Locklin on science

Kickstarter: muppets threaten lawsuits!

Posted in fraud by Scott Locklin on March 5, 2013

I received this childish threat via email today from Mr. Tommy Joseph. Obviously, he has never heard of SLAPP laws.  I’ll remove the photo of his dumb idea, because I am a nice guy, though it certainly does not infringe on any copyrights, and provide a link instead. The text of my assessment of their project will remain unaltered, as is my “fair use” quote from his pitch.

I’ve been threatened with lawsuits by scarier people than Mr. Tommy, and would dearly love for him to attempt to follow through with this. As far as I know, the laws of physics are still protected by the laws of the United States. This will also be forwarded to kickstarter and kicktraq. Mr. Tommy is encouraged to defend his project online, though I’m happy to take his money should he attempt to follow through with this lawsuit.


Sent by Certified Mail and Email

March 5, 2013

Dear Scott Locklin,

I am writing on behalf of Epiphany Laboratories LLC (Epiphany) to notify you that your unlawful copying of Epiphany’s materials on your website infringes on Epiphany’s exclusive copyrights and trademarks. Accordingly, you are hereby directed to CEASE AND DESIST ALL COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT.

All copywrightable and trademarkable aspects of Epiphany’s materials, including its logos, names, word marks, images, and videos are protected under United States intellectual property law and Epiphany Laboratories LLC is the owner of such copyrights. Under United States intellectual property laws, Epiphany’s copyrights and trademarks have been in effect since the date that the materials were created.

It has come to our attention that you have been copying our materials. We have copies of you unlawful copies to preserve as evidence. Your actions constitute copyright infringement in violation of United States copyright laws. Under 17 USC 504, the consequences of copyright infringement include statutory damages of between $750 and $30,000 per work, at the discretion of the court, and damages of up to $150,000 per work for willful infringement. If you continue to engage in copyright infringement after receiving this letter, your actions will be evidence of “willful infringement.”


In addition to infringing Epiphany’s copyrights, you have made allegations on your website that are without substance, untrue, and that we regard as damaging to our reputation and the reputation of our customers. At this time, we demand that you remove such allegations from the web and cease and desist from making any allegations or passing any false and unsubstantiated public comment directly or indirectly on our company, products, services, or companies who may use our technology.

1) Cease and desist your unlawful copying of Epiphany’s materials
2) Contact all persons and entities to whom you have directly or indirectly provided copies of Epiphany’s materials and inform them that such copyright/trademark-protected materials belonging to Epiphany Laboratories LLC were provided improperly in infringement of the rights of Epiphany Laboratories LLC.
3) Provide Epiphany Laboratories LLC with contact information for all such persons and entities
4) Cease and desist from making any unsubstantiated allegations or passing any false or unsubstantiated public comment directly or indirectly relating to Epiphany, its products and services, or customers who may use Epiphany’s technology.
5) Send written retractions to all persons and entities to whom you have directly or indirectly distributed the unsubstantiated allegations relating to Epiphany’s products or services
6) Remove all content and references to Epiphany (including Epiphany and/or onE Puck) from the website https://scottlocklin.wordpress.com, and any mirrors and references and replace your original “Kickstarter: muppet graveyard part 2” article with the following statement:

“Epiphany Laboratories LLC has requested that I remove my original article entitled ‘Kickstarter: muppet graveyard part 2’ as it contained numerous inaccuracies and material subject to their copyright and trademark protection. I would also like to apologize to Epiphany for misrepresenting the capabilities of their products and for distributing copyrighted and trademarked content without permission.”

7) Provide Epiphany with prompt written assurance by 12:00pm EST on March 7, 2013 that you will comply with the foregoing.

If you do not comply with these cease and desist demands within this time period, please be advised that Epiphany Laboratories LLC will pursue all available legal remedies, including seeking monetary damages, injunctive relief, and an order that you pay court costs and attorney’s fees. In addition, Epiphany is entitled to use your failure to comply as evidence of “willful infringement” of copyright and seek monetary damages and equitable relief for your copyright infringement. In the event that you fail to meet this demand, your liability and exposure under such legal action could be considerable.

