“Fake bomb detector” device gets patent in Romania

Someone needs to explain this insanity to me. Is it money? I’m guessing is money and really ignorant buyers.

BBC News – Bomb detectors similar to fake devices get patents in Romania, the BBC learns.

Bomb detectors similar to fake devices sold by a fraudulent Somerset businessman have been patented by a Romanian company, the BBC has learned.

Police say Mira Telecom had links to Jim McCormick, who was jailed for 10 years for fraud for selling devices modelled on novelty golf ball finders.

The Bucharest-based firm, which specialises in security and telecoms, claims on its website to have received an EU grant to research the production of detection equipment for explosives and drugs.

The patent holder is Dr Marian Apostol, of Institute of Atomic Physics. He was also a defense witness who testified that McCormick’s device had performed well. He’s also sounds like one of those people who THINKS he can’t he can’t be fooled.

Speaking to BBC Inside Out last month, he said: “I’m an expert in this field and I know what I’m talking about.

And those are the people who are often easiest to fool. This is cut and dried at this point. These devices DO NOT work. A different expert, Dr Sutherland, said: “I’ve had a very close look at this patent and as far as I can tell it’s exactly the same device, it just simply has a battery and a flashing LED light and an extra little bit of circuitry that allows it to generate some electromagnetic signals. [Electromagnetic signals will not detect bombs.]

“Based on the physics behind this, I can’t see any way that either this device [points at patent] or this device can work.”

And that is the only part that makes any sense. The saga of fake bomb detectors continues.

McCormick found guilty of fraud for selling fake bomb detectors | Doubtful News.

bomb detector

Tip: P. Robinson

  7 comments for ““Fake bomb detector” device gets patent in Romania

  1. Chris Howard
    March 4, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    My guess is lax, or nonexistent, regulatory agencies coupled with greed.

    It seems to work over in the US, why not Romania? 😉

  2. Rex Dart
    March 4, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    I suppose it might not be only a matter of “greed” in the sense of bribes to regulatory officials or whatever.

    It might look like a money saving option if you’re in charge of procuring a “bomb detection solution.” While I’m no expert, I know a little bit about this, and that the actual effective solutions, like training good bomb-sniffing dogs and handlers, costs real money.

    So if someone comes by with a “technological” solution that seems to do the job at a fraction of the cost, it’s an awfully attractive solution (and one that seems too good to be true, because it is.)

  3. John Nowak
    March 4, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    I am pretty certain that a device doesn’t need to work for a patent to be issued. Isn’t this useless device patented already in the US?

  4. Jack
    March 4, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    seriously, why does it have to be a bomb detecting device? if you are going to sell fake devices, make them detect invisible unicorns or elves. something that won’t get you killed, and probably sell just as well.

  5. Takashi Toyooka
    March 4, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    I’m pretty sure John Nowak’s right; you don’t need to prove that a device actually works in order to patent it. The patent office is not in the business of product testing, nor should it be. It just means the patent holder can demand licensing fees if anyone else tries to sell the same product – in Romania, at least, or maybe the EU.

    Actually, this could be a draconian (and expensive) way for someone to prevent the product from being sold – secure a patent for it and then demand extremely high licensing fees. Although, there might be rules against this kind of “patent squatting,” since it rather goes against the spirit of patents.

  6. Meta Dark
    March 4, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    The most funny thing would be creating a similar device, patenting it, then attacking any new “discoverer” of the detector for copying the gadget.

    Moreover, if we wait for further updates, maybe, this “thing” will be able to do something (like cutting butter, receiving radio,…) that would justify the discovery of a new technology (a bomb detector that also cuts butter, what an useful tool !).

  7. eddi
    March 5, 2014 at 1:54 AM

    Here’s a Wired article on the original golf ball detector. http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2008/02/scam-gadget-gol/

    Unsurprisingly, the web site associated with the product is gone.

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