Publication of a further, 3rd, International Patent Application by Francisco Piantelli – Part I

The following is a further posting in a series of articles by David French, a patent attorney with 35 years experience, which will review patents of interest touching on the field of Cold Fusion.

This will be a two-part outline of a recently published patent application originating from Francesco Piantelli. The first part will address the content of the disclosure of the application. The second part to follow shortly will address the scope of patent coverage apparently being sought.

The two prior Piantelli PCT applications

A third International Patent Application has been published naming Francisco Piantelli as an inventor. The first occurred in 1995 as International Application PCT/IT95/00008 entitled: Energy Generation and Generator by Means of Anharmonic Stimulated Fusion, filed August 3, 1995. This application was assigned to Francesco Piantelli, Sergio Focardi and Roberto Habel. The application addressed the fusion of hydrogen and deuterium absorbed on a metallic core that has been heated to above the Debye temperature for the core. The reaction in this disclosure is initiated by vibration and maintained by “a coherent multimodal system of stationary oscillations.” The 1995 International Application was eventually abandoned without issuing to a patent.

Notwithstanding the abandonment of this filing, these three individuals, or at least Piantelli and Focardi, should probably be credited with having pioneered research into nickel-hydrogen systems as a source of LENR effects.

A second application appeared in the Patent Cooperation Treaty system – PCT in 2010. This second application was addressed in an earlier posting of ColdFusionNow. The corresponding Canadian national entry filing to this PCT filing is available here.

The present, third, Piantelli PCT application

This present ColdFusionNow posting addresses the third International Application PCT/IB2012/052100 naming Piantelli as the sole inventor and published under the PCT on November 1, 2012 PCT. Key data on this filing obtained from the World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO PCT website is as follows:

International Application No.: PCT/IB2012/052100
Inventor: Francesco PIANTELLI
Assignees: Silvia PIANTELLI, Alessandro MEIARINI, Leonardo CIAMPOLI, and Fabio CHELLINI, all of Italy.
Title: Method and apparatus for generating energy by nuclear reactions of hydrogen adsorbed by orbital capture on a nanocrystalline structure of a metal
PCT filing date: April 26, 2012
Original Italian priority filing date: April 26, 2011
International classification : G21B3 – physics, nuclear physics/nuclear engineering, fusion reactors, low-temperature nuclear fusion reactors, e.g. alleged cold fusion reactors

Summary of the disclosure: Power is generated by contacting hydrogen with the surface of cluster-nanostructures, e.g. crystals, of a transition metal, at a determined process temperature, by which the following process occurs. An orbital capture reaction of negative hydrogen ions, H- ions, is effected by the clusters followed by a nuclear capture reaction by the atoms of the cluster which is triggered by impulsively acting on the primary material to generate heat (Q1). A secondary material such as Lithium and/or Boron and/or a transition metal such as 232Th, 236U, 239U, 239Pu is positioned within a predetermined distance from the clusters of the primary material facing the primary material. This secondary material interacts with energetic protons that are emitted by/from the primary material and release secondary reaction heat (Q2). This secondary heat is in addition to the primary reaction heat. The heat produced is regulated by adjusting the separation of secondary material from the primary material. (This summary is a paraphrasing of the Abstract accompanying the application.)

The drawings as published in association with this application may be found at the PCT website . While the text of the words of the patent disclosure are available through a hyperlink on the top of the primary PCT page through the link labeled “Description”, in order to see the drawings it is necessary to first link to “Documents” and then link to “Initial Publication with ISR” in order to view all of the Figures. It may be necessary to choose the “download” version in order to view the PDF document.

The actual process occurring by which heat is generated is described more fully in the disclosure accompanying the application and referenced as “Description”. It involves:

– on average there must be at least 109 clusters/crystals per square centimeter of surface
– hydrogen, interstitially adsorbed at the grain boundaries and microfractures of the clusters, are of no importance for the purposes of orbital capture of negative hydrogen ions
– in the course of hydrogen capture, the negative hydrogen ions are transformed into protons
– nucleus capture of a proton causes transmutation, e.g. nickel transmutes into copper
– protons which fail to be captured are expelled with an energy of 6.7 million electron volts, verified by cloud chamber experiments
– subsequent atomically re-emitted protons can react with the adjacent secondary material, e.g. lithium, to produce nuclear transformations, e.g. converting lithium into beryllium and/or releasing helium as alpha particles having energies on the order of 4 – 17 million electron volts
– re-emitted protons can also react with boron to produce beryllium, carbon and/or helium, releasing energy on the order of 1-16 million electron volts
– alpha particles may react with boron to produce nitrogen and 19 million electron volts of energy
– alpha particles may react with nickel to be transmuted into the zinc, releasing 3-5 million electron volts of energy
– the secondary nuclear reactions arising from re-emitted protons can generally double the amount of heat being produced over that arising from the initial proton capture
– the amount of energy arising from the secondary nuclear reaction can be varied/controlled by adjusting the separation gap between the primary and secondary materials

This Description is well worth reading.

