Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mr R C Kennell
Decision date
22 December 2008
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Geoffrey Robinson
Provisions discussed
PA 1977 sections 1(1)(c), 1(2)(a), 4, 14(3)
Industrial application, Sufficiency
Related Decisions


The application claimed a more accurate way of determining the velocity of a remote object, based on a new relativistic effect which could account for anomalies in the Doppler data from the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft. The examiner considered that the invention could not be made or used, or sufficiently disclosed for its performance to be possible, because it contravened Einstein’s theory of special relativity. Agreeing, and applying the test in BlackLight Power Inc [2008] EWHC 2763, the hearing officer held that there was (1) a substantial doubt about the validity of the underlying theory and (2) no reasonable prospect that a full investigation with the benefit of expert evidence would find it to be valid. He accepted that the applicant might have found a new way to derive the known relativistic equations for Doppler shift, but pointed out that under section 1(2)(a) this would not be patentable. Application refused.

Full decision O/336/08 PDF document98Kb