A Patent Strategy Proposal for the E-Cat

I would like to draw attention to a very interesting comment that has been submitted to the Journal of Nuclear Physics by inventor Jim Rice who provides a detailed patent strategy proposal for Andrea Rossi which I think makes quite a persuasive case as to how Rossi and Co. should proceed with protecting his intellectual property. It’s quite lengthy, and I won’t include all the post here, but here are some exerpts:

“There are two strategies for obtaining intellectual property protection: Patents and trade secrets. I think the latter is not practical for you due to the probable reverse engineering of your invention shortly after the first model is released to the general public. You can slow the dissemination of how your invention works but not stop it with customer non-disclosure agreements. That leaves us with patents as the only way to protect your invention.

Because of the newness of the field of invention and the new physics involved, you must include in the patent application specifications EVERYTHING that a person knowledgeable in the art would need to reproduce your invention. I interpret this to mean essentially complete blueprints and instructions for construction and operation. This can even include instructional videos, digital CAD files, etc.

If you do this, imitators will immediately begin to construct your invention using your published application. But in the long run it will benefit them not at all because you will eventually have a patent that prohibits construction without your permission. In fact, every time they construct a working copy of your invention, it helps your patent application. . .

It seems to me that there is danger in every day that goes by that you do not submit a new patent application (and it will have to be a new one, since you cannot add to the patent specifications after the application has been submitted) containing sufficient detail that your invention can be reproduced. Eventually, someone else is going to submit enough detail and supporting evidence that their patent will be granted. As you know, the USPTO is now “First to File”, not “First to Invent”. So it will not matter that you invented something first. . .

Bottom line: If I were you, I would begin immediately submitting multible patent applications with very detailed engineering data on how to construct and use all your devices. I think this is the only way you will be able to protect your inventions.”

Andrea Rossi’s response to this comment is also interesting:

Thank you for your useful comment.
I passed your interesting patent strategy considerations to the patent division of our Partner: I am sure their attorneys will consider them.
I am no more involved in patent strategy: I must say that in this period I am working very well because I have no more to think about patents, production, dayly business, etc etc, but only to the R&D and the science of the reactors. I do not know if the results of this work will be positive or negative, as I said many times we will share the information about the results at the end of this cycle of work, but one thing is sure: now I can work full time on the technology, at the maximum of my possibilities, integrated in a team of top level. I feel like ” playing in the majors”. I also am working in an area at very high technological level and strongly industrialized, where there is easy access to any necessary instrumentation we need: when I need some instrument I have just to ask for it, and I receive it in matter of days, if not hours.

Rossi seems to be very happy not to have the responsibility of handling the business matters of the E-Cat — but seems impressed enough with this idea to turn it over to the partner’s legal team. The merit in Rice’s proposal as I see it is that even if Rossi and Co. put extreme limits on access to their technology so as to preserve their trade secrets (which means that dissemination throughout the world would need to limited), it is likely that the secret will leak out by some means or other — and without patents there would be no legal protection for him.

The idea presented, however, would seem to go against Rossi’s demonstrated inclinations to this point. He has been very protective of his invention, and it would be a remarkable change in strategy if all the details of his technology were disclosed in patents.

  • Adrian Ashfield

    Does anybody know if the contents of a failed patent application are made public, or properly protected from spying eyes?

    If it is, it looks like Rice’s proposal has considerable merit. Rossi’s plan has always been to manufacture devices at competitive cost, but if someone else had the patent he would have to pay royalties.

    • Omega Z


      According to a Normally reliable source, Rossi or a Surrogate has been filing patents in an ongoing process.

      Considering millions of patents are filed every year & how their titled & by whom, it could be hard to find them. Note some can remain unavailable for a period of time from prying eyes.

      Note several patents have been filed that could actually be Rossi’s or the partner under names in countries that would be less scrutinized.
      We would in essence think it was 1 more competitor.

      Rossi’s Original Patent was filed in his wife’s name. Latter transferred to Leonardo inc. little over a year ago…

      • fortyniner

        I wonder how many 5 year old Rossi grandchildren or other small relatives will soon be the proud owners of shiny new cold fusion patents!!