It is to be appreciated that these are assertions that have been made by the applicants in this application and do not necessarily reflect what is actually able to occur in the host material. If the assertions of utility are untrue or the procedures for generating energy are insufficiently described, then no valid patent can issue from this application.

For example, the setup as described does not appear to be critically dependent on the degree of hydrogen loading in the primary transition metal. The closest reference appears to be: “The primary reactions, both internal and external, globally occur generating a primary reaction heat, which is the heat that can be obtained according to the method described in WO2010058288,” This is a reference to the second PCT application published in 2010. The procedures of that application are adopted by reference, which is permitted. That application addresses the hydrogen loading ratio in the following terms: “Advantageously, the concentration of H- ions with respect to the transition metal atoms of said clusters is larger than 0,01 , to improve the efficiency of the energy production process. In particular, this concentration is larger than 0,08.” Accordingly, neither of these two references teach the use of a metal substrate which has a substantial hydrogen loading ratio, e.g. on the order of 0.7:1 or higher, as an essential condition for an LENR event to occur.

Additionally, there is no discussion of the effect of the conduction band within the transition metal which forms the clusters. There are a number of clear questions of physics to consider when reviewing this disclosure.

This concludes Part I. Part II will address the scope of patent coverage that this application aspires to achieve.

New kid on the block? – Brillouin Energy Corp

The following is a further posting in a series of articles by David French, a patent attorney with 35 years experience, which will review patents of interest touching on the field of Cold Fusion.

April 23, 2012 –For some of us who have not been following the ColdFusion scene very carefully, Brillouin Energy Corp may seem like a new upstart. Actually, they have been around for some time. But they have now “come out” with a very complete and informative release that describes their initiatives, and reported “breakthrough” in the ColdFusion universe. Here is a summary description from Pure Energy Systems.  Their slogan is apparently: “Understanding how LENR works will enable us to be first!”

This website is very generous in explaining their theory for generating energy through a lattice assisted nuclear reaction – “LANR”. This theory is based upon electron capture with a twist. Coherent phonon waves within a host lattice created by pulsating electrical current provide energy levels in excess of the 782 KeV threshold needed to produce a neutron out of the combination of an electron and a proton. The accumulating neutrons eventually form 4H – “hydrogen 4” which is an entity I had never heard about. It is an atom that contains one proton and three neutrons. Apparently, once created hydrogen 4 can convert to 4He – “helium 4” with the emission of a beta particle and without releasing penetrating gamma ray radiation. Beta particles, high-speed electrons, are likely to be readily absorbed within a metal lattice and its surrounding containment; accordingly, they are not readily detected. They would certainly not represent a radiation hazard by themselves.

The website contains a generous dose of mathematics. I do not pretend to understand the physics, particularly the analysis of Hamiltonians. I am going to have to study that subject further. But there is a story in the patent applications that have been assigned to Brillouin at the US Patent Office, and in the corresponding applications filed elsewhere in the world.

Apparently, as early as December 29, 2005 the inventor Robert E. Godes initiated a first US Provisional patent application which has served as a priority document for a number of filings. The year later follow-on US non-provisional ran into trouble on the basis that it was directed to “Cold Fusion”. As is usual, the US Examiner issued a rejection which was subject to being withdrawn if the applicant could prove that the invention as described works, i.e. the invention delivers on its promise. Apparently Godes, then operating on behalf of Profusion Energy, Inc. of Alameda, California as the assignee/applicant, encountered continuing resistance. Fortunately, as this application was part of the US patent system, after having been rejected in this first application another filing was made in the form of a US “Continuation” application.

This procedure is virtually unique to US law. A properly-filed US Continuation application enjoys all of the filing dates of the earlier application upon which it is based. The consequence is that there is still a US patent application pending which dates back to 2005 and which, if supported by proof of utility, could have significant impact on the exploitation of LENR systems in America.

Meanwhile, the earlier US priority filing and the subsequent non-provisional application made a year later gave rise to a PCT filing. That PCT filing, in turn, has matured into filings in Europe, Japan and China. This PCT application probably contains “new matter” not included in the original priority filing, but at the same time probably parallels the content of the first and second US non-provisional filings. A comparison of the documents would have to be made to determine this issue properly.

