reporting on leading-edge energy research and
July 10, 2008 -- Issue #29
ISSUE #29 is available online at http://www.newenergytimes.com/news/2008/NET29-8dd54geg.htm
the Editor: Cold Fusion—The Value of Keeping an Open Mind
On the Assumption of E-Mail Privacy
International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science-14, August
Archive Back Online
Russian Conference on Cold Nuclear Transmutation and
the Archives: 1989 APS Special Sessions on Cold Fusion
ANALYSIS AND PERSPECTIVES
Sputnik? The Arata-Zhang Osaka University LENR Demonstration
the Hood: The Arata-Zhang Osaka University LENR Demonstration
News Coverage of Arata-Zhang Osaka University Demo
and Palladium Not Required
Publication and Replication Path
Power—Yesterday and Today
BlackLight Power Patent Mystery
Great Contributor to the CMNS Field: Hal Fox
AND ENERGY NEWS
15. The BlackLight Power Patent Mystery
By Steven B. Krivit
Published July 7, 2008, in New Energy Times Blog
[This article is Copyleft 2008 New Energy Times. Permission is
granted to reproduce this article as long as the article, this notice
and the publication information shown above are included in their
entirety and no changes are made to this article.]
May 28, BlackLight Power issued a press release: "The company has
successfully developed a prototype power system generating 50,000 watts
of thermal power on demand." This got quite a few New Energy Times readers talking about BlackLight's intellectual property.
BlackLight's Business Page gives the impression that the company owns a significant global portfolio of potentially valuable intellectual property.
Power has built an extensive patent portfolio worldwide related to its
power source, power systems, a new class of chemistry, new chemical
processes, new light sources, and new laser media," the BlackLight site
A mystery revolves around this alleged "extensive patent portfolio worldwide" of BlackLight Power, the brainchild of hydrogen-energy inventor Randell Mills.
Mills has two U.S. patents issued and assigned to BlackLight: 7,188,033 is for a computer software program, and 6,024,935, which issued on Feb. 15, 2000, is titled "Lower-Energy Hydrogen Methods and Structures.
On June 28, 2002, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed
the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's decision to withdraw a pending
BlackLight patent application. This matter caused quite a stir, but it
is a subject for another time.
Many New Energy Times readers who have closely followed BlackLight for years referred New Energy Times to a Web site called Rex Research. They said this Web site shows that BlackLight has been granted many patents in many countries.
The Web site is operated by Robert A. Nelson, who provides a most peculiar "Curriculum Vitaemin Supplementum." New Energy Times
spoke with Nelson; he does not claim to have scientific credentials but
has an interesting story to tell about the origin of Rex Research.
One day many years ago,
he was walking up Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, Calif., and he got the
idea that he could make a lot of money by manufacturing LSD. So he went
to the biochemistry library at University of California, Berkeley, to
learn how. He eventually learned but, more important, in the course of
doing so, he developed skills in scientific information research.
Nelson has a page dedicated to Mills' Hydrinos.
He devotes the top part of the page to Mills' U.S. patent #6,024,935.
The "Other References" - to "cold fusion” - are fascinating. This is an
interesting juxtaposition because news stories
about Mills include references to "cold fusion" as if "cold fusion"
were something entirely discredited and scientifically different from
Mills’ so-called “hydrino” technology.
Things begin to get strange farther down the Rex Research page, under the heading "European Patent Office List of BlackLight Power Patents." Nelson evidently has mistaken patent applications and Patent Cooperation Treaty/World Intellectual Property Organization applications for issued patents. They are not the same.
has BlackLight not corrected the significant mischaracterizations of
its patent portfolio that appear on the Rex Research Web site?
Specifically, many items are inaccurately labeled patents rather than patent applications. The listings of so-called patents on that Web site include dozens of such errors.
On March 14, BlackLight suffered a setback in the United Kingdom when one of its patent applications was rejected at the conclusion of an appeals process within the U.K. patent office.
Another U.K. patent rejection resulted in a hearing on April 17.
Hearing Officer P. Marchant found BlackLight's evidence for independent
laboratory verification weak, and Marchant was not willing to rely,
alternatively, on Mill's theory for substantive evidence for the
Of 114 papers
provided as references by BlackLight to Marchant, he identified 15
papers that met his initial criteria of “independent.” Marchant wrote
that much in the remaining 15 papers, "while there is no reason to
doubt the work or views represented, ... cannot be considered entirely
The July 10 issue of New Energy Times will discuss the matter of Backlight's independent validations in more detail.