Before taking these steps, however, Epiphany Laboratories LLC wishes to give your one opportunity to discontinue your illegal conduct by complying with this demand by 12:00 PM on March 7th, 2013.

Accordingly, please send written assurance of compliance with this letter to:

Epiphany Laboratories LLC
825 N. Croton Ave.
New Castle, PA 16101

With an email copy to: accounts@epiphanylabs.com.

If you or your attorney have any questions, please contact me directly.
Tom Joseph
Epiphany Laboratories LLC


Further conversation with Mr. Tommy:

Thank you for your prompt response and for removing our images and video. However, the Epiphany Laboratories wordmark and Epiphany onE Puck wordmark remain our intellectual property and must also be removed.

Regarding you analysis of the laws of physics, you are mostly correct, but your assumptions about our methodology are not. Out of respect for your abilities as a scientist and seeker of truth, we will be happy to send you a onE Puck when they go into production so you can see for yourself that it does, indeed, work as promised.
Tom Joseph”

*****************my reply******************************

Your video was never even linked on my website. I actually took the picture from someone else’s website; it is very obviously public domain. Like I said: I’m a nice guy. If it hurts your feelings to use your picture to debunk your project; a link is just as good. If you continue to piss me off, I’ll simply put it back up. It has no digital watermark or copyright on it, and even if it did, parody is protected in this country.

As for those other things: you do not have the right to regulate what I say about your company because of “intellectual property” laws. Not in the US. Not even in Singapore. If that were true, there would be no reviews of products, anywhere, ever. If you have a registered trademark on them, show me the paperwork and, I’ll put <tm> after them. Just as soon as every other link to your project on the internet does the same thing.

I’m not mostly correct: I’m correct. While I am not active in academic research, I, too, have a Stirling project. I also have significant background in experimental physics; they even gave me a Ph.D. for some reason. As I said in my original post, if you have come up with something which works anything like you say, I’ll apologize profusely. Hell, I’ll probably invest in your company. Until then, my assessment stands.

I respect your entrepreneurial spirit, but I have no respect for your cowardly and ultimately laughable attempts to cow me into not saying bad things about your idea. Maybe you should spend more time building the freaking thing, and less time making enemies: you’ll get more done.

You have already done yourself significant damage; your threat will probably be linked on kicktraq, it has had about 1000 views in the few minutes since I posted it to my blog, and I’m about to send it to kickstarter, along with this conversation. Why don’t you quit while you are ahead?

17 Responses

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  2. wisco said, on March 5, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    I love the smell of Streisand in the morning… Let’s spread the word, shall we?

  3. Darth Vader of Copyright Infringers said, on March 6, 2013 at 12:44 am


    Seem a tad overlapping as to wording.

    There is also copyright on legal document drafted. Hope Epiphany checked on that (or their lawyer) 🙂

    • Scott Locklin said, on March 6, 2013 at 12:58 am

      Obviously, someone should notify Joseph J. Dullea that people are using his legal copy to threaten lawsuit without permission! I noticed the lack of legal representation in his email to me; it will be fun to see if there is anything different in the hard copy, assuming I ever get one.

  4. William O. B'Livion said, on March 6, 2013 at 4:17 am

    “All copywrightable”

    Dude, you’re getting sued by Elmer Fudd!

    • Scott Locklin said, on March 6, 2013 at 4:38 am

      I didn’t even notice. Delightful!

  5. Bubba Marshal said, on March 6, 2013 at 7:11 am

    You aren’t the only critic that this joker threatened with a cease and desist. I guess when you just steal the form from someone else it’s pretty cheap to mass produce them!

    • Scott Locklin said, on March 6, 2013 at 7:38 am

      I haven’t bothered doing any diligence on this character: do tell if you have another example of his threatening people with imaginary lawsuits on the internets.

