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Freakin' Patent Office

Freakin' Patent Office

Freakin' Patent Office

Got an office-action from the Patent Office asserting my engine is the same as Ardezzone's (US 2017/0328277). Personally, I struggle to see how Ardezzone received a patent for what appears to be nothing more than an enclosed WWI radial. In any case, mine is an opposed-piston rotating-cylinder engine with an integral air pump piston that has two cams and operates on HCCI while Ardezzone's simply replaces the crank of a classic spark ignition four-stroke radial with a cam very much like the Marchetti Cam Engine of 1927. I can only assume the examiner confused opposed cylinders with opposed pistons.

The examiner also dismisses my use of HCCI saying "Ardezzone could have done that." Well, heck, I suppose one could say any engine "could do that" if one ignores the merits of each specific implementation. That approach would suggest there should be few patents for HCCI, but I found 3,568 of them, and the overwhelming majority describe a specific implementation not the generalized means. I can only speculate how the examiner came to the conclusion he did in this area.

The good news is the office-action isn't final, so I get to provide counter arguments.

P.S. Ardezzone calls his engine the Exponential Engine and his web site makes some pretty remarkable claims.

RE: Freakin' Patent Office

Patent examiners get a few hours to find and make determinations about patent applications. Which is why you get to make a counter argument. During the last few decades they were told to rubber stamp everything, taking the money and doing little work, on the direction that patent fights end up in court where the facts will get reviewed anyway. I think the courts got tired of being the dumping ground and the Patent Office has been reinvigorated to be the first line of defense.

I expect that a good patent attorney should be hired by you to review the prior art claims and see where to go from here.

I am a bit surprised the Ardezzone patent was issued as I am sure that cam-driven engines as a class have been done before. I am not surprised that his website shows what looks like a complete prototype engine, but does not show it running. I think he should link up with Moller. It looks like the perfect engine for the flying car.

RE: Freakin' Patent Office


I filed through an attorney and he will file the response. We did extensive search of prior art before filing and found no in examples of cam driven opposed piston radial engines (much less any employing HCCI). I sent my inputs this weekend and he said he’ll complete the response by August 8. I’m going to be really bummed if my patent is denied.

The “let the courts work it out” scheme you describe is terribly unfair to the small inventor; big corporations will just tie it up in courts until the inventor is forced into bankruptcy.


RE: Freakin' Patent Office

At least you aren't stuck in "like it was always done, but now with a computer" patents that were also rubber stamped.

For amusement, look up the gas pedal patent suit that made it to the US Supreme Court. One of the Justices made a comment about how little imagination is required to design a gas pedal; one party replied that the pedal designer had over 20 years experience to which the Justice responded "Exactly." (it's been a while, but that was my recollection at the time.)

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/06pdf/04-13... KSR Int'l Co. v. Teleflex Inc

RE: Freakin' Patent Office

Thanks for the link! It may actually come in handy (at least to me) as an aid to understanding how the “the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which said subject matter pertains" statement of patent law is interpreted. They go on to mention another case that defines the test, and I'm confident I would pass it.

I think the most famous case of a patent fight by a little guy might have been the case of the intermittent wiper. It made for an interesting movie.. at least to folks like us!

RE: Freakin' Patent Office

If it makes you feel better, look at the struggle Frank Whittle had between the two world wars trying to patent his gas turbine motor, because the examiners thought it was a perpetual motion machine.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Freakin' Patent Office


That's shocking ! The gas turbine clearly has an external energy source. Freakin' examiners.


RE: Freakin' Patent Office

In my experience, patent lawyers argue with other patent lawyers about things they don't understand, using word association as their main device.


RE: Freakin' Patent Office

Car companies and research places refer to "strong" and "weak" patent protection. A clearly novel and unique idea or principle is "strong" - anything based on a known principle is the opposite. Clearly an engine that is cam-based and uses pistons etc. can never be absolutely water-tight or "strong".

But - yes, they should allow your patent - it won't be much use but you never know.

RE: Freakin' Patent Office


Quote (BigClive)

Clearly an engine that is cam-based and uses pistons etc. can never be absolutely water-tight or "strong".

Granted. The same could be said for an engine using crankshafts and pistons yet there are thousands of patents issued for such engines. I spent months performing patent searches before committing to spending the money required to file a patent through an attorney. I wouldn't have filed had I seen even one cam-driven opposed-piston cam-engine. The earliest relevant patent I found was the Beyer Engine of 1897. That patent alone would invalidate all cam-driven engines claiming nothing more than replacement of a crankshaft with a cam. The patent that comes the closest to mine is the Michel engine of 1921 which shows three pistons working a shared chamber. I also found the Tucker Engine of 1937 which is, in my opinion, the same engine as Ardezonne's but for the fact the space between cylinders is open for air cooling rather than enclosed for liquid cooling. I found no engines using two cams controlling opposed pistons in a radial engine much less any with a third charging piston or any using the combination of small pistons, radial cylinders, and cam timing to overcome the challenges of HCCI.

