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Rotary Power International?
Submitted by No Rotor on Monday, October 18, 2004 - 5:25amGeneral Discussion

RPI was supposed to be at a Boat show with some New! Any Day Now! stuff. Their site url has been rerouted to Spamville. Any ideas what's goin' on?

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subject:
Latest research on RPI and successors
author:
date:
June 19, 2007 - 9:28pm
Recently I have been digging more into the RPI saga and what happened around 2002-2003, and have also tried to find info on the entity called "Rotary Engines, Inc." (REI) that Nova (now Encompass Holdings) acquired. REI purportedly had the rights to the Curtiss-Wright/John Deere/RPI rotary technology.

What got me interested is an off-the-record comment someone who had had contact with former RPI personnel made to me. This person said that RPI higher-ups had intended from the beginning to make an initial public offering (IPO) of stock, cash out, and walk away, leaving the company floundering and almost certain to fold. In any event RPI did flounder and go kaput anyway. The stock is worth zero, as those of you who held it undoubtedly know.

My studies of the available SEC reports online had already raised as many questions as answers and also painted a dismal picture of the company. RPI had had just a few employees for several years before the end in 2003. It was always in the red. Yet it had money to acquire stakes in other companies, including Alturdyne (which continues to operate), as well as a gold mine in Africa right before the end. I'm no expert in financial paperwork, but what I did see made even me as a layman smell a rat. I have hard copies of everything I found. The IPO comment made above simply cinched the suspicions I already had.

My contacts with RPI several years ago and later with Alturdyne—for research for my now-dead rotary engine reference book, R.I.P.—aroused suspicion about who I was and led to a lack of cooperation. (Alturdyne, which is run by an ex-C-W person who claimed to have several old C-W rotary engines, implied it wanted payment for cooperation. How it survived RPI's involvement isn't clear. I could say more about that concern since doing more digging, but this isn't the place.) The most bizarre thing of all is the involvement of PowerCold, whose role in the later years of RPI isn't completely clear. The PowerCold website as recently as last year claimed that it was able to offer the SCORE rotaries.

To judge from forum comments by people linked to RPI in 2002-2003 on RagingBull.quote.com, many things were wrong at RPI then. One person who claimed to have a great deal of supporting documentation and direct knowledge of events there said that only one Series 70 SCORE engine, nicknamed "Old Smokey", was running during the boat show in Florida in late 2002. The other engines on display at the show were wooden mockups. No other Series 70 engines were able to run during that time, and Old Smokey suffered a failure after a few hours of running. Allegedly no Series 580 engine ran then either.

Another person made these sarcastic comments on the forum: "I've got a novel new view that everyone seems to miss. It took me years of studying economics and marketing to realize that if you don't have a product you probably aren't going to have an income stream and your stock eventually becomes worthless. Sales have been off a little at R.P.I." (message 881, 4 February 2003). On 16 July 2003 another poster noted that the RPI website was gone. It was over.

One investment advisor whom I will not name, who had visited RPI just before the boat show, had had a website online with a few selected pictures, talking up RPI but noting that he couldn't show or discuss more because of RPI's ever-present confidentiality agreement. He tried to silence people on the RagingBull forum by reminding them of such agreements employees and consultants signed. But as other posters noted, such agreements are unenforceable when the company is going down the tubes and when criminal wrongdoing by the company might be involved. Also, consultants and vendors alleged they never received payment for their services, or in some cases got partial payment in worthless RPI shares.

Concerning the confidentiality hogwash, an old joke about the Soviet Union seems appropriate here. Kuznetsov, an engineer who works in weapons systems, seeks to emigrate from the Soviet Union. An official tells him, "Comrade, we cannot let you leave: you know a state secret about your field." Kuznetsov protests, "What state secret, comrade? We are twenty years behind the Americans in this field!" The official responds, "Comrade Kuznetsov, that is the state secret!" I have already posted on these forums that patent awards came to an abrupt halt when RPI took over from John Deere. C-W and JDTI combined received over 100 patents; RPI got one—and it had been in the works under Deere. By the late 1990s there would seem to have been little money for further development or for production of the SCORE engines, especially if RPI were being systematically looted. Maybe that was the big secret mandating confidentiality!

Several posts alleged wrongdoing by Ron McKeown and raised questions about the legitimacy of the involvement of Londonderry Capital Structuring and the proposed move of production to New Brunswick, Canada. McKeown was president of Londonderry. My e-mails to him years ago bounced back.

I am not in a position to judge this here, but numerous different posters have accused various RPI corporate officers of playing games to snow investors and creditors. If you wish to pursue this, search for the SEC filings for RPIN (the ticker for RPI) and browse postings 842-1018 on RagingBull.quote.com.

