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Aspirational Patents

Chengdu: work site

Received a parcel from the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China this week – for a granted patent on fuel cell payment (the US filing of the same patent is here). Most patent agencies send an email or terse note when a patent is granted, this was a nicely bound, officially stamped document – elevating the glamorous/sordid (delete as appropriate) patent process into something aspirational. An unsurprising goal in a country with probably the world’s most laissez faire intellectual property environment.

It’s not uncommon for inventors to not recognise their own patents once they’ve gone through legalese, what does this patent cover? it enables someone with a fuel cell equipped device to use a compatible public fuel cell station to top up said device, ensure the right amount of the right fuel is transferred and automatically settle payment. There are many reasons why consumer fuel cells are not going to be mainstream anytime soon, but as and when they do the the charging (and payment) process will be reduced from tens of minutes to seconds.

Delve into the patent databases EU, US.