        • Omega Z

          Well 49er

          I’m sure will get more promising confirmations during this time from 3rd party & such, But, I just figure any Corporation that calls for a News Media Event will want to be 100% sure.

          If they should be wrong, Even Corporations as big as GE or Siemens would take a Major Hit to their Reputation. Loss of Confidence could be a catastrophe to their stock values. And could even/likely result in Lawsuits from Shareholders & anyone other Entities who could show damages from misinformation.

          Consequences we tend to overlook.

          • fortyniner

            Indeed, but organisations that have something to disclose will make 100% sure that they have what they think they have, before disclosure. They will also want to make many other arrangments beforehand, such as acquiring relevant manufacturering companies if possible, revising their company structure in preparation, setting up training facilities, employing additional engineers and scientists (and lawyers!), quietly selling any stocks in doomed technologies such as nuclear fission and buying back their own shares, and so on.

            There will be frantic work going on behind the scenes long before any arrangements are made for media events, and it is possible that various indications of this may emerge.

            Although there are laws directing that any publicly quoted company must disclose to the stockholders any developments that could materially affect the value of their holdings, it seems likely that in view of the stakes involved this requirement may get sidestepped in one way or another, possibly using subsidiaries and newly purchased acquisitions.

      • Master Blaster

        Rossi must be listed as an inventor on each of his patent applications, else any patents that subsequently issue from those applications would be unenforceable for fraud on the patent office. Knowingly listing a wrong inventor is a big no no in patent law.

        Now, he could more easily conceal the subsequent owner of his patents/applications (who is his “partner”?), but sooner or later papers will have to be filed at the PTO listing the true owner and thus giving them a power of attorney to act with respect to the application. If the true owner doesn’t show up and file a power of attorney (meaning the attorney has no right to act on the patent, because he has the wrong client), then both the patent and patent counsel could be in hot water for making false statements to the PTO. This too could lead to an unenforceable patent.

        On this note, I looked at Rossi’s published US patent application (US 12/736,193) for the E-Cat. Curiously, the Application Data Sheet filed 9-16-2010 lists a Maddalena Pascucci as the assignee of the application.

        Who is Ms. Pascucci? Did she subsequently assign her rights to the “partner”?

        Master Blaster

        • Maddalena Pascucci is Rossi’s wife.

  • CP in Tampa

    If Rossi and Co. have a viable product then why is there such a long delay in releasing a product to the public? Why is it such a big secret what company Rossi is working with? Does anyone even know where Rossi lives? Couldn’t someone follow him to work one day and at least verify he is working on this project with a company? I remain skeptical.

    • Omega Z

      CP in Tampa

      Primarily, This is a work in progress. R&D.
      Can’t Imagine it being any other way.
      Rossi has an Idea about the devices longevity & Charge replacement time period, but without further tests, there just his opinion.
      Rossi’s partner will wont much more.

      Imagine pumping out 1000’s only to discover a major problem 6 to 12 months down the road.

      Presently, a limited number are being built & tested.
      BETA testing…

      If we see a public announcement within the next 1 1/2 years, that would be reasonable quick.

      • fortyniner

        Omega, you are to be commended for your patient reply!

  • Bob

    A bit off topic, but something I have to ask about Rossi’s reply and almost all others I have seen.

    He is now always including : “I do not know if the results of this work will be positive or negative”

    How can he say he does not know and leaves open the possibility of “negative”? After several demos, one would think that he is assured that the process works. Perhaps not 100% sure of the exact COP or 100% sure on how long a charge lasts or possibly some other details.

    But to keep stating “positive or negative” seems quite odd at this point in time. Am I not understanding his statement? Perhaps his second language of English is worded not as we would normally percieve? Possibly his new partner’s lawyers are involved and as often the case, quite paranoid?

    Any thoughts?

    • Bernie Koppenhofer

      Bob, that has bothered me too, but it sounds to me like it is a requirement from the legal department of his new partner.

    • jdm

      If “the partner” is a publicly traded company and there is a positive development in a potential revenue stream that shareholders were not informed of, couldn’t the backlash be severe? “positive or negative” would remove a bit of the liability I think. Probably laywer-speak.

    • Omega Z


      Could just be a cautious response. Certain criteria will need to be met for many uses. A minimum COP & Longevity concerns.

