fuel cell and hydrogen production - patent related question -any attorney???

Discussion in 'Hybrid' started by oceandreams, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. oceandreams
    Joined: Nov 2010
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    oceandreams Junior Member

    Hello all, newbie here with some questions.

    Getting a small inheritance and was thinking about buying a boat. After doing some research and seeing what is capable wit regeneration, solar, and wind I started doing some research on fuel cells.

    What I came up with is a system almost identical to one that was posted about here in 2005 and patented.

    http://www.hbmarine.com/media/downlo... 3Feb10b.pdf

    the actual patent is here:

    http://www.hbmarine.com/media/download_gallery/HBMarinePatent.pdf



    Not to take anything away from a brilliant idea someone had 8years or more prior to me thinking about a boat, but the patent to me is ridiculous. It is all based off of others products. Wind, solar, electric motors, hydrogen storage, even the hydrogen generators are off the shelf plug in. Desalination systems have been in ships for years, so that's nothing new. A 1kw fuel cell can be had for $4000 (fuelcellstore.com). Others have been installing hybrid wind/solar etc systems in homes and boats for years. Now someone grants a patent and I can't buy a cell stack, hydrogen generator, etc, and hook it up to the ships water supply? But I could by a car stereo, speakers, and amp from a manufacturer, put my shingle out and charge for the stereo and installation no problem....??????

    I'm not looking to be a large company.... just had a epiphany about being self employed and working from my boat, selling and doing conversions of boats.

    Of course their is always the option of paying a royalty, just think it may push the price over....these systems are doable around $20-25K (prob less) in my very early estimate for refit using products readily available. Biggest issues are producing or storing enough hydrogen at reasonable cost for use on those odd windless overcast days.

    The technology is rapidly becoming a reality, from a lot of companies, and I know I can do this myself.

    To put is simply, what are the odds of this patent being overturned if challenged, or can you challenge once it's been approved (patent was issued in 2003)?
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
  2. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    What was your question?
     
  3. oceandreams
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    oceandreams Junior Member

    moved to top
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  4. oceandreams
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    oceandreams Junior Member


    sorry about that, i hit enter accidentally..... didn't see a delete button :)
     
  5. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Ocean,

    I do not do a lot of intellectual property law, but I have an attorney I have worked with before that specialized in it. If you are serious about trying to overturn a patent it is possible, and I would be happy to speak with you in detail about the process. However I would charge at least a $5,000 retainer to investigate if this specific patent is challengeable, and to provide a report on the expected litigation cost to successfully challenge it if you choose to go that route.

    Greg Rubin Esq.
     
  6. oceandreams
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    oceandreams Junior Member

    At this point no, unless it looked like an obvious no brainer. Though I would be curious as to what one could estimate as a reasonable minimum to fight something like this? $50K, 500K?

    Looking at their website they obviously have spent some time and money. With my shoestring budget it may be in my best interests to find common ground and come to some sort of reasonable terms regarding royalties. After all we did both have the same brilliant :confused: idea. Besides what I would need to spend advertising any business my be better of spent attaching my name with a larger more visible company.

    Thank you for your offer, I will keep it in mind if necessary.
     
  7. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Ocean,

    What it woud cost to fight a patent is a direct function of the quality with which the patent was drawn originally, the use it has been put too since inception, the degree of existing encroachment on the patent, and an estimate of what it would cost to buy it outright. Basically it is a complexed question that would take a significant amount of research to determine (this is what the initial retainer would be for). Then you have the cost of trying to over turn it.

    Costs to overturn a patent can be as little as a few hundred dollars, for instance there was a patent granted on how to swing on a swing set that when challenged the judge litterly laughed out of court. On the other hand Apple Computers spend millions trying to overturn a patent and couldn't forcing them to now spend 650 million in damages( still on apeal though).

    My advice is if you can't or don't want to fight it try to license the technology and pay royalties. They usually aren't that much per item.
     
  8. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    Looking at the HBMarine website I see nothing even remotely patent worthy.

    BUT: If you buy a suitcase, put your shirts left, your pants right and fix your socks with Velcro, you have developed a system for easy dressing in the dark and can probably get it patented although you simply bought all the components. In court you wouldn't stand a chance of course, the same goes for most patents that are not linked to a true invention.
     
  9. oceandreams
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    oceandreams Junior Member

    What did you think of the actual patent??
     
  10. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    Ocean, my computer says that the server at hbmarine.com cannot locate the document!
    Can you upload it here as an attachment?
     
  11. oceandreams
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    oceandreams Junior Member

    Attached Files:

  12. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    Nothing new here, just they using it on a boat.In the patent search/dispute, the question would be is this the first time someone came up with this. Just add a new component like a solar powered preheater and laugh at the patent.
     
  13. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer


  14. aranda1984
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    aranda1984 aranda1984

    About fuel cells and Hydrogen in general

    Using hydrogen instead of "polluting, dirty foreign oil" is a dream on paper. (If I may say so.)

    I spent a considerable time on behalf of two clients to do some experiments in ethanol production and hydrogen/oxigen generation.

    Just some points:

    Even if you can produce hydrogen inexpensively (solar, wind, tidal power etc.) storing the hydrogen is quite difficult.

    Producing hydrogen onboard on any vehicle is very expensive and even more difficult.
    The so called "fuel cells" are very expensive. basically cost prohibitive at this time.

    Producing ethanol from corn and use it in fuel cells is not so environmentally friendly as it sounds... and it is expensive. (Not to mention that it will screw up the prices of feed corn as it did already!)

    Producing hydrogen at some far away plant is also expensive and there is the problem of compressing, storage, shipping etc...

    Hydrogen itself in an internal combustion engine has a lot less energy then the same displacement engine with gasoline or diesel.
    The explosion time of the H2O mix is so much faster, it is very inefficient.
    The dream of having non polluting water for exhaust is like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
    This is when the old steam engine comparison comes in handy!
    You had the full pressure of the expanding steam during the entire power stroke, that gave you incredible power, while the explosion of the H2O is over as soon as it started. The flame propagation (if my memory is right) is somewhere around 30 000 times (?!) faster then that of the gasoline!

    So, while we had full power stroke on steam, around 40 mS (!?) on gasoline, I can't recall diesel, but it must be longer then 40 mS. (I also forgot the explosion time of the H2O mix, but it is very short compared to gasoline as the flame propagation suggests!)
    (About 20 years ago, I was working on a nail gun prototype, the explosion time was 4 mS. That was with slower burning MAP gas.)

    Another problem, hydrogen embrittlement can happen is cast iron engine blocks...
    Many of these converted engines have a tendency to blow the top off...

    The internet is full with people selling you conversion kits, guaranteeing you extra milage....
    It is also full of claims that you can drive an engine with H2O and use the electricity generated by the alternator to run the onboard H2O generator, to run the engine... to run the vehicle .. and generate H2O to run the engine...to run the vehicle, so on and so forth...
    (I think I made my point...) )

    The real curve ball is that you could actually patent all this!

    Having "off the shelf" items in your invention is OK, as a matter of fact sometimes it is a good sales point for inexpensive and quick repair.
    You just need to use them in a unique way in a new idea and in a new application. That new twist, immediately makes the idea patentable!

    To finish my ramblings, using fuel cell on a boat is possible, but you have to win the power ball lottery first or you have to inherit a lot of money.
    Prototype fuel cell powered cars are priced in the millions at this time!

    Using hydrogen from tanks or generate it onboard... is another issue.

    ...With humble respect to all the creative people who come up with new ideas;

    Stephen I. M.
     
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