There's a seemingly odd claim in the "Background" section of a granted patent:

In Yuri Gagarin's historic flight into space, he returned in near critical condition after only one hour and forty eight minutes in space. Clearly there was some vital element missing in space that we receive on earth. Yuri had plenty of food, water, and oxygen and since the flight was less than 2 hours he really only needed oxygen. The critical missing element appears to be PEMF—Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields. Since that first flight, pulsed magnetic devices have been used in every space suit and space station. Further studies have been done on earth (zero field studies) with both laboratory animals and human subjects. In a matter of hours without exposure to healthy PEMF's, cell metabolism begins to break down causing bone loss, muscle weakness, depressed metabolism, disorientation and depression.

-"Sequentially programmed magnetic field therapeutic system (SPMF)", US 9278231 B2

Because this is a patent that's been granted by the US Patent Office, is it the Patent Office's position that these claims stood up to scrutiny?

  • Related: This claim also appeared (in slightly modified form) on a commercial website, asked about in a SE.Skeptics question.
    – Nat
    Sep 14, 2017 at 10:46
  • To provide context, I was looking into this alleged technology because it sounded like a scam. Investigating it led to this patent (and several related patents), which I was surprised to see were granted by the USPTO.
    – Nat
    Sep 14, 2017 at 11:09
  • You can claim anything in the background. Doesn't mean anyone agrees.
    – user18033
    Sep 14, 2017 at 12:18
  • 1
    kinda, yes. There is a requirement for the claims to be practicable, but it's rather soft. And I'm not aware of anything like that for the description.
    – user18033
    Sep 14, 2017 at 13:13
  • 1
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_%28patent%29 First paragraph. That's the only limitation I know of. And it just applies to the claims.
    – user18033
    Sep 14, 2017 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


My experience is that (at least at the USPTO) there is no burden to prove the truth of the specification or that the patented technology actually works. I'm guessing their logic is that if a useless technology is patented, it doesn't really harm anyone since no one would want to practice it. Unfortunately, an issued patent may suggest a level legitimacy to fake science which can be used to con people. This is just an opinion and not backed up except by my personal experience.

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