      However it could be as simple as a use of words.

      “I’ll let you know Either Way What The Results Are.”

      Does this sound better?

    • fortyniner

      I agree with Bernie – it seems that AR is under instructions to ‘neither confirm nor deny’ with regard to test results, and the set-piece phrase has been given to him to trot out as appropriate (or may be inserted by his assumed minder). At a later date he will be able to explain that it is the second set of 3rd party tests that he was referring to.

      The fact is that data will be being produced both from R&D prototypes and by now, possibly from full test installations of one kind or another. Rossi will of course be fully aware of ongoing results and will know exactly how things are progressing, but it is clear that we onlookers will not be updated until the time is considered right.

  • Hal

    Leonardo filed an opposition notice to Piantelli’s patent back in April, Wikipedia says it typically takes three years for an opposition to be resolved. If Wiki is right, and Leonardo’s patent application might infringe Piantelli’s, we (and/or Leonardo) are in for a long wait

  • Omega Z

    Rossi’s concern about China is different from what Most Everybody here would realize. Many are years behind current trends. Trends are Changing.

    Rossi’s concern is that China would build them & distribute them in China without paying the Royalties. End Of Story…

    China would be decades supplying their own market with little if any left to supply any outside their Country. China has workforce limitations just as any other Country & as their Standards rise within, so does domestic demand. They import products just as we do And it is increasing. Don’t let there 1.5 Billion population skew your thinking. It’s more a Problem then an Advantage. Same for India…

    There are fewer & fewer countries where cheap labor is still available & of those few, business sees only a small time window(about 10 to 15 years) before they to lose that advantage.

    Note that Apple is moving their desktop system production back to the U.S. Many Corporations are gradually doing the same. Many components will still be imported regardless where products are completed. This has much more to do with Raw material resources available then labor cost. Such as smelters will be located near to the extracted ores & such. Much cheaper to ship a ton of processed steel then 50 tons of ore then process it. China’s only real advantage today is controlling 95% of the rare earth elements. That is changing. Within 10 years, that monopoly will be ending. It’s projected that within 15 years or less the U.S. could become an exporter instead of importer as with several other Countries.

    Business Economics Consideration- Available Resources, Tax Laws, & Labor. Labor is the only element they have had any real control of. That’s ending.
    Future business will be done according to Resource availability & Tax Law.
    Manufacturing efficiency has reached a point were wage difference is becoming negligible.
    Example:Labor- $2 in China. $20 in the U.S. The Cost to produce a hard back book in the U.S. less then 50 cents. Cost advantage if produced in China. Less the 5 cents cheaper. Cost to Ship it to the U.S.???

    In all likelihood- An E-cat built in the U.S would be cheaper then a China built E-cat at Home Depot. But even if the Chinese product is marginally Cheaper, Most U.S. citizens will purchase the U,S product. Because of our legal system, they have much more recourse should there be a problem. I assume all things equal, this would be similar in Europe & elsewhere. Domestic over import all things equal. Only serious price differences come into play. This situation is disappearing.

    Note that at 1 time(80’s), Japan proclaimed they would rule the U.S. Economically. Never happened. Economic growth & rising standards of living have a balancing effect. Same will/is happening in China & other places.

    Many tend to let their Imagination get the better of them neglecting the realities.
    These E-cats are not suited for build at home other then Novelty items.
    Any who try to build for market will have to jump through hoops & meet all the safety regulations as Rossi or any others. Not Cheap or Easy. A single component that costs you $5 bucks they can purchase direct by the truck load for a quarter. Large Corporations will be able to market these far Cheaper then you’ll ever be able to build yourself. And they’ll back it up with a warranty/guarantee.
    Components you’ll spend hours or days making, they’ll have CNC’s that do it in minutes.

    Note the Many Patents being filed. This will induce Corporations to compete and provide the best prices. So should all the necessary information & materials become available where someone may build this as a novelty, Ultimately, you will buy a manufactured product for home installation.

    • Shane D.

      Yes, in the long run China may not be the threat it is now. Unfortunately… LENR is now.

      Nice to speculate here that some time in the future China will honor international copyright laws, refrain from stealing technology, then illegally copying and selling “knockoffs” at a dime on the dollar.