Note that there are a large number of countries for which patents have not been filed for this technology. In all of these countries, the invention as described in the published US and PCT applications on or about September 6, 2007 is available for use without obligation. Publication has made this invention unpatentable in all countries where applications were not already pending.

There are actually two PCT filings that have been made naming Robert E. Godes as an inventor; only one apparently relating to cold fusion; the other apparently relates to solid-state electronics technology which may be collateral to cold fusion issues. This second application should also be checked to determine its relevance.

Note, this search summary of published applications focuses on cases naming Robert E. Godes as an inventor. It is possible that further Brillouin applications are pending in the names of other inventors. Also, one or more further filings by Godes could be pending but unpublished if they are still within the 18 month secrecy window.

Of the applications now in national entry status derived from the PCT filing, the European application is the one of most interest. Examination has been requested for this application but has not commenced.

Using the US claims as probably being exemplary of what this series of patents aspires to control, we can now examine Claim 1 to see what can and cannot be done, if and when a patent issues containing this claim, without seeking permission from Brillouin Energy Corp. Claim 1 reads as follows:

1. An apparatus for energy generation comprising:

a body, referred to as the core, of a material capable of phonon propagation;
a mechanism for introducing reactants into said core;
a source of current pulses for establishing current pulses through said core, said current pulses inducing phonons in said core so that reactants, when introduced into said core, undergo nuclear reactions; and
a closed loop control system, coupled to said mechanism

– for introducing reactants and to said source of current pulses,
– for specifying operating parameters of said mechanism for introducing reactants and of said source of current pulses,
– for sensing one or more operating conditions, and for modifying one or more operating parameters,

thereby controlling the number of nuclear reactions and the depth of the nuclear reactions in said core so as to provide a desired level of energy generation while allowing energy released due to the nuclear reactions to dissipate in a manner that substantially avoids destruction of said core.

One of the first observations that can be made is that this claim stipulates that the coherent sound waves, the phonons, are generated by establishing “current pulses through said core”. Apparently, sound waves created by a piezoelectric effect, magnetostriction and or applied electrostatic fields are not intended to be within the scope of these exclusive rights. This might get changed in the course of examination if the Brillouin patent attorneys reconsider this claim. But they can only enlarge its scope if there is support for the larger ideas in the final, non-provisional filing for this application. That is the way patent procedure works.

Otherwise the above claim is a pretty well-written claim. Notice that it does not rely on any sort of theory. It simply describes a procedure which the application represents will deliver a useful result. That is what patents and patent claims are all about. You do not patent a theory. You patent how to get to a useful result.

Nevertheless, the full disclosure in the patent document is very interesting as a source of guidance for a theory that might work. Even if the theory put forward in the application is not correct, the patent, and its claims, can still be valid if the instructions for producing a useful result are accurate.

This application has already gone through the US Patent Office once when it ran into trouble for failure to satisfy the Examiner that it describes how to achieve the useful result. On this second pass, a different outcome may occur, depending on the nature of the evidence that is filed to support the promises that are being made.

Special learning point: you should not promise much in a patent application. A patent disclosure is not a sales pitch. You should simply say, effectively: “The invention delivers some degree of useful result.”

In conclusion, the Pure Energy Systems article first referenced above contains an excellent outline of the theory that this company is apparently operating on. If they have managed to achieve reliable production of energy at the elevated temperatures that they represent in their website, they are going to have a breakthrough winner that should attract the attention of the world.

Pending PCT patent application by Randall Mills and Blacklight Power Inc. – Part 1


The following is a further posting in a series of articles by David French, a patent attorney with 35 years experience, which will review patents of interest touching on the field of Cold Fusion.

Pending PCT patent application by Randall Mills and Black Power Inc. – Part 1

December 12, 2011 –In response to my last posting I was sent a reference to the following PCT patent application: Electrochemical Hydrogen-Catalyst Power System  with the suggestion that I might comment on it.  That is the subject of this posting.

First, by way of review, a PCT application is a patent application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.  This is a system for processing applications.  It does not produce patents.  The PCT system allows a single application to be filed that will cover some 135 countries.  The filing remains as an application for a period up to 30 months.  After that, national patent filings must be made in individual countries.  But the 30 months buys time.

In this case, the application is directed to an invention by Dr Randall L. Mills of Blacklight Power, Inc. of Cranbury, New Jersey.  Randall Mills and Blacklight Power have been around for a long time, since at least as early as 1991.  Here’s a further commentary on both parties as found in Wikipedia.

