14 September 2010

Bilge pump system for sea kayaks_patent pending?

In late 2007 I published my installation for a sea kayak electric bilge pump (on QSKC website_ it has been recently removed by the current webmaster).
I published a variation of that installation on this blog in 2009.
The article has attracted a tremendous amount of interest and I have seen links to my article appear on many websites around the world.
USA, British and German readers are particularly interested in the set up.

Recently I have found a manufacturer that appears to offer the same set up commercially.

There are no details (images or drawings) of the system but it lists the components that are the same as my documented items.
The video on their website seems to replicate the identical set up as mine.
However what intrigued me is the mention of a magnetic switch for the activation of the pump (Bluewater website: "Sealed switch, waterproof, dustproof, operated by a sliding magnet that runs on your deck bunge cord")
To my knowledge, I was the first to publish the idea of the switch, even though it is not my invention.
I am not aware of any other publication showing the magnetic switch assembly.

I do know that manufacturers occasionally scan my blog for ideas and some actually use my findings on their products.
There is nothing wrong with that, or I would keep my tinkering ideas to myself.
What makes me a bit dubious is the fact that Bluewater claims a pending patent to the system.
Bluewater makes no mention of the alleged patent number (most manufacturer don’t divulge that) but I have not been able to find any documentation of such patent in my searches.

There are a couple of scenarios: Bluewater could have applied for a patent that is not directly related to the bilge pump system that I have documented or they are just bluffing to scare competition away.
Bluewater has not replied to my queries of patent application date, and probably won’t :-)

If Bluewater has applied for a patent of the existing system, it will not be valid.
The electric bilge pump system has been used for some time now (documented on several websites) and the magnetic switch documentation is not recent (Feb 2008)

Gnarlydog News ideas are published for the benefit of the private public and not for the monopolization from the industry.
I want to keep sharing my findings with fellow adventurers that might benefit from my projects.


  1. I wouldn't sweat it mate, patents aren't generally worth the paper they're printed on, unless you have a lot of legal clout & money to enforce them. This sort of 'idea pinching' is not limited to the kayak industry, but does seem to be rather prolific!

  2. Mark, I do understand that some patents are bogus but some actually are enforced.
    Obviously money is always the issue: you must have a lot to chase something that might generate even more :-)
    I just like to alert other readers that the bilge pump system is an open source idea that should not be monopolized.

  3. I guess its kind of flattering to be copied :)

    (They also seem to have a fine set of paddle parks like yours on the boat in the video.)

    Perhaps Gnarleydognews could test and review their pump product?

  4. Does this mean I can patent the kayak, the automobile, communications satellites? I'll be rich! I can buy my own country, hell, my own continent. Is Australia available?


  5. One of the Kayaking Mags recently reviewed that BlueWater pump, did you see it? I think it was Sea Kayaker Mag...

  6. I have not read it yet but I have been told the mag had a review on it.
    Despite my enquiry with the manufacturer he remains aloof on the patent application question.
    My take is that he is bluffing. Possibly the new automated pumps (no switch required) will make this set up obsolete.

  7. I installed a RULEMATE 500, (auto pump) like the one you mentioned and found the built in float switch to be very unreliable. I added a 3 way (on-off-on) switch to override the float switch or turn them both off.

  8. In the 12v bilge pump article it is stated the a Water Witch 101 switch needs several inches to work. Actually you can mount the switch in any configuration you wish. For example if you mounted it on the pump strainer basket with the SS disk near the floor you could get down to about one inch to turn it on.

  9. If you can prove prior art then it doesn't matter...their patent won't get approved.

  10. I strongly suspect that the "Patent Pending" is a bluff since I can't find any patent lodged under those details or name.
    However it gives the prospective customer more credibility that it's valid "invention".
    Since there is no penalty for falsely advertise that a product has "Patent Pending" Bluewater has possibly simply done some false advertising?


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