One of the major obstacles facing the commercialization of E-Cat/LENR technology involves patents. Andrea Rossi has said that he won’t release home-based E-Cats until he has patent approval for his invention. Although they have made no public statement on the subject, it appears that as a matter of policy, the US Patent office does not issue patents for cold fusion/LENR inventions.
For years, people who have applied for cold fusion patents have received the same information back from the U.S. Patent office: a copy of a New York Times article explaining that cold fusion does not work, and a copy of a statement by MIT professors stating that they could not replicate Pons and Fleischmann’s cold fusion claims.
Since Andrea Rossi is seeking for patent approval in the United States this policy will have to change before E-Cat devices appear on the mass market ly– and this will surely be the case for anyone who seeks patent protection for any similar device.
How is such an impasse broken? Most likely the decision makers in the patent office are subject to pressure from the prevailing opinion of the scientific community — and if that opinion were to change in favor of cold fusion, then we might see a thaw at the Patent Office. A change in sentiment would only come, however, if influential scientists were able to satisfactorily test and replicate some CF/LENR device.
Rossi has so far refused access to his E-Cat devices from curious scientists apparently fearing that people are out to steal his ideas — but he does seem happy to allow his customers to allow outside testers to examine the 1 MW plants if they so desire. We are still waiting for a non-secretive customer to step forward and announce that they have purchased an E-Cat plant, however. It will be big news when someone does so.
Another approach that some are recommending is to have political pressure applied to the patent office. On Andrea Rossi’s Journal of Nuclear Physics site, a reader, Bernie Koppenhoffer, makes this suggestion:
To all people interested in LENR and what it can do for our world:
I sent the following email to my Federal government Representatives please add or delete your own thoughts on the subject, but please write you Representatives.
There is a preposterous situation occurring within our government that I hope your leadership can correct. Our Patent office refuses to grant patents for LENR reactors because it is their position LENR is impossible. LENR has been demonstrated in hundreds of experiments by many scientists around the world. In fact, Mr. Andrea Rossi has demonstrated his reactor many times and it has now been demonstrated the reaction can be reproduced from his patent application. This bureaucratic or purposeful obstruction is stalling a revolutionary energy source the world desperately needs. Your leadership is required now to remedy the above situation and to put LENR patents on a fast track. Thank you.”
It’s possible that such an approach could have an effect. If you can convince people in positions of influence that LENR is real, they may be able to generate enough pressure to change some minds, especially if there develops a strong public movement in favor.
It seems a shame that a technology that holds so much promise for people of the world should face such institutional obstacles — but this has often been the case with scientific and technological breakthroughs throughout history. Perhaps 2012 will be the year when the barriers to cold fusion will finally break down.