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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

So, this Ocean Gate scandal is just awful, right? We’ve all heard about it, but do you know they’re getting sued right now on top of it all? I want to take a deeper look at the technical aspects and what they actually found and discovered in their patents. I’m JD Houvener, owner-founder here at Bold Patents Law Firm, and I’m gonna take a deep dive, no pun intended, into Ocean Gate Incorporated, based in Woodinville, Washington, actually, the hometown of where I’m at and where I’m from. Seattle, go UW!

I want to look at this inventor, this wild, unabashed pioneer, Mr. Stockton Rush. So, little did you guys know, of course, the whole company is getting sued right now. This has been awful; you know, fatalities, as you may know. This submarine went down to try to gather information about the Titanic, 3,500 meters down to the bottom of the ocean to gather information, to explore and try to gather what happened to the Titanic. This wild inventor was just ignoring a lot of major concerns from the scientific community about the structure and integrity of the submersible vessel, and unfortunately, led to his death. But I wanted to talk about the patents.

So, there are four patents that Ocean Gate owns that Stockton Rush was the inventor on and he assigned to Ocean Gate. Let’s go through those four patents and try to explore this adventure, this discovery process that Ocean Gate had been on in the past 10 years. Going back to 2013, one of this earliest inventions that was filed, you can see here, is related to a platform. You can see the pictures here; it’s for an aquatic platform. I mean, this was a true vision to try to bring up chunks of the Titanic out of the water using this system of cables and platform to make it stable.

There’s a second patent out there as well that was issued a few years later where this inventor had actually not just found a way to have a platform that’s able to be raised and lowered all the way from the ocean floor but do so where it’s actually going to remain level. And he does that by having pressurized chambers and releasing gas throughout the whole vessel. So, it’s a pressured platform and it’s controlled by these, you know, I think it’s under 300 PSI pressure containers so that they will maintain that exact attitude they need, so it doesn’t fall off as it’s raising and lowering.

But the most interesting patent I want to look at today, yeah, this is the fourth patent, this was the latest one that they had issued; they just issued it like two years ago. This one is for monitoring composite structure of aquatic vessels. And as the news has come out over the past couple of weeks, there was evidence that there was an implosion. An implosion, as opposed to an explosion, is when there is so much pressure like there is at the bottom of the ocean at that depth that the vessel came in on itself; it crushed. Now, this patent, this patent actually was intended to signal to monitor the integrity of a composite structure in environments just like this. So, in a wild way, the inventor knew or had discovered already invented this way of monitoring and identifying when there was going to be a problem, when too much pressure, too much, you know, centrifugal or whatever that force would be in and around that cylinder, to where the composite structure in a plastic structure is not going to hold, it’s going to break; there’s going to be some additional stretching or fatigue, whatever that failure mode might be.

So, this claim here goes on to talk about this monitoring, the integrity, this exact formula. You can see the mathematical equation. It is, to me, super sad that there’s this massive discovery and this innovation, and yet there were some things that happened we don’t all understand, may never know, as to what actually happened at the bottom of the ocean. I mean, there’s so much pressure, right? In fact, I saw one article that said that there’s as much pressure at that depth, at 3,500 meters, that it’s like the weight of the Eiffel Tower being pushed on that little tiny vessel.

So, incredible highs and lows. I just wanted to highlight some of the inspiration, some of the innovations that Stockton Rush had put into the world and it’s still obviously a part of the public domain and are going to go on whether Ocean Gate survives these lawsuits or not. I think it’s incredible what this inventor has done. You can say what you want about whether it was way too risky and certainly, I think there’s some merit there with respect to other people’s lives in that vessel, but I’ll leave that to you to judge for yourself.

So, from four bold patents here, and I’m always inspiring innovation, no matter what situation it comes in. So, I want you to take away from this not that it was a complete utter failure, but there are still some very amazing things that are going to carry on in Stockton Rush’s legacy and Ocean Gate as well. All right, take care everybody, have a good rest of your day. Go big, go bold.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at