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

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 is the second of a two-part outline of a recently published patent application originating from Francesco Piantelli. The first part addressed the content of the disclosure of the application. The second part addresses the scope of patent coverage apparently being sought.

Key patent coverage of the third PCT application claims

Every patent has to end with one or more “Claims” which stipulate the scope of control that the patent applicant aspires to achieve. These claims, appearing at the end of every patent document take the form of numbered sentences. Actually, each numbered passage is a phrase which completes a preamble such as: “I claim” or simply “Claims”. The first of the numbered claims always stands alone. Other claims may refer-back to an earlier claim and adopt the features and limitations included in the earlier claim. Accordingly, such dependent claims are “narrower” in scope than the earlier claims to which they refer. This makes the first claim more important.

An initial impression of the scope of coverage of a patent can be obtained by examining simply Claim 1 . In this case, Claim 1 reads as follows:

1. A method to obtain energy by nuclear reactions between hydrogen (31) and a transition metal (19 18 that go), said method including the steps of:

prearranging (1 10) a primary material (19) comprising a predetermined amount of cluster nanostructures (21) having a number of atoms (38) of said transition metal (19) lower than a predetermined number of atoms;

keeping said hydrogen (31) in contact with said clusters (21);

heating (130) said primary material (19) at an initial process temperature (T-i) higher than a predetermined critical temperature;

dissociation of H2 molecules of said hydrogen (31) and formation of H- ions (35) as a consequence of said step of heating;

impulsively acting (140) on said primary material (19);

orbital capture (150) of said H- ions (35) by said cluster nanostructures (21) as a consequence of said step (140) of impulsively acting;

capture (151) of said H- ions (35) by said atoms (38) of said clusters (21 ), generating a thermal power as a primary reaction heat (Qi);

removing (160) said thermal power, maintaining the temperature of the primary material (19) above said critical temperature,

characterised in that

it provides a step (1 15) of prearranging an amount of a secondary material (28) that faces said primary material (19) and within a predetermined maximum distance (L) from said primary material (19),

said secondary material (28) arranged to interact with protons (35″‘) emitted from said primary material (19) by energy-releasing proton-dependent nuclear reactions that occur with a release of further thermal power in the form of a secondary reaction heat (Q2),

such that said step of removing (160) comprises said generated thermal power as said primary reaction heat (Qi) and said secondary reaction heat (Q2).

[End of claim 1

The numbers shown in parentheses in the above claim are those used in the written description to explain the parts shown in the drawings. Further details of the invention are specified in the subsequent claims, most of which are in dependent form. These are all worth reading.

Claim 1 is written in a European style by which it is assumed that, generally, the description preceding the words “characterized in that” covers things or arrangement which were previously known. The claim as a whole must not describe anything that was previously known in order to meet the novelty requirement. This suggests that the very last paragraph following “characterized in that” provides the claim with its required degree of novelty. It would do so by ensuring that the overall wording of the entire claim does not describe anything that was previously available to the public. Effectively, this patent application is directed to the feature of producing energy by the secondary reaction.

Claim 1 is not in the final form that the applicant may choose to present to individual patent offices around the world, once the application exits the PCT system as of October 26, 2013. But it represents the thinking of the patent attorney presently managing this filing. Claim 1 may or may not describe a process that works. However, this claim can be analyzed for certain technical defects that may cause problems for the eventual owner of any patent that may issue.

Challenge of enforcing such a claim

In order for this claim to be infringed, the patent owner must demonstrate that other parties are contravening the wording of the claim. This means demonstrating that an alleged infringer is carrying out each and every step of the method listed in Claim 1. Unfortunately, this claim includes a number of limitations that might be very hard to prove. Examples are:

– the clusters must have a number of atoms of a transition metal e.g. nickel, that is lower than a predetermined number of atoms (This predetermined number, according to the disclosure, is established by the requirement that this is a number “above which the crystals lose the cluster features”. Nothing more is said as to the critical number of atoms per cluster. Accordingly, this stipulation may be inadequately defined in the patent and in the claim.)

– causing dissociation of H2 molecules to form H- ions as a consequence of heating (Note: nickel can cause the spontaneous dissociation of H2 molecules to form H- ions without heating) e.g.:

” Hydrogen molecules are also adsorbed on to the surface of the nickel. When this happens, the hydrogen molecules are broken into atoms. These can move around on the surface of the nickel.


– orbital capture of H- ions by the cluster nanostructures as a consequence of the step of “impulsively acting” on the clusters (“Impulsively acting” as defined in the disclosure means applying a voltage impulsively but not otherwise defined. This may be another instance of inadequate disclosure);

– capture (presumably nuclear) of the H- ions (presumably those that have already been orbitally captured) by the atoms of said clusters to thereby generate a primary reaction heat (How do you prove that this is occurring?)

– providing an amount of a secondary material, e.g. lithium or boron or a variety of alloys, that faces the primary material and is positioned within a predetermined maximum distance (L) (- defined in the disclosure as corresponding to the average free path that such protons can travel before decaying into atomic hydrogen, e.g between 7 and 8 cm) from said primary material,

– the above steps resulting in the secondary material interacting with protons emitted from said primary material by energy-releasing proton-dependent nuclear reactions that occur with a release of further secondary heat (How do you prove that heat is coming from two different sources?)

It should be apparent that proving that all of these events are occurring in an infringer’s accused energy-generation process may be difficult. This is quite apart from whether or not the above claim describes a process that will work.

This claim is equivalent to defining a recipe for baking cookies in terms of what happens in the oven. This is a very undesirable claim format.

Requirement for invention operability and sufficiency of disclosure

It is an essential requirement of any patent that the invention must work. Furthermore, the description accompanying the patent application must be sufficient to enable knowledgeable workmen to reproduce the invention and produce the promised useful result.

Within the confines of this posting, it is not practical to assess whether the disclosure in this application meets all of these requirements. But as an opening exercise, it will be seen that the premise behind this asserted invention is that proton capture followed by proton emission is at the heart of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction – LENR processes according to Francesco Piantelli.

Future processing of the application

This filing does not have to be presented to an Examiner at a national patent office until after exiting the PCT system. This must occur by month 30 or 31 from the original Italian priority filing date, e.g. by April-May 26, 2013. It is highly likely, and virtually certain before the USPTO, that the applicant will be required to demonstrate that the disclosure in this application delivers what it promises, i.e. heat generated through the process characterized by the above claim.

Apart from Claim 1, Claim 8 represents a separate, independent, characterization of the invention in terms of an apparatus that carries out the process of claim 1. That claim should be reviewed as well. Before national patent offices, the applicant will be entitled to amend these claims further, on the condition that the amended claims are still based upon the original “story” included in the disclosure that became frozen at the time that the PCT filing was made, i.e. April 26, 2011. Accordingly, there will be further interesting developments as this application progresses through the patent system in various countries around the world.

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.