As New Energy Times said in Special Report on Bubble Fusion/Sonofusion,
the work of Purdue University professor Rusi Taleyarkhan, the matter of
independence is a delicate yet crucial issue in science.
nuclear reaction researcher Edmund Storms, formerly with Los Alamos
National Laboratory and now working with Brian Scanlan of KivaLabs of
Greenwich, CT, offered an explanation for the BlackLight rejection.
reading the decision of the patent examiner," Storms wrote, "my
impression is that the patent was rejected for good reason. The
rejection argument is not that the theory is wrong but that Mills is
trying to patent a theory and its application to calculating electron
“This would be like having
a patent for using the Laws of Thermodynamics to calculate reaction
energies. Imagine having to pay a fee to the patent holder each time a
person attempted to use the patented methods. It is my understanding
that a theory cannot be patented. Why do people keep trying? Patents
are granted when a theory is reduced to practice in the form of a
Now about the
"extensive patent portfolio worldwide" mentioned on the BlackLight
site. The European Patent Office search engine lists 174 results for "mills and randell" as the applicant or inventor. Those which New Energy Times checked were not issued patents. They were merely Patent Cooperation Treaty/World Intellectual Property Organization patent applications - in other words, patents pending.
The distinction is crucial from a business and financial perspective. Patent applications have nowhere near the potential value, particularly for licensing purposes, of issued patents.
Intellectual property licensees rarely provide significant funding or
make royalty agreements with another company on the basis of patents
that have not issued.
BlackLight site also states, "The process, systems, and compositions of
matter are covered by patents pending and issued in dozens of
The language in this statement is curious. A pending patent provides no protection of any intellectual property rights unless and until a patent is issued. It is the act of issuing a patent
that confers value on it. Its granting and issuance by a government
patent office creates the possibility of realizing financial value from
it as proprietary intellectual property.
"Business Overview" refers to "patents issued in U.S. and abroad." Yet
the BlackLight Web site does not show any of these claimed patents,
leaving readers to wonder exactly what composes BlackLight's worldwide
portfolio of issued patents.
We went to the source.
But first we listened Mills' statements on a May 6, 2006, radio interview.
In this interview, Mills explained that one of the biggest problems he
and his company faced is the matter of disbelief. "Too good to be true"
is the mental hurdle that Mills said he must often overcome with
respond to that," Mills said, "we've published over 65 journal
articles, we've presented over 50 presentations at international
scientific meetings, we've built prototypes, we have 50 independent
validation reports [and] we have demonstration devices here running."
At the end of the interview, Mills makes a warm and open invitation to the public to visit BlackLight.
terms of helping us, if you're in business or you're in science, either
pass the word, come in - contact us - come in here, measure this, get
involved with it, or pass it on to someone else who is in business or
in science and tell them to take a look at our Web page and tell them
to come on down and measure it for themselves."
New Energy Times contacted BlackLight to arrange a visit.
eventually heard back from Mills and his associate Michael Sabel. No,
they were not interested in scheduling an on-site visit with New Energy Times. Sabel told New Energy Times on
June 12 that they were interested in meeting with companies wanting to
perform "due diligence," implying that they were only interested in
hosting visits to companies interested in investing in BlackLight or
perhaps licensing some of its proprietary intellectual property.
New Energy Times learned that CNN/Money
visited BlackLight about three weeks ago and wrote a story last week
which includes a photo of Mills holding one of his demonstration
In the CNN/Money interview,
Mills complained to journalist Mina Klimes that people are "spreading
disinformation on the Web." This is ironic because, in the radio
interview, Mills suggests that people wanting to know more about the
technology should go to the BlackLight Web page and because one of the
most popular fan sites of BlackLight is mischaracterizing BlackLight's
Back to the matter at hand: With all of these questions about issued versus pending patents,
we decided to inquire at the source. We sent an e-mail to Sabel on July
2, and after not receiving any response the next day, we sent a second
e-mail to Sable and Mills.
e-mails, we asked whether there are any other issued BlackLight patents
besides 7,188,033 and 6,024,935. As of noon July 7, we received no
Also on July 7, New Energy Times
called the BlackLight offices. We spoke with a staffperson in Mills'
office. Mills was unavailable for the remainder of the day, and Sabel
wasn't available until July 10.
Intellectual property matters aside, New Energy Times
has reason to believe that some legitimate science and potential
technology probably is behind Mill's and BlackLight Power's work; see
our forthcoming article in issue #29 on July 10.
Bob Park, the inimitable former spokesman for the American Physical Society has been less charitable. In his July 4 "What's New,"
he raises similar questions about BlackLight's so-called extensive
worldwide intellectual property holdings and called them a "Hydrino
[Also, I strongly recommend reding the article by
By Jones Beene: "BlackLight Power—Yesterday and Today", no. 14 in the content list above, and the next one by Peter Gluck (no. 16) dedicated to Hal Fox - Vlad].