  6. Brian said, on March 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    When a threat like this comes from a person or company with resources, it’s indeed wise to beg forgiveness on all fours with buttocks pointed skyward. But this guys groveling on Kickstarter. He probably couldnt even afford a Small Claims Court filing fee.

    “Regarding you analysis of the laws of physics, you are mostly correct, but your assumptions about our methodology are not.”

    What? Methodology?

    If you notice his product description hedges the product claims. He basically says “It sorta works…”

    Keep give him fire Doctor. He deserves it with his save the whales bullshit pitch.

    • Scott Locklin said, on March 6, 2013 at 11:37 pm

      People and companies with resources don’t bother with people speaking their minds about them: not in the US anyway. The MPAA and associated creeps are a noteable exception, but even they are likely realizing that bad publicity is worse than any damages they incur.
      As ole Darth above noticed, the irony here is … Mr. Tommy is probably violating someone’s “copywright” by stealing his legal copy.

  7. Alex said, on March 9, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    “Regarding you analysis of the laws of physics, you are mostly correct, but your assumptions about our methodology are not.”

    I am a lowly law student and possess no formal training in Physics. That being said, can bullshit physics even be mitigated by their methodology?

    Secondly, a 10 minute google search would have provided him with the knowledge that taking this to court would be the legal equivalent of punching himself in the nuts. That was the first tip off that the wording was from a document mill or stolen. The reason folks like this freak out without thinking is because their product is all image (like so much of the vainglorious crap on kickstarter), with no demand for it in the real world. The moment anyone says nasty things that stains the hype, they start throwing feces. This is especially funny as I have never seen it done so ineptly.

    Lastly, I’ve been creeping this blog for a while now Dr. Locklin. Its a rare gem on the interwebs. I feel that there is a public interest in having physics educated bullshit sentinels watching over us. Maybe we start you a kickstarter campaign and make it a paid position?

    • Scott Locklin said, on March 10, 2013 at 1:19 am

      As I said, there is a vague possibility they’re onto something, but the simple Carnot calculation indicates that it isn’t likely. Anyway, as my former colleague pointed out above: if it really works, cold coffee for everyone!

      Thanks for the kind words. Should my technological ideas ever take off, I’d love to create a foundation for examining and exposing bullshit science claims on a wider basis. The JASON committee tries to keep the government away from shoveling too much money at crazy ideas, and John Ioannidis has done some marvellous work in this area in the field of medical research, but there is much more to be done.

  8. Matthew said, on March 30, 2013 at 9:58 am

    “copywrightable” – lol, thanks Scott, nothing better than a badly written threat letter. I trust you responded that no materials have been copywrongalonged?

  9. S. McCandlish said, on July 1, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Any further followup from this clown?

    • Scott Locklin said, on July 1, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      Vague recollections his local secretary of state filed something against him for fraud. I think it’s on his kickstarter.
      Seems extreme to me,
      “bad understanding of thermodynamics, and credulity of general public”

      Then again, he did threaten to sue me for stating the obvious.

      Google says this:

  10. Georgeanna DeCarlo said, on July 24, 2017 at 12:51 am

    Thank you for providing this information.
    I have been researching the many names and faces of Thomas Joseph and am most intrigued by your dealings with him. Coudersport Area Municipal Authority just signed a lease with Thomas Joseph CEO Epiphany Environmental LLC last week despite protests from a small group of residents including myself. Joseph is working with JKLM Energy to put a fracking wastewater treatment facility in our town with his “phenomenal” “groundbreaking” albeit yet undisclosed – design. We have a few short weeks to dispute this lease.
    I would be interested in talking with you about this. I apologize for posting this in your comment section but I do not see any other way to contact you. You may reply at my email address. Thank you in advance for your help.
    If nothing else, I would appreciate being able to share your articles.

    • Scott Locklin said, on July 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      I don’t have time for such things, and the entirety of my interactions with this clown are available above, but best of luck. Should be plenty on google on him, assuming it is the same person.

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