on "ideas" (3, Insightful)

cyberlotnet (182742) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754916)

I have no problem with people getting a patent on an "idea" or software concept as long as the person can

1. Show no prior art
2. Has intent to use said patent.

Patents are meant to protect a inventory from LOSS due to stealing of a persons idea. They where never meant as a profit center.

I should not be able to think up and idea and then just sit on it until someone else decideds to try and use it.. Wait even longer then sue them for using it once they are worth money.

It's not stealing (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754991)

'stealing of a persons idea'

<pedantic>
It's not "stealing" because when you copy someone else's idea, you do not take that idea away from them. They still have the idea after you have copied it.
</pedantic>

First CPU... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754959)

Whatever happened to the guy who submitted football diagrams for inventing the first CPU before everyone else? He's one of those "I got a patent after the fact and you're gonna give me money to avoid a lawsuit" type.

Whoaaaa (2, Funny)

Joffy (905928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754985)

The Phantom of the Opera wants a warp drive?

Damn... (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14754987)

So I suppose my patent for the flux capacitor will be expected to come with a working model?

Slightly off topic, but speaking of patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14754992)

There is an interesting article on this guys site about software patents [Math You Can't Use]: http://patentlaw.typepad.com/patent/2006/02/book_r eview_mat.html [typepad.com]

Make it so. (1)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14755195)

I got nothing.
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