I was very reluctant to proceed with a patent because, frankly, I felt any engine worth considering has likely been tried and, with very few exceptions (eg. Wankel), tossed into the dustbin of failed engines that were going to change the world. Cam engines in particular have proven to be inefficient. Michel actually took his to production but abandoned it over time because crank engines were superior. All of this history with cam engines and rotating cylinder radial cam engines in particular occurred before the benefits of HCCI were well understood, however. I held off on filing until my math models were complete, and they showed that HCCI had the potential to increase efficiency sufficiently to overcome the inefficiencies of such engines. HCCI is difficult to tame, however, which is why nobody has yet produced one that uses HCCI exclusively. Using cams to control opposed pistons in a radial configuration promises to overcome the challenges of full-time HCCI through precise control of timing and minimization of cylinder to cylinder variance in temperature due to the lack of "end cylinders." My engine design consultant agreed. As it turns out, HCCI also makes rotating cylinder radials less complex because it eliminates the need for spark plugs rotating with the cylinder. Using a two-stroke opposed piston approach also eliminates the need for a valve train, further simplifying the otherwise highly complex rotating cylinder radial.

Quote (BigClive)

[T]hey should allow your patent - it won't be much use but you never know.

As it stands, my analysis indicates my engine would be of great use. It's well suited to aviation due it it's integral supercharger, it should be low emissions due to lean operation at low combustion temperatures, and it should provide very high power/weight and power/volume ratios (by my analysis, it should come close to a Wankel in that regard). Though I have taken pains to account for all factors, I'm still operating from math models and actual results may be insufficient to warrant production. Only time will tell, and I'm finding it takes a whole lot of it to move from idea to math models and from math models to prototypes followed by optimized pre-production engines. You never know until you take it to conclusion.

RE: Freakin' Patent Office

I concur with others above, if you want the patent then have your lawyer contest the judgement. My first patent was like dozens of others - a fuel injection pulse. Most of the engine was production parts, the combustion was fairly normal lean burn, and the pulse itself simply yet another step function but its application toward mixed fuels apparently made it novel.

I occasionally think patent law school might be a fun change of pace then realize I'd have to interact with the govt more and realize what a terrible change that would be.

RE: Freakin' Patent Office

CWBI, My attorney is contesting as we speak.

RE: Freakin' Patent Office

I have six patents that are assigned to previous employers. As a consequence, I do not have a positive opinion of the value of patents to individuals and small companies. The government does not enforce patents. The only way to enforce a patent is to file a lawsuit against the infringer. Even the simplest patent suit will be hundreds of thousands of dollars. There will be far greater scrutiny of the patent validity in court than given by the patent office. The process of getting a patent sucks a lot of resources from the process of invention, and adds greatly to the time to get a product to market. On the other hand you cannot sell your idea to someone else without a patent. Keeping things a trade secret is preferable where that is possible. In your case it is not.

My first patent, which was probably the most valuable, was rejected three times by the patent office. So the Patent attorney and I met with the patent examiner in Washington, D.C, where I could demonstrate the novelty and usefulness. Then the patent was issued. Most patents seem obvious after you have read them. The best proof that it is novel is that it solves a problem that has been around a long time and no one else has solved it yet.

RE: Freakin' Patent Office

Yeah not fun, in my case its stuff I figured out years before anyone else did it. And someone else gets the kudos for it.
Who would have listened to a kid back in the 50's and 60's? Now days kids get all kinds of pats on the back.
And Patents, with all the stuff out there for lack of better terminology, it is like everyone is patenting air or rocks and dirt. With all the goofy patents I don't see how anything gets done. All they can end up doing is stifling progress.

RE: Freakin' Patent Office

RodRico - I mean the patent won't be of much use - the engine may be - time will tell.

RE: Freakin' Patent Office

My attorney sent our response. Interestingly, it was very simplistic and incorporated very little of the three pages of technical substantiation I provided. Concerned, I asked him whether he had coordinated the response in conversation with the examiner and he said "Yes. He wants us to submit the revised root claim incorporating the air pump piston which the examiner feels would make my patent unique." I decided that's OK because it reflects what I'm actually planning to build, but I remain convinced mine is the only opposed-piston cam-driven radial in the art with or without the air pump piston. Fingers crossed...

RE: Freakin' Patent Office

I called the examiner today to ensure he was satisfied with our response and offer to answer any additional questions. Much to my surprise, he informed me the patent was granted a week ago. I'll post a link when it's published (the examiner said it will take a while). Yay! I ceased all work when I received the initial judgement denying my patent but can now proceed.

RE: Freakin' Patent Office


RE: Freakin' Patent Office


RE: Freakin' Patent Office

Good news!

je suis charlie

RE: Freakin' Patent Office

congratulations best of luck

A tidy mind not intelligent as it ignors the random opportunities of total chaos. Thats my excuse anyway

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