In reference to the patent: US20170183057

I overheard from this "inventor" that he sold this tech to professional cycling teams. Including a multiple winning famous cyclist "LA"!! What?? Surely this patent is unethical and by granting it will allow this company/individual to go on performing this type of operation hidden behind the commercial side.

2 Answers 2


Using a device under particular circumstances might be unethical. I think it would be huge stretch to consider inventing and patenting a specific mechanism for an electric bike to be unethical.

In any case, the USPTO considers if something is useful, novel and non-obvious. The use of something might be illegal somewhere but a patent does not give one the right to make or use the patented item, just the right to try to stop someone else from making, selling, offering for sale, using or importing it.


This document is an application, not a patent. It may or may not get issued as a patent. As George White explains, the invention itself is not unethical. As a device, it could be useful to any manner of consumers who need a little extra help riding their bike.

I absolutely do agree that if the inventor or company owning the invention intentionally sells such a technology to bike racers with the intention of getting an unfair advantage then that activity is unethical. It is even possible this activity might be illegal although I'm not a lawyer. The publication of the application, if anything, helps bike racing authorities be aware of the potential for "mechanical doping" and may help them develop ways of detecting it. As for "LA", he stopped racing in 2012, long before this application was submitted so I'm skeptical he ever used a motor assisted bike. The question there was more about conventional doping.

This is essentially the same as the development of medications such as steroids which have a useful therapeutic value but can be used off-label for unfair and unethical advantage. The fact that the drug was developed and patented isn't the problem, it is how the drug is used that matters.

Interestingly, I'm not even sure this patent application is novel. The priority date for this application is 12-26-2016. This article published 2/1/2016 and shows a picture of much the same technology. Here is a different company that sells pretty much the same thing.

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