ad: BerryVille-1

Short Takes #25: The Hyper-Lightspeed Antenna

Discussion in 'Trials and Errors - Ham Life with an Amateur' started by W7DGJ, Mar 22, 2024.

ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: abrind-2
ad: L-MFJ
ad: Left-2
ad: Left-3
  1. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    In Short Takes #25, Dave debugs a patented design for a new antenna. It's an amazing technology . . . sending RF into another dimension? Wow. What were patent examiners smoking back in 1970? Read the article here, and use this forum discussion to add commentary to this or to the short recap of a 1971 mishap with our Emergency Broadcast System.
  2. KL7KN

    KL7KN Ham Member QRZ Page

    (Emergency Broadcast System - Wikipedia)
    Money quote on the 1971 blunder
    "This false alarm demonstrated major flaws in the practical implementation of an EAN.[10] Many stations didn't receive the alert but more importantly, those that did either ignored it (convinced it was false because it came at the time of a scheduled test), canceled the EAN prematurely with or without any coded indication that the alert was erroneous,[10] or didn't have EAN procedure documents readily accessible to them, so they had no indication of what to do.[9] It is estimated that only 20% of the stations that received the activation followed the procedures completely.[5] Several stations went off the air, as they were instructed to do. Recordings from stations that did not (and are not supposed to according to EAN procedures) include one from WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for which a recording of the EAN activation exists.[11]"
    I'd be hard pressed to remember such a blunder by the alert system. I was living in Tucson, AZ at the time - anyone would have known it was a fluke as nothing from the 18 active Titian missile silos surrounding Tucson had launched (390th Strategic Missile Wing @ D-M AFB ). Those missiles were codded as a First Flush in the event an attack was detected/confirmed via NORAD.


    As for the faster than light 'antenna', one might speculate it was the product of a bad AI pass. Back then, who knows? -- a possible scam or simply a couple of drunk physics students...YMMV.

    However, the 'antenna' part aside FTL communication is not only possible, it has already been done.

    (How Can Quantum Entanglement Be Used For Secure Communication? (
    Money quote:
    "The French physicist Serge Haroche, one of the winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics for trapping and manipulating individual particles while preserving their quantum nature, was interviewed in October 2022 in El Pais. When asked the question what Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger’s joint 2022 Nobel Prize win for “experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science, means for quantum communication, his answer was expectantly informative:

    “[…] Basic features of entanglement have been explored for 40 years, trying to demonstrate what happens when photons remain connected by that immaterial link called entanglement even when they’re kilometers away. At that time there was no application for that experiment. It took 20 years until experiments like ours showed that it’s possible to manipulate isolated quantum systems. Now, quantum communication has become very fashionable and has been improved. Now people will believe that it could be useful for something.”

    Fun stuff, eh?

    Currently, the Entanglement is mostly with photons, but work continues apace with other particles that might find use for encrypted communication. FedGov = Big Bucks for the researchers. I doubt this would find its way to the Hobby level of communications, and in any case, [47 CFR § 97.113 - Prohibited transmissions] would likely come into play.

    Good find on the loony patent application.
    W7DGJ likes this.
  3. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, you got snookered.

    The patent's independent claim 1 cites "faster than a known speed of light".

    What's in a word? Well 'a' allows all kindza nonsense. In fact the speed of light is the speed of light . But 'A" speed of light is well, lots of things. For example, the speed of light in a lens is not the same as the speed of light in vacuo. It's slower. So the speed of light in vacuo is FASTER than 'a' speed of light thru a lens.

    But, even so, the patent should never have issued because it failed the requirement of "enablement".
    W7DGJ likes this.
  4. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    A few days before 04/01... good one!
    W7DGJ likes this.
  5. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Except it’s true!
  6. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sounds like there are many ways to “broaden” your application simply by your choice of words. Dave
  7. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    The objective is to get issued claims allowed. Whether that amounts to a device that works as the INTERPRETATION one is led to--and we were, in fact, led-- is a different story. The specification is BS; it is only important in the sense that the claims MAP to some content in the specification. The rest is persiflage of reality.