Now we seem to have a repeat performance with Encompass (ticker ECMH). Its stock is below a penny a share. There have been allegations made, likewise on RagingBull, that REI actually stole RPI rotary engine technology when it should have gone to satisfy RPI's creditors. When the Nova notice appeared here on RotaryNews.com, I tried to e-mail the company and Art Robins at their given addresses for more info, but as with Londonderry, all my e-mails came back as undeliverable. Correspondence by mail went unanswered too. No info about REI was available online except that it was incorporated in Delaware, a favorite state for questionable "corporations"—as no physical presence is necessary to incorporate there. As of this year REI appears as an entity linked to Encompass; Robins's name appears on the pertinent 2007 SEC filings. But it appears that the X-board and other rotary-powered goodies are dead or on indefinite hold, and posters on RagingBull say they are bailing out and selling their ECMH stock. They also allege wrongdoing. It seems like déjà vu all over again: RPIN in 2003, ECMH in 2007.

The Wankel seems to attract its share of charlatans who simply want to rip off some company and its investors, and to heck with a viable product. If you go back a little further, Norton was looted around 1990, which led to the demise of the rotary bikes. It was fortunate that UAV Engines Ltd and Mid-West Aero Engines were able to acquire the rotary tooling. But where will the C-W/JDTI/RPI tooling end up this time if Encompass folds?

In my humble opinion, here it all is in a nutshell. But if others have more details and can set things straight, I'd like to see their responses. In the meantime, lots of large rodents seem to be leaving their scent all over this saga.
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subject:
So who holds the US license?
author:
date:
November 10, 2007 - 3:53pm
I don't really know much about patenting/licensing, so this story brings up the question: Who now holds the US patents (is this different from licensing?) to the rotary? If Curtiss-Wright sold the patents to John Deere, who then sold them to R.P.I., who may now be defunct, are the patents now null and void, or are they in another dimension shifting through time and space?! Did curtiss-wright or John-Deere just sell the patents, but not the licensing rights (Is that possible?) Does this possibly mean that Mazda would be able to sell Crate motors because there is no longer the need to pay licensing fees? ;)
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subject:
Patents and licensing: Response to Madcows
author:
date:
November 12, 2007 - 8:49pm
You buy a license to enable use of patented inventions or of trade secrets. (The difference is that trade secrets are not patented. This prevents them from being revealed or publicized, as they would have to be once a patent is published. The formula for Coca-Cola is a trade secret and has therefore never been patented.) Once the patent expires, the license generally ends. The licensee and anyone else can then use the invention without having to pay the original patent holder.

There are a lot of hogwash stories about companies "buying" patents to "keep them off the market". It's all utter hogwash, though a trade secret that was never patented would be a different issue. Anyone can look at a patent and get a copy of it once it's published, since it must remain a public record. You have to be able to ensure that your invention does not duplicate someone else's, so issued patents cannot be "hidden". The idea that the oil companies bought the fabled, fuel-thrifty Fish carburetor patents to prevent their use is ridiculous, as anyone could refer to the patents and build the carburetor once they expired—which did happen in the early 1970s. I've looked at the Fish patents myself. There's nothing hidden. Have at it if you want to build those carburetors.

The Wankel licensing arrangement collapsed in the early 1980s as the original patents on basic aspects of the engine expired. In fact, the last licenses with Wankel GmbH were signed as far back as the mid-1970s as manufacturers lost interest in the engine because of the overall economy and the 1973-1974 oil crisis.

Patents were then good for 17 years (20 since the mid-1990s). Only a handful of very specific patents for very specific details remain in effect from the John Deere/RPI days, the last of these issued in 1992. Who would own the rights these days isn't entirely clear, but I suspect that Encompass Holdings would claim it does. My hunch is that someone else whom I'd prefer not to name actually owns the rights instead.

Once a patent expires, nothing legally prevents someone from copying the invention—quite the contrary, as the intent of this time limit is to encourage improvements to inventions and general technological advancement.

Nothing stops Mazda from selling crate engines if it chooses. In fact, Mazda has long made "crate engines" available to certain customers for certain industrial and other uses. The old 12A remained in production in limited numbers in Japan until late 1991 partly for this reason (also, a few Japanese-spec car models still showed the 12A as available, though production numbers had to have been very small).

The answer as to why we don't see RENESIS engines for sale at your local speed shop or in Summit or Jeg's catalogues probably has much to do with liability to Mazda, limited potential applications, and factory production capacity. Just my guess.

Hope this helps.
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subject:
"Ron McKeown"
author:
date:
June 24, 2007 - 11:23am
I wanted to wait a few days to see if anyone else would post.

If you Google "Ron McKeown" and "Londonderry", you can get a good start on seeing what has happened.

I have had some contact with Alturdyne but remain neutral with respect to this company. I just don't know what is going on

Rotamax, Freedom and Moller: Who knows?

