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Patent granted for antigravity device

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has given the nod to a patent design for an antigravity device, or a space vehicle, according to a report this week in Nature magazine.

That the office approved the patent application breaks its own resolution to reject inventions that defy the laws of physics, according to the report. Still, the patent, which was granted on Nov. 1 to Boris Volfson of Huntington, Indiana, describes a vehicle propelled by a superconducting shield. The shield can change the curvature of space-time outside the craft in a way that counteracts gravity.

Watchdogs called the science bogus, however. "This is not the first such patent to be granted, but it shows that patent examiners are being duped by false science," Robert Park of the American Physical Society in Washington DC said in the report.