This patent application is significant for two reasons that I will address in this post and in a following post.  It demonstrates further aspects of the patenting process, and it explores the prospects that the theories of Randall Mills are relevant to the phenomena of Cold Fusion.

Addressing the patent application, it should be appreciated that Randall Mills has a track record of filing for patents.  At the US patent office he is listed as having filed 40 applications since 2001.  The filings transcend energy issues and address pharmaceuticals and a variety of other inventions.  Clearly this person is a prolific inventor.

The immediate PCT application is interesting for several special reasons.  This is an application that is still within the PCT system.  It has not yet resulted in national filings before individual country patent offices.  At the same time, it is based on original American patent applications.  In fact, unusually, it is based on some 25 US filings listed under the title: “Priority Data:”.  Each of these US applications is “provisional”.  This is indicated by the use of the serial number that begins with “61/” (or “60/” in the past).

A Provisional US patent application entitles an applicant to claim the benefit of the priority accorded to its filing date for what is disclosed in the application.  This is useful in filing not only later applications in the United States but also in making patent applications in countries around the world.  Claiming a priority date gives an applicant an entitlement, a priority, over other inventors that might file for the same thing.  It also gives priority over publications that occur after the filing date which might otherwise bar the grant of the patent.  A priority filing “shelters” subsequent patent applications from the novelty-barring affects of post-priority date publications.

A priority filing date is only good for one year from the date of the earliest filing made.  It must be claimed and proven when national patent applications are filed.  A US Provisional application is useful primarily only to establish a priority date.  The US Provisional application becomes automatically abandoned after one year.  It must be replaced with a final, “Non-Provisional” application.  In this case, the PCT application represents such a Non-Provisional US application.  It also counts as an application in all participating countries around the world. To complete the procedures, individual “national entry” applications have to be made on exiting the PCT by month 30 or 31 from the earliest priority date.

What is unusual about this PCT filing is that it has so many provisional US applications listed on its cover.  Randall Mills and Black Power Inc. have repeatedly filed Provisional applications because, presumably, they are enhancing the story and wish to have credit, a filing date, for each new section that they’re adding to the disclosure.  These multiple filings usually reflect the growth of the applicants’ understanding of the invention in the course of its development. More typically, inventors simply file an initial application which is a Provisional, and then follow-up the Provisional with a final Non-Provisional application at the end of the priority year.  If an inventor has had no further thoughts on his invention during the priority year, then this is the proper course to follow.  Optionally filings can also be commenced directly with a Non-Provisional application.

The fact that so many Provisionals have been filed in this case probably represents both a developing understanding on the part of the inventor and the prospect that the applicant considers the invention to be very important.  Multiple priority filings are appropriate if there is a prospect that others may invent something similar.  Virtually all countries in the world award patents, in the case of competing applications, on the basis of the party having the earliest filing date.

In respect of this specific PCT application the earliest priority filing was made on July 30, 2010.  Preserving the right to claim priority, the PCT application was filed within one year of the 1st priority filing, namely on March 17, 2011.  There would not normally be an advantage in filing a PCT application earlier than the end of the priority year.  Why this PCT filing was made two thirds of the way through the priority year is unexplained.

The deadline to file in the individual countries is set by the earliest priority date.  That deadline is for many countries 30 months and for other countries 31 months after the earliest priority date.  That sets the 30 month national entry deadline, which applies to the United States, for this application as January 30, 2012.  Accordingly, we can expect that this further invention by Randall Mills will appear on a list of US filed patent applications shortly after January 30, 2012.

Under present circumstances, it is taking on the order of 2 to 3 years before the US examiner will take-up a US patent application and commence examination.  That process will begin with an examiner’s search report combined with a commentary by the examiner as to whether the patent disclosure, and particularly the claims, are in order so as to support the grant of a patent.  Applicants normally have at least one, or more typically several, opportunities to engage in exchanges with the examiner and make corrections that will allow the examiner to approve the application for issuance is a patent.  Conveniently, at the US Patent Office it is possible to monitor this applicant-examiner exchange over the Internet, once it occurs.  Following the exchange in this case could prove most interesting.

This concludes the 1st part of this posting.  The 2nd part, which will be posted subsequently, will address the relevance of this application to the ColdFusion story.  Summarizing shortly, this application purports to teach that electricity can be generated based on the phenomena of the formation of a shrunken hydrogen atom named by Randall Mills as a “hydrino”.  Mysteriously, this disclosure makes one short reference to the possibility that the formation of hydrino atoms can contribute to a fusion event.  More discussion to follow. 

To be continued.