Dear efoil community!
It is amazing to see all this innovation. We have now several hundred enthusiastic builders around the world sharing information here on this platform. This includes many companies building commercial efoil products, a lot of them are aiming for a launch in 2018. A lot of money is being invested here which is great and will help us all to move this world to sustainable, quiet, efficient and wakeless water transport.
I am writing this post because there are wrongfully issued patents to Prof. Jack W. Langelaan (1), (2). This will slow down innovation and growth of this fantastic new activity. Mr. Langelaan filed a patent about an electrically powered hydrofoil surfboard that is controlled by weight shift in 2013. Problem with that is that the claims in these patents were already well known at the time of filing, they were documented and published since Prof. Kuttenkeuler’s Evolo project in 2009.
Mr. Langelaan, I ask you to please cancel your patents. That would be the honorable and right thing to do in this situation. This would avoid unnecessary legal actions and not hold up fast innovation and growth of this sport. I give you the benefit of the doubt that you didn’t see the publications before filing. Many did see them. And I am sorry that the patent office didn’t do their job and research state of the art. My father worked as an examiner at the patent office for over 30 years, he was known to be a very thorough examiner and often came home upset when he noticed superficial research work by one of his colleagues. Oversight happens, but it doesn’t make it right.
The pioneers and real inventors are Team Evolo under Prof. Jakob Kuttenkeuler. I have been talking with Jakob and he gave me a lot of interesting background on this amazing work and he confirmed all the publications and dates. He is even considering a follow up project (Evolo 2) next year and I am already looking forward to that.
Project Evolo - Short Summary
The Evolo project was launched in August 2008 as a project in a course in the master program in Naval architecture at the Royal institute of technology, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden. A group of 14 students was given the task to conceive, design, implement and operate (CDIO) a new type of aquatic vehicle. In the project formulation it was specified that the vehicle should be able to carry one person at 15 knots, electric, environmentally sustainable, playful, silent, generate no wake. Controlled only by means of center of gravity movement. The students and teachers worked on the project for two semesters and arrived at Evolo which was tested and demonstrated in the spring of 2009. The technical work, findings and results were published online in 2009.
Project Evolo - Publications
- Evolo project page from KTH University, online since 2009
- 551 page Evolo research report, published 2009
- 23 Youtube videos about the Evolo project, all public since 2009
- Canadian Discovery “Daily Planet” coverage on May 9 2009
- Public showing at the Stockholm International Boat Show 2010
- Article published by Swedish boating magazine “Båtnytt” in Sept 2009, scanned article here
- They even had info under their own domain evolo.se, no longer active but you can find several snapshots on web.archive.org between 2010 and 2013.
I hope this information helps everyone, and especially Mr. Langelaan, to see that these patents are invalid. I am very passionate about the future of efoils and I want to help clear the path for innovation. A big driver of innovation are commercial efforts, as everywhere. I myself have no commercial interests but I am friends with many companies taking this to the market. I totally understand the importance of IP protection, I have a couple patents myself in other areas. It is these invalid fundamental claims on the very basic concepts of efoils that motivate me to engage. There will be many patents after this, smaller efoil innovations in different areas. That’s all fine. But these fundamental and wrongfully issued Langelaan patents need to go.
Please join me in congratulating Prof. Jakob Kuttenkeuler (he is also here on this forum) and his entire 2008/2009 Evolo team to this amazing Evolo project. We are looking forward to Evolo 2 next year.
Here some Evolo images: