Can I make a request of patent for a time machine that has as principle the use of the gravity?

  • possible duplicate of Does US20060073976 really describe how to built the time machine?
    – Parker
    Jul 30, 2015 at 11:08
  • And why would you want to? Unless someone infringes within the next 20 years, you won't make a penny. If time travel will ever be possible in the future, it is very likely more than 20 years out.
    – Atsby
    Jul 30, 2015 at 15:18
  • @Atsby Once we have time travel then 20 years in the future or past is irrelevant.
    – paparazzo
    Jul 31, 2015 at 23:13
  • 1
    @Frisbee Assuming it's a full-on dial-a-year time machine, yes. But it's more likely that a time machine that could only travel a little bit in time would be developed (if any time machine can be developed at all).
    – Atsby
    Aug 1, 2015 at 1:06

2 Answers 2


If you look at the Image File Wrapper for application US 2006/0073976 A1, and specifically at the Final Rejection (August 8, 2007) from the Examiner, you will see why it is difficult to obtain such patents:

  1. Claims 1 and 2 are rejected under 35 U.S.C. 101 because the disclosed invention is inoperative and therefore lacks utility.

The specification discloses a large amount of theoretical physics that is unsubstantiated and not generally recognized by the scientific community. Examples include the particular nature, creation, and control of gravitons, the physical reality of de-Sitter space, and the ability to obtain and control rotating singularities. Therefore, there is no evidence before the Office that the current invention is operative under accepted scientific knowledge. Inventions that utilize previously unknown or evolving scientific principles require some degree of evidence that they are operative and, thus, have utility.

  1. The following is a quotation of the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112:

The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same and shall set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his invention.

  1. Claims 1 and 2 are rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, as failing to comply with the enablement requirement. The claim(s) contains subject matter that was not described in the specification in such a way as to enable one skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and/or use the invention. Even if the claimed invention is theoretically possible, it would take undue experimentation for one of ordinary skill to produce the claimed steps of obtaining and controlling rotating singularities, gravitons or the other claimed elements of the invention.

And finally:

  1. Claims 1 and 2 are rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph, as being indefinite for failing to particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter which applicant regards as the invention.

For example, it is not clear what limitations are involved in the steps of "maintaining one of the singularities", "a differential electron flow", "to take advantage of the LenseThirring effect", "timelike curves", "under the ... Alcubierre geometry", and "in accordance with Geroch's theorem". Also, in claim 2, line 13, "the other" has no antecedent basis in the claims and it is not clear what "other" spacelike boundary is being referenced.

  • I'll interject an opinion here, and state that the Examiner in this case deserves honorary "Unsung Hero" status in this community. The USPTO wasn't born yesterday, they have been dealing with these types of applications since its inception (see USPTO Perpetual Motion Machine Collection).
    – Parker
    Jul 30, 2015 at 23:52

Patents are, by law, protections on actual implementations.

You can't patent a theory or idea, and you have to know that your implementation will work.

If you can fulfil that requirement, you should be able to get a patent. But speaking to this particular example, unless you've built a functioning time machine, you probably won't be able to get one.

Just for good measure, there is also a constraint that patents must, through the same token as that their inventions must work, not exist for "impossible" inventions. For instance, you can't patent a perpetual motion machine. I'm not saying that this is impossible, especially dependent on your definition of a time machine, but that's something important to keep in mind.

  • This is true, and the tests for this are changing from year to year (e.g., abstractness via the Alice decision, pre-AIA vs. post-AIA). The reduction to practice appears to be less important now after the US system switched from first-to-invent to first-to-file, but I haven't seen a good explanation of that effect yet. A good general rule is (and always has been): "Did I provide detailed enough information to enable a person who is "skilled in the art" to reproduce my invention?" If someone is attempting to patent impossible inventions, then the answer should always be a decisive "No".
    – Parker
    Jul 30, 2015 at 11:50

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