Meanwhile, Norton Motors is hanging on, doing repair and upgrades to a limited number (~ 1000) of rotary motorcycles.

And Brian Crighton will demonstrate the NRV-588 Norton in the next few weeks at the VMCC rally.

Maybe it is a miracle that Mazda has stayed the course this long.

CW
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subject:
Rotary Engines
author:
date:
September 11, 2006 - 10:30am
There are many questions about why improved Wankel Engines are not mass produced and on the market. Possibly some new innovation is being researched that will solve the fossil fuel and pollution problems. see>> www.ecoengines.us
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subject:
Sport AT versus 6 Speed
author:
date:
October 29, 2004 - 5:30pm
Whats been your expereince with the paddle shifters, are they for real or just a gimic?... thanx
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subject:
RE: Rotary Power International
author:
No Rotor
date:
October 26, 2004 - 11:04pm
The company is in the dark, no money, no nothing anylonger.

There is however a new company group emerged from the old RPI with some of the previous shareholders witch is working on rotary engines. One of these companies is estblished in Florida and is called Rotary Power Inc. (www.rotarypowerinc.com) and another is in Norway, Rothor Advanced Power AS (www.rothor.com - still under construction..)
They are both working on the marine marked products.

Rgds, Rothor
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subject:
RPIN
author:
No Rotor
date:
November 28, 2004 - 7:27pm
I am a large shareholder in RPIN...another sucker I guess. Ron does not return any calls from Canada. Any info on this Florida group?
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subject:
more RPI info
author:
date:
January 14, 2005 - 12:02pm
Not sure if this is old news for all of you, but check out:

U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 1996
Rotary Power International, Inc.

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/914539/0000950115-97-000445.txt
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subject:
RPI and its stock
author:
date:
November 29, 2004 - 8:34am
Rotary Power International (RPI) in New Jersey is, or seems to be, defunct. Its website went down for good sometime in the summer of 2003. In late 2002 its stock went off NASDAQ onto the pink "junk" sheets after the company missed a filing deadline. Today one of its shares is worth a fraction of a US cent.

In my opinion, when all is said and done, I suspect that the RPI saga will turn out to have been a means for one or two people to fill their pockets at others' expense. Something similar happened at one point with Norton in Britain during the years of rotary bike production.

Something about RPI had bothered me for a long time anyway. Getting info in the mid-1990s was like pulling teeth. Its people seemed suspicious of who I was and wanted to know whom I was affiliated with when I asked questions for a Wankel book I had once planned. (Couldn't interest a publisher and don't have the money for self-publishing, so there it goes. Have given up the project after 20 years of research.) Employees and investors were required to sign nondisclosure forms, even though its activities and developments had been well publicized and documented in technical reports.

I was in touch with Alturdyne in California, and one of its people had been at Curtiss-Wright for years and claimed to have many old C-W prototype engines. He, too, was suspicious of me and would not respond to further e-mails. In his first and only e-mail he had demanded "credit" and by implication monetary payments to cooperate with information about Alturdyne and his knowledge of C-W rotary operations. Such suspicion of outsiders must have been part of the corporate culture with the rotary operations in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey. Or maybe it was something in the water up there. Or something...

Patent info gave a bad sign. When Curtiss-Wright ran the rotary operation, its employees patented dozens of developments. Same story after John Deere took it over in 1984, up until the last couple of years before selling it to RPI in 1991. After RPI assumed control, only ONE US patent appeared, and that had been in the works while Deere still ran the show. When the number of patents applied for drops off, either a company has suspended development because of trouble or else it has decided to be secretive since patents are public record. Despite the nondisclosure garbage, it isn't too hard to figure out which of these scenarios applies to RPI.

After 1996, operations at RPI were at a virtual standstill as reflected in financial reports filed with regulatory agencies, except for a brief burst of activity in 2000-2002. That burst ended after the boat show in Florida in late 2002 when the stock went on the pink sheets. The last updates to the RPI website were in May 2003. After that, oblivion. PRI had ties to PowerCold, which still seems to be in business, but what the status of the rotary operation is has not been made clear. It isn't too hard to guess, though.

Too bad. I had thought at one time of investing in RPI. Boy, am I glad I didn't. Sorry you got burned.
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subject:
RPI et. al.
author:
No Rotor
date:
November 30, 2004 - 7:16am
Thank you very much!!! Great post!!!
One question:
Is there any reason why *Some Company Somewhere* hasn't actually PRODUCED a Direct Injected Stratified Charge engine for sale? Is there some flaw or chronic problem that just hasn't been overcome that causes CEOs to stop development just as the engine reaches production stage? I have SAE papers from C-W (Mid 80s!) showing Direct injection with hot rotor inserts. What happened??!?
Or is this - *sigh* - Strictly Business? (Come to think of it, why hasn't Mazda gone this route?)
Thanx again...
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subject:
RPI et al.
author:
date:
November 30, 2004 - 3:39pm
Don't know of any reason that no one has produced a direct-injection stratified charge rotary for commercial use. The results were very promising. Projected fuel efficiency was at least as good as the best piston engines for aircraft applications. If PowerCold is indeed still offering the C-W/RPI large rotary, it would have this technology, at least the stratified charge aspect.

