Is it possible to protect a method which is otherwise patentable but which has so far been developed only in broad lines? In other words it is novel and applicable, but not fully teach-able yet.
As a fictional example suppose that an engineer comes across an unusual way to increase the efficiency of a cooling cycle in the lab of his small enterprise. He is not entirely sure of the engineering reasoning, but in dozens of trials he measures a significant increase in efficiency four times out of five. As we speak he has formed a solid idea of how to modify the cycle in order to improve it, but he is not able to describe a sequence of steps that would reproduce the process every time. Still, it's obvious that the main ingredient in the increase of efficiency is his novel approach.
In this example would it be possible to patent, or otherwise protect, the new way of modifying the cycle?