    Words count first and last in patent law.

    This is a patent lawyer trick ("A" known speed of light) , a 'hail mary', to get SOMETHING out of the patent application.

    As you surmised properly, the 'something' was 'nothing'.

    I have no idea why enablement was not required here. Have to look at the patent wrapper. BUT my interest in pseudo science is rather limited so I will pass:)

    Chip W1YW
    W7DGJ likes this.
  8. W3DBK

    W3DBK Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is quite a strange patent. In order to understand how it came about, one would need to have the “prosecution history” or “file wrapper” that documents the back-and-forth between the attorney and the examiner.

    The independent claims 1, 13, and 18 include a "thereby" clause that specifies transmission greater than the speed of light. Presumably, this limits the breadth of the claim – thus these claims would seem to apply only to methods and apparatus that indeed cause propagation greater than the speed of light. The claims are essentially worthless.

    Here is where the file wrapper comes in: Was this limitation in the original set of claims as submitted initially, or was it added during prosecution to work-around a rejection by the examiner? This is important because of “prosecution history estoppel,” which holds that once a claim is limited by narrowing it in response to an examiners rejection, the turf given up by narrowing the claim cannot be reclaimed at a later date. BTW – adding just about any word to a claim narrows the claim, and therefore decreases its value.

    Independent claim 25 (for an improved antenna) is incredibly narrow, and could be designed-around with hardly any thought at all. Independent method claim 30 is more conventional (in a legalistic sense). But, as Chip noted, there could well be a question of enablement.

    I noticed that the attorney, Rick Martin (SK), had a degree in industrial engineering rather than EE or physics. Would it be unfair to suggest that this attorney did not understand the technology? But according to his bio, he had been a USPTO examiner before going into private practice. If so, he would likely know every trick in the book on how to respond to another examiner’s rejections, and work something, anything, through to an issued patent, no matter how worthless or absurd the resulting patent might ultimately be, even if he didn't know the technology.

    The inventor seems to be independent, i.e. not affiliated with a larger entity like MIT or General Electric. I know at least 50 serious patent attorneys, and none of them would even consider handling a case such as this one from an independent inventor. One reason – which may not apply in this particular instance – is that independent inventors are notorious for stiffing their attorneys on paying their fees (which can be quite high). Another reason is that a patent like this makes everyone look bad, especially the examiner and the attorney. In general – again which may not apply to this specific case – independent inventors are often thought to be crackpots.

    So, my guess is that this is just a “vanity patent” for the inventor, a few bucks for the attorney, and a “count” for the examiner, none of which is to be taken seriously. No harm, no foul, except to the reputations of the inventor, attorney, and examiner.

    About “a speed of light” rather than “the speed of light” – I wouldn’t read too much into this without seeing the prosecution history. Some examiners will call-out an attorney who uses the definite “the” to introduce an element in a claim before having introduced it using the indefinite “a.” “The speed of light? What speed of light, you didn’t say anything about a speed of light.” And so forth. This is unclear, unless you accept the speed of light as an inherent property of light (which it is, at least according to the physics I took when dinosaurs still roamed the earth). Moreover, the specification of the patent doesn’t give any hint that any speed of light is under consideration other than the well-known physical constant.

    73 -- David -- W3DBK
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2024
    N2WPT, W7DGJ and W1YW like this.
  9. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Speed of light is different in different mediums. That's all.
    W7DGJ likes this.
  10. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi David,

    Most people don't realize that being a patent examiner is a common path to becoming a patent attorney:) This is because patent examiners go to law school for free while employed at the USPTO.