      Little comfort though for the Rossi/DGT/Brillouin types that have to deal with the business realities they face today.

      • Omega Z


        I don’t expect China to honor copyright laws anytime soon.
        I just don’t see it as a problem in the world market at this time.

        Rossi on the other hand has reason to be concerned because just manufacturing them & selling them in China would be a lot of Royalties lost.
        Even at 2% or 3% of Manufacturing cost. It is 25% of the World Market.

        With modern manufacturing, Labor cost is becoming Negligible. Likely you’ll be able to build them anywhere at comparable price. Robotic manufacturing cost about the same regardless where you use them.

      • BroKeeper

        When in any other time of history had competition / cooperation convergence been compared with what will happen soon in the LENR market?
        No matter whom with what high COP LENR device it’s inventors and manufacturers will make profit beyond anyone’s hope.
        No need for a competitive attitude for quite some time especially with the immense social benefits in mind. So forget the patents and ensuing lawsuits and rejoice in humanities future by letting go of the greed and Just Get It Done.

    • Sanjeev

      A good solution would be to pick a big player in China and make them a business partner and manufacturer. They will then ensure profits for Rossi as well as for themselves. This way Rossi will still have some control on what gets sold there officially, much better than losing 100% of the eastern markets to local cos.

    • Bernie Koppenhofer

      Omega Z…..China is just the largest rogue nation when it comes to patent protection and cheap production, how about the 20 other rogue nations across the world?

      • Omega Z


        Don’t Believe the Media Realty.
        Behind the scenes, The U.S. is planning joint military maneuvers with China.
        Not all is as it seems.

        Just Like LENR. Ignored by MSM, but much is going on behind the scenes.
        21 Nations were represented at ICCF-18 including many Asian nations & you’d be shocked how many are involved with U.S. Agencies, NASA, SPAWAR, NRL, & Universities, Etc…

        They’ve got it covered. And Rossi has a Licensee for China.
        And with all the other projects we have quietly going on with China, It probably also involves LENR.

        No, The Biggest problem for Rossi’s & everyone else collecting Royalties will be the Bottleneck in materials to build these systems.

        The world will soon need 2 Gigawatts of new power every 6 days. That’s 6 Gigawatts of E-cat power. Rossi’s plans are a drop in the bucket. The World is going to need more Iron ore mines. Cheap Plentiful Energy just opens the door to the next Shortage.

  • Omega Z


  • winebuff

    As other copetitors close in on rossi it seems that he needs to make a move on the patent front or he will be left out in the cold. My other thought on the patent issue is what about prior art. I think he was worried about that little stumbling block. Lots of others should worry too if that covers their patent.

  • Roger Bird

    Jim Rice asking numerous times to invest in Rossi’s business and being turned down numerous times is more evidence that this is NOT a scam. But I doubt if this will change the minds of too many of those paranoid schitzophrenics that we call skeptopaths who are following this story.

  • Donald

    Mr Rice’s advice seems little more than the obvious, but nevertheless Rossi chose long ago to use the trade secret method. Even his patent application now does not mention the catalyst.

    Is the catalyst unpatentable? Everybody assumes that it is some sort of normal and mundane material. What if it is made, for example, from the dried gonads of virgins sacrificed on the night of the full moon? Could you patent this?

    • winebuff


    • telessar

      Generally speaking, you can patent an existing or well known compound for a particular use so long as the use itself is novel and arises out of new or unexpected properties of the compound. This is often referred to as a use patent or “method of using.” So one could patent something like a catalyst in certain situations, even if it is a “normal and mundane material.”

      This is not to say a use patent would necessarily be available in this case. It would have to be a new or unexpected use, and it would generally also have to be something that has not yet been disclosed or mentioned (in order to be novel and obvious). An attorney would have to look at everything Rossi has hinted at and disclosed to be sure.

      Source: I am an IP attorney.
      Disclaimer: This is general information only and is not meant to be taken as legal advice or form a attorney client relationship. Please contact a patent lawyer if you have specific questions about any particular or specific legal scenario.

  • Gerrit

    Popsci kills comments.

    This remarkable act of reader censorship is backed by a number of questionable assertions — most notably the notion that reader comments undermine the preaching of a “scientific doctrine” and that “comments are bad for science.”