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Editorial Comments

General Electric Patent Application
World Patent Application WO01/33203

Method Of Detection Of Natural Diamond That Have Been Processed At High Temperature High Pressure

Priority Date 29 October 1999

The patent application related to the international publication
WO01/33203A1 has now been transformed from the WIPO in Geneva to the
European Patent Office in Munich and got the following file number: 967
263.5. If you want to submit prior art and/or give comments to be taken into
consideration during the examination procedure, you should use the following
address:

Europäisches Patentamt, Erhardtstr. 27, D-80331 München, Germany.

This patent was issued in the United States on April 23, 2002 as US6377340B1



The General Electric World Patent applications for HPHT treatment of diamonds and for the DETECTION of HPHT treatments has just been made public.  The World Patent applications are {WO 01/14050 A1}and {WO 01/33203 A1}.  Link To WO0133203

You should be informed that GE claims patent rights [in {WO 01/33203 A1}] to the USE of the following specific photoluminescent line positions, the presence of which is an indicator that the diamond HAS NOT been subjected to HPHT treatment.  [ 2.53ev{489.92nm}, 2.38ev{520.79nm}, 2.42ev{512.19nm}, 2.46ev{503.86nm},  32ev{534.27nm},
2.45ev{505.918nm}, 2.49ev{497.79nm}, 2.50ev{495.8nm}, and 2.54ev{487.99}] .
Additionally in claim 22, the use of any spectral line from 1.30ev{953.46} to 3.60ev{344.30} to determine that the diamond has been HPHT treated.  Claim 30 states that that the use of a CW (continous wave) mode laser is greater than about 2 Watts (Yup 2 Watts)..

Well, don't worry folks.. 1) you don't need 2 watts  (the most I use is 50 milliwatts) and 2) their specified line positions are, in general WRONG!!!! don't rely on them.  They claim a spectrophotometric line position accuracy of 0.05nm, and so they flunk the chuckle test with their list of line positions, at least their patent attorneys do..( for
rounding off)

My Request To General Electric

The filing and publishing of the General Electric World Patent application for the DETECTION of HPHT treatments (WO0133203) (Click on  this link  to read the first page and request the other 38) has created , possibly unintentionally, a potential problem for every laboratory in the world who is called on to render an opinion on whether or not a stone has been HPHT treated.  While the enforceability and validity of the patent (if and when issued worldwide, and in the United States) may be difficult, its mere existence creates a potential legal quagmire for every laboratory and/or researcher.  If issued, General Electric could theoretically file suit for patent infringement, gaining access, through discovery, to any laboratories' client confidential technical notes under the guise that they would contain the basis (patent infringement) for the laboratory opinion on a particular diamond.  Just the fact that screening techniques for Type IIa/IaB diamonds currently in use many laboratories may or may not violate GE's patent (if issued) may preclude their very use unless General Electric publicly states their clear intention on what they intend to do with this patent..

And what about current and on going technical research in the field, could the patent prevent that?  Will the very filing of such a patent stifle independent research?. I doubt that this was General Electric's intention.

As a matter of prior art, it seems incongruous, that General Electric is claiming that the use of old as well as current  technology to characterize a "class" of diamonds, that technology having been used before for the same purpose on other "classes" of diamonds by many, that the "idea" and or the "results" should be patentable.  They haven't used or developed new technology, only pointed an old camera at a new subject and described the "picture", and just to create a little confusion, described it wrongly..

I commend General Electric on their research which resulted in new and beautiful products and which found new uses for previously industrial grade diamonds, but I call on them to make the detection techniques public domain because of the problems their products (as well as those produced and/or imitated by others) has created for the industry as a whole.

I call on General Electric to immediately make public their intentions with the patent regarding the public's use of "their intellectual property rights" to detect HPHT diamonds.
 
 

A Taste of Prior Art

General Electric’s priority date on the World Patent Application WO 0133203 was 29 October 1999.

After making a cursory search of the hard copy literature I have on hand, I would call attention to Diamonds And Related Material 8 (1999) 1463-1469 “Distribution of nickel related luminescence centers in HPHT
diamond” H. Kanda, K Watanabe ( with an Acceptance for publication date of 30 November 1998). This article describes the use of  a Ranishaw Raman system with a He_Cd laser (325nm), and a Linkam cold stage (-190C)
to study pre and post HPHT spectra of nickel catalyst synthetic diamond.

General Electric’s first patent claim in WO0133203 seems to be, to me at least, showing EXACTLY the procedures described in the above article with the exception of it being done on “natural” vs “synthetic” diamond.  So the method and concept of studying and comparing pre vs post HPHT photoluminescence spectra in diamond clearly predates General Electric’s priority date on this patent application.

My Submission To The United States Patent Office

Pursuant to United States Code Title 35USC Part III, Chapter 30, Section 301 [35USC301], I formally submit the following for your consideration:

The General Electric Company has, I assume with high confidence, filed a United States patent application similar in nature to their World Patent application WO0133203 on or before the World Patent application date of
2 October 2000 and on or after their World Patent priority date of 29 October 1999.

Attached to this email is a PDF file of a Diamonds and Related Materials Journal Article 8 (1999) 1463-1469 with a submission date of 30 November 1998, which I believe clearly establishes prior art (at least with respect to WO0133203), and I assume the similar US Patent application.

The attached article uses current and in-place technology and scientific methods and methodology to examine and present the pre and post HPHT (high pressure high temperature) annealing characteristics of a class of
synthetic diamond.  General Electric's World Patent application (WO0133203) appears to present observations using THE SAME scientific methodology to render an scientific opinion on another class of diamonds, that being natural diamonds (not synthetic).

The issuance of this presumed patent application would, in my opinion, severely harm the public at large, in that laboratories around the world who are called on to render a scientific opinion by the public and the trade, would be precluded from utilizing prior art and technology and published scientific studies (for example see Gems & Gemology, GE POL Diamonds, Before And After, C.P. Smith et al, September 2000 pages 192-215) to render a scientific opinion on a class of diamonds, for fear of violating the proposed General Electric patent.  Granting a patent in this case, in my opinion, could also stifle the publication of independent research because of the overly broad claims of the patent, claiming any photoluminescent feature as coming under their patent.  The
General Electric Company is attempting to patent the use of scientific observation, not new or innovative technology..

Respectfully submitted,

Martin D. Haske
Adamas Gemological Laboratory
77 Pond Ave. C609
Brookline MA 02445
617-232-5508
 
 

                 More Prior Art

This was additional information sent to me by a scientist from Europe

" Dear Martin,

        I would like to draw your attention on 4 articles published in scientific journals between 1994 and 1997. All 4 papers are from the research group of General Electric and describe photoluminescence of synthetic diamond before and after HPHT treatment. These articles already mention the 1.945, 2.15 and 2.46 ev luminescence lines!!"

 The references are:

McCormick et al., Mat.Res.Soc.Symp. Proc. Vol. 349 (1994) pp. 445-450;
Jackson & Webb,  Mat.Res.Soc.Symp. Proc. Vol. 383 (1995) pp. 267-272;
Webb & Jackson, J. Mater. Res. Vol. 10 (1995) pp. 1700-1709;
McCormick et al.,  J. Mater. Res. Vol. 12 (1997) pp. 253-263. "

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