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US 6,125,996 Reading claim 1 of this patent, it claims that the device has 2 plates that are attached together by means of a shaft and that both halves must rotate mutually around "said shaft", yet one of the halves is pinned to "said shaft":

  1. A body transfer device, this device comprising a multiplicity of plates (Ai, Bi) each supporting a body and which are coupled one after another in an endless curvilinear mobile chain with articulations suitable to allow the curvilinearity of said mobile chain and simultaneously the rotation of the plates around a horizontal axis so as to turn the bodies over or set them upright, characterized in that the plates supporting the bodies are coupled in the following way:

    the plates are joined in successive pairs (Ai, Bi) and the two plates (Ai, Bi) of each pair are coupled by a horizontal shaft (13) allowing the mutual rotation of the two plates around said shaft to turn the bodies (9) over or set them upright and, each of the two above-mentioned plates (Ai, Bi respectively) of a pair is coupled to another immediately adjacent plate belonging to a neighboring pair (Bi-1 Ai+1 respectively) in an articulated way around at least one vertical axis of rotation suitable to allow their mutual inclination around said vertical axis.

So how can this happen if according to the pictures and descriptions, there's only one bearing and the half that is attached to the shaft is rigidly fixed TO the shaft? If looking at the prior art, it looks like this already exists in the prior art and what they actually claim is not what they actually disclose?

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I see a short pin (13) as the "shaft" of the claims and I do not see where either A sub i or B sub i is described as rigidly fixed to the shaft 13. –  George White Jan 14 '13 at 22:53
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3 Answers 3

To answer one the questions asked "how can something rotate around a shaft if is pinned to the shaft" - It can't.

But I think you are misreading the specification and drawings to find that one of the two plates is pinned to the shaft. Please see my comment above. Possibly you read "coupled by a shaft" as "coupled to a shaft". Even then, coupled is not pinned.

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The comment above was a comment on the earlier version of my answer. I did move that to a comment. I think this is an answer. –  George White Jan 18 '13 at 23:03
    
Agreed. Above comment deleted :) –  m3lvn Jan 20 '13 at 0:00
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In further review of this patent, claim 6 states: "A device according to claim 1, characterized in that the horizontal coupling shaft (13) of the two plates (Ai, Bi) of a pair is rigidly fixed, by one of its ends, to a first of the plates (Ai) and is connected to the second plate (Bi), by its other end, by means of a ball bearing (22).

Thus the required element from claim 1 of "mutual rotation of the 2 plates around said shaft" would be impossible if one of the plates is actually pinned to the shaft that it is supposed to be rotating around. Claim 1 does not say the 2 plates mutually rotate around an axis, the claim says the 2 plates must mutually rotate around the shaft ("said shaft"). Claim 6 completely contradicts the language of claim 1, which requires both plates to rotate around the shaft. But this is simple physics, and you cannot have a device (plate, tire, whatever) rotate around a shaft if it is "fixed" (bolted, welded, pinned) TO the shaft that it's supposed to be rotating around.

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To Further "Alex's" point (and to a degree George White's comment), I would have to agree that based upon claim 6 of this patent, claim 6 does indeed "completely contradict" the language of claim 1 of this patent. Claim 1 clearly calls for mutual rotation of the 2 parts/plates(?) around the shaft. It doesn't say both parts rotate around an "axis", it says "the two plates (Ai, Bi) of each pair are coupled by a horizontal shaft (13) allowing the mutual rotation of the two plates around said shaft, which the only way this would be possible would be for both plates to NOT be affixed, attached, pinned, glued, or otherwise "Rigidly fixed" to either of the 2 plates. Then claim 6, which is a dependent claim from claim 1 states "the horizontal coupling shaft (13) of the two plates (Ai, Bi) of a pair is rigidly fixed, by one of its ends, to a first of the plates (Ai)", it's over at this point. As George and Alex have said, you can't have something that is fixed to a shaft, also be able to rotate around the shaft that it's "rigidly fixed" to? I would have to think that since claim 1 is just flat out impossible to achieve, that all other claims related to claim 1 would have to be invalid as well? It looks like somebody snuck one past the PTO on this one. This is a real head scratcher as to how the PTO wouldn't catch this?? IMHO M. Jackson NSPE

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