Mazda is trying to keep cost down, I suspect, which is why it hasn't yet used either technology in production. Also, the patents that C-W/John Deere had will be an issue until they expire over the next several years. Also note that NASA Glenn (formerly NASA Lewis) in Cleveland and the Defense Department were providing a lot of support for C-W, JDTI, and finally RPI. The company was never quite all alone in developing the SCORE series of engines. The implied primary customer was always the US government. True commercial viability was secondary at best. Hence the problem . . .

C-W, in my opinion, was never fully serious about producing more than token quantities of these engines, and my understanding is that the operation in New Jersey was not set up very well for widescale manufacturing and production. By that I mean producing many thousands per year. John Deere's 1980s literature for the SCORE definitely emphasized government applications—not so much the commercial end.

RPI's phone number listed in Whitepages.com had a Verizon (phone company) voice mail message when I called the Wood-Ridge number today. That confirms to me that the company really is defunct. Also, three other businesses have the same street address as RPI, which means that there are several offices in one building. RPI just had part of the building, which C-W still owns. (One of the issues that came up in the online financial reports on RPI was back rent owed C-W.) C-W still maintains a facility down the same road. My perception is that C-W was using the whole building when it ran the rotary engine operation before 1984, but this may be wrong.

The technology in the RPI engines is too good to die. I hope someone else will pick up the ball. What is incredibly frustrating is that so many companies have toyed with the Wankel, developed interesting variations and applications, and then abandoned the engine just as it was ready to take off. I'm thinking of the two-stage Rolls-Royce diesel Wankel here, among other things, but that too was a government project: for British military tanks. RPI is simply yet another example of this process.
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subject:
Wankel Supertec
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 1, 2004 - 4:37am
One more note:
http://wankelsupertec.de
appears to be a German company building Stratified Charge rotaries. They appear to have a working line of engines just waiting for someone to ...
Well, you know.

Thanx, everyone. Great thread.
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subject:
RPI
author:
date:
November 29, 2004 - 8:38am
Just a quick note: Any info anyone has on RPI and its affiliates would be greatly appreciated. My account of my experiences with RPI above has the best info I have, but more is never enough.
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subject:
RPI
author:
date:
January 22, 2006 - 2:56pm
Back in early May, 2003, I had a conversation with Larry Cooper, the CEO of RPI at that time, who told me that the SCORE stratified charge technology was not "economically feasible" for automotive applications, and for that reason Mazda was not interested. According to Cooper, RPI was only pursuing "marine and power industries (because of the convenience of supplying fuel to these applications)". I'm still wondering why no use in cars, and of course, RPI went dead soon after.
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subject:
I've been trying to unload RP
author:
date:
January 25, 2007 - 7:57am
I've been trying to unload RPIN stock for over a year now just so that I can take the deduction...but of course no one has picked it up.

Any advice for a suckered stockholder?

Thanks!
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subject:
Thank you!
author:
date:
January 23, 2006 - 7:08am
At last. A real answer.
Thank you.
This goes a long way to answering what was kept and what was dropped when Curtiss-Wright sold their interests to John Deere and then JD-> RPI.
The SAE papers (See #770044) tells of emissions breakthrough with the "Hot Rotor" insert. After the change(s) in rights ownership, the hot rotor is not explored much further.
So, it appears that a process of consolidation was accomplished, at which time the production cost was still considered too high.
Yes?

Thanx again,
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subject:
RPI
author:
date:
January 14, 2005 - 8:57am
Hi all!
Just visiting your' site when I saw the interest in RPI. I recently did some digging to find out what happened to them because of my interest in a different type of rotary that was affiliated with them. It's a twisted path, but by following the links you can see the different directions that RPI was taken. Here's the links:

http://www.monito.com/wankel/rpi.html

http://www.powercold.com/filings/2001-4q.htm

........and just in case anyone is interested, here's the link to another kind of rotary, completely different.

http://radmax.easyitis.net/

The best to all,
cuzzin fuzz
Ü
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subject:
RPI et al.
author:
date:
November 30, 2004 - 3:51pm
One more quick comment to arouse suspicion about RPI's intent: When RPI took over in 1991, certain lines of development with NASA Lewis (now NASA Glenn) came to an abrupt