I started writing a post about homeopathy patents, but it made me so angry that I had to put it down. So we’ll leave that for when I’ve cooled down. In the meantime, here’s this “gem” I found while researching that.
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn what side of the crystal healing divide I fall on. I am pretty sure that, aside from salt and sugar, crystals have heck all to do with the functioning of my body. And if you aren’t actually ingesting them, even salt and sugar are just rocks. Generally speaking, I expect the rocks in my life to do me more harm than good.
But people who believe otherwise do exist. I have some good friends who, I am pretty sure, have shelves of rocks that are labeled with things like, “INCONTINENCE,” “GOITER,” “DYSPEPSIA,” and, “GOUT.” I suspect they cuddle with their rocks when they get a headache. And as far as quirks go, that’s pretty harmless.
So at what point does a rock become patentable? Let’s talk about the Magnetic Acoustic Resonance Light and Homeopathic Therapy Crystal patent: https://patents.google.com/patent/US9724424B2.
Isn’t it inconvenient, to need a separate crystal for every ailment you have? Wearing that many rocks makes for a busy aesthetic, and the fashionable crystal enthusiast would perhaps want to limit their adornment to a single example. That’s where this patent comes in.
[T]the first part of this patent is to add varying amounts of these listed materials into a hole, which is drilled into a quartz, calcite, topaz, ruby, sapphire, diamond, tourmaline, or similar gem or crystal.USP 9,724,424, col. 4, lns 37-40
In other words, you take a “host crystal,” you drill holes in it, and you stuff it full of other crystals, or really anything you like, so that you get the therapeutic effect of all of them at once. Just, all that crystal potency, right up in there. Bam.
Okay, so how did this get a patent? I would like to reassure you that the Patent Office at least tries to keep unscientific and impossible things out, but you can see that this did make it through.
What happened is that the inventor limited their claims to only the product (“a filled crystal”) and the method for making it. None of the claims are directed to any purported therapeutic effects. And there’s nothing that says you can’t patent making a rock with other rocks inside it, even if it does come across as a bit batty. So at the end of the day, this is a patent for a rock with other rocks in it, and all of the talk about fields and energy and vibrations could have been left out. I guess that isn’t so bad?
One last note, I want to remind you all that it is childish to make fun of inventors’ names. So, leave Decauter Ward Stoppelbein alone.