Rossi Responds to Question Regarding Giving Away his E-Cat Secrets for Free

An interesting exchange on Andrea Rossi’s web site today reveals his plans for proliferating his E-Cat technology, and also something of his economic philosophy. Rossi had commented earlier in  in regard to the patent he has been awarded saying, “We will never reveal all our industrial secrets, of course.”

In response to this comment a questioner asked:

“This technology could save many lives and bring a quality of life to many areas that are suffering. I understand the need to protect your commercial interests and to reap the rewards for a life of hard work. But I must ask, at what point does the recipe for this technology need to be published to the world so that the world at large can benefit? It would be a shame to temper the propagation of this technology, because there is only a few manufacturers and distributors. Certainly you would be wealthy, but only the wealthy would have your technology for a long time.

Is this technology too good to keep secret? If you released the recipe now, I imagine by Christmas there would be e-cats all over the world already benefiting humanity.”

This is in essence a hope that Rossi would open source his technology so that people around the world could start building and developing their own E-Cats. To this suggestion Rossi responded:

“As for the development of the technology: the maximum development can be reached with the maximua investments. Nobody could invest significantly in a technology without having exclusive rights on it. When a thing is own by everybody nobody gives value to it. The story of communism has teached this to us. We and our licensee will put all our force to develope this tech.

Rossi’s approach, then, is to attract investments by providing exclusive rights to investment partners which gives them more incentive to invest — an exclusive share of the profits coming from the technology. It’s interesting that he invokes communism as an example of a failed economic strategy here. He seems to think that the incentive for development of E-Cat would not exist if the information was given away for free — just as communist economies in many cases failed to harness  the ingenuity and dedication of  people when they saw no tangible reward for putting forward extra efforts.

There are however, many examples of very successful technologies that have been developed on open source principles — think of Wikipedia or Linux as examples. These software platforms have been built largely by people who have received no material reward, but have put forward tremendous efforts largely for the satisfaction of being involved in a useful project. There are many intangible benefits that participants in open source projects receive, and it appears that the questioner in this case is hopeful that the same kind of success can come with E-Cat technology.

Apparently, however, Andrea Rossi has his own ideas about how his invention should be implemented.


  • bhl

    If it turns out to be real, this technology will be open sourced… in the form of home brew units, cheap knock-offs, and kits that let you avoid the patent. The patent will keep the big companies honest (perhaps) but from what I’ve read, Rossi is not going to send his lawyers to remote villages in Africa to shut down unregistered e-cats.

  • CatDoc

    Wikipedia is constantly on the brink of going broke. Linux distos make money off corporations and individuals that want personalized and immediate service. Do you think Sir Timothy John “Tim” Berners-Lee,the guy that thought up the world wide web wishes he had a patent? The parallels of Engr. Rossi and John Galt from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” are eerie, as are the plaintive voices of those that run forward with their hand out, begging, or demanding. The incentive for profit is the fairest and best way humans have of dealing with one another, the alternatives are theft or forced work. Which is cleaner, a gas station sink or the one in your home? What is commonly owned is commonly neglected or abused. What drug company spends hundreds of millions a year finding and discovering, if they’re just going to give it away? They get a patent and make a profit for a determined time, and when it goes off patent, the price plummets as competition moves in, but by then, hopefully those profits went into finding the next big thing. Engr. Rossi can use income to hire the best minds on the planet to make the e-cat better and better. Is there any doubt there is room for improvement from the copper pipes and tinfoil? Was the Model A the very best car ever made? Every year there are improvements in cars and there will be in e-cats. Once the physics of the e-cat are illuminated, someone will come up with a better one, and then a better one, and on and on, each of them driven to do so by the enrichment from patents, be it for an individual, a university, or a corporation. Let Engr. Rossi be the Earth’s first trillionaire! He’ll make everyone’s lives better, enrich a lot of people, and all of them deservedly so. The incentive to develop the e-cat DOES hinge on profitability, Rossi wants it to be HIS profitability. If he gave it all away, someone else would get rich off of it. I’m proud of Engr. Rossi, and am glad and happy for him for every penny he earns, just as I’m proud of every penny I earn, and every penny you earn. If his invention revolutionizes the world, he should be rewarded for it. If it’s bunk, Pons and Fleishman owe him thanks for replacing them in the dictionary under “Cold Fusion Fantasies”. I gotta stop drinking coffee so late…

    • admin

      Thanks for this comment — a great defense of free enterprise! I think you and Rossi are on the very same page here.

      Interestingly, Rossi made a comment about Wikipedia today on his blog: “I love Wikipedia, and I use it as a very precious tool for my job.” I know many professors who disparage Wikipedia and warn their students from taking it seriously, so I find Rossi’s comment particularly interesting. I think Wikipedia is a monumental achievement and I’m glad to hear it has played a useful role in the development of the E-Cat. I think in the right circumstances open source can be a very valuable system for doing useful things.

  • Guidi

    I would agree with the example of open-source software. Many have benefited form the investment of the skills and ideas that were contributed to these projects. But there is a difference between a collaborative effort needed for developing a software project as opposed to a technical device using, a yet unknown, physical process. Much work in research would have to be done on uncovering the principals of what was actually occurring to then gain an understanding of how it could be improved and optimized. Think of the invention of radio – Hertz developed the notion, Marconi made something practical by which to use it and then the research by firms with large capital followed to find out just how it worked and to also find new uses for the technology.