    More trivia for all (which Dave knows well, I am sure)-- you don't have to be an attorney to file patents with the USPTO. You can pass the 'patent bar' by test and become an RPA. Furthermore the patent office is its own 'law' and 'bar' for prosecuting patents. Another gem: did you know that if a 'state' is the holder of the patent, then that state's court can decide in patent disputes (this comes up often with state universities)? Patent examiners cannot themselves file for patents, thereby giving up a right given to everyone else. Final silliness: look up "juristic entity" as my favorite dummy way of saying something simple;-)

    Everyone thinks the patent office is broken, but often with differing and opposing desires and points of view. SO much for consensus for a fix.

    Full disclosure: I am not a patent attorney and have not taken the test to be an RPA. But I have taken an RPA course and have 93 US patents issued. I write my own claims most of the time.

    Also, being an old and experienced doobie, I ran for Patent Board in 2022. But, as usual, they chose an attorney who had no patents to his or her name. Last time I cheked, there are NO independent inventors on the Patent Board. Lawyers lawyers lawyers, academics. Corporate(large) and university reps. 'Consultants' to same. Little guy? What's that?

    Not ALL of us 'indies' are crackpots... ;-) Granted, if you've read the nonsense on the internet over the last 30 years, there's a lot of WISHING I was!

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2024
    KA0HCP, NN4RH and W7DGJ like this.
  11. W3DBK

    W3DBK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi, Chip -- I enjoyed reading your post. I became a registered patent agent in 1998 (research engineer before that), and worked in IP law until I retired in 2008. Interestingly enough, a patent agent is not allowed to call himself an "attorney," even though the US Supreme Court has ruled (Sperry v. Florida) that a patent agent indeed practices law. Much of my responsibility was supervisory, but I spent about 5 years in hand-to-hand combat with patent examiners. Working directly with the USPTO is really not much fun.

    The question of patent office standards ebbs and flows. One Commissioner ( IIRC, and I'm not certain it was he, Q.Todd Dickinson) told the corps of examiners something like "we are the patent office, not the rejection office," at which point getting claims thru the office became much easier. With new commissioners since, the bar has risen and fallen year-by-year, or so it seemed before I retired. In my opinion, one of the worst moves was to appoint IBM's David Kappos as commissioner. I could say a lot more about this, but probably shouldn't, at least in writing.

    About crackpots -- in the opinion of this 76-year-old-goat, you are an exceptionally talented person and a marvelous inventor, the furthest thing possible from a crackpot!

    All the best -- David, W3DBK
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2024
    W7DGJ likes this.
  12. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Much obliged for your high compliment!

    I have nothing but praise for RPA's and patent attorneys, overall. You (both) have something I do not have (talent assumed BTW): patience. I have acquired a fair amount of empathy and diplomacy but patience is lacking here. Persistence-- well, mountains of it.

    The irony of all this--as I bet you at least suspect-- is that we are about to enter a golden age for invention for 'indies'. I am giving a talk (part introductory, part 'vision')later this year, which encapsulates that sentiment, and here is a summary. Note that I am hardly the only person with these sentinments: I do not claim uniqueness--

    RF Invention with the Pleasures and Perils of AI

    Nathan Cohen, Ph.D.


    Artificial intelligence (AI) bodes unique changes to the way problems are approached and solved. Historically, in RF electronics, this role has foundations from almost a quarter century ago by the author and his team, who optimized ‘fractal structure circuits’ and antennas with the use of massive parallel processing, a key component in AI. Starting briefly with this foundation work, the benefits of AI , and its limitations, will be described, delineated in categories of universal search ; data base harvesting; optimization; and direction extension (such as ‘fractal genetic learning’), AI ‘s present bottleneck is extant access to engines driving these categories. We envision an era of AI software ‘plug ins’ to replace extant optimization and simulation engines that are isolated and human-driven. On- board PC massive parallel processing will signal the advent beyond this bottleneck.

    A golden age of innovation and invention may well occur in the near future, with AI undertaking the many tasks previously shared amongst many in invention teams. As such, individual inventors will no longer be hampered by time frames and lack of access to expensive human and hardware resources and may undertake innovations solely by their individual efforts.

    In electronics this will result in inexpensive ‘niche’ software- driven circuitry which may be embodied as integrated circuit chips rather than general processor configurations presently employed. This will drive down the cost and enable a universal application of software to hardware systems—wirelessly. Such cheap systems will drive devices to higher energy efficiency and universal control, driven by RF links, billions of devices so anticipated. For example, while some fraction of motors and control systems (M2M) are now wirelessly monitored,all will be ultimately be under RF wireless control, with devices created through AI, monitored and commanded through AI. This effort goes far beyond the inchoate stages of doorbell cameras and smart thermostats, for example. The magnitude of enablement may be viewed analogously to electric vehicles, first implemented as golf carts and now becoming road-ubiquitous.

    The peril of 'who is in control' is, unfortunately, ultimately real with AI. "Skynet" is more likely than mere fiction. How we prevent that is up to us and how we see AI and impart to it a sense of ethics with self awareness. Those decisions will need to be made sooner than later.


    You should actually see less wacko indie inventor silliness in the future, because the silliness so entailed will be self corrected (whether they want it to or not) by their use of AI tools. IOW they will depend on the tool(s) and will have to deal with the limitations set by natural reality, as presented by AI ;-)

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2024
    W7DGJ and W3DBK like this.
  13. NC6RJ

    NC6RJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was a student studio engineer on duty with an announcer that morning at WBAA, the Purdue University AM station in West Lafayette, IN. As I remember it, EBS test messages were sent out at the same time every Saturday morning via TTY to all broadcast stations. At our station it was the announcer's job to fetch the printout from the teletype machine and bring it to the control room where it would be noted and added to the station log. On this morning he came into the control room with the message and a very quizzical look on his face, "This doesn't look like a test!" We both agreed the message looked like the real thing, so we got out the sealed envelope that contained the emergency codewords, opened it, and compared them to the message. My memory is that it matched, confirming a real alert. The only thing that seemed suspicious was that it had been sent out at exactly the same time as the usual weekly test: was it an accidental message swap, or a very cleverly coordinated attack?

    In our case executing an EBS alert meant broadcasting a message directing listeners to tune to one of the designated regional EBS clear channel stations and then shutting down our transmitter. But before we started the process, the announcer and I called our respective managers at home, who directed us to do an air-check of the regional EBS station to confirm that they were running the alert. But when we listened we discovered they were still running their normal programming, adding to the confusion.

    It was about this time that we started to receive the first TTY attempts to retract the alert, so management decided to hold off on pulling the trigger. After 45 minutes the alert was officially over - but my memory is that it took a few more hours after that to clear out the adrenaline...

    - Richard, NC6RJ
    W7DGJ likes this.
  14. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you Richard, so helpful. Very nice to have your additional info on that strange day. Human error . . . wow, can it be damaging. This situation could have been so much worse. Dave, W7DGJ
    NC6RJ likes this.
  15. KW4TI

    KW4TI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Patent examiners generally don't weigh in on the feasibility on an invention. Certain classes (like perpetual motion machines) have been categorically excluded as impossible and therefore unpatentable. The supposition is that an invention is patented, but inoperable or even impossible as described, then presumably it does not claim anything that is practically useful and therefore has no value if copied or infringed upon. One is free to pay to have worthless ideas patented, like antennas with highly dubious claims about their performance, but unless the claims actually describe a useful invention, then the inventor is just wasting time and money by patenting the "invention."

    Patent examiners are more concerned with identifying prior art that the claims cover, whether or not the invention is an obvious combination of other inventions, and whether the disclosure of the invention actually describes all of the claimed inventions. In reality, you can get almost anything patented by twisting and contorting the claims enough, but these claims probably won't stand up in court if these are used to sue for infringement. Patent prosecution and litigation is so outrageously expensive, even compared to ordinary legal costs, that frequently cross-licensing of patent pools is done to prevent the mutually assured destruction of litigation.

    W7DGJ likes this.

Share This Page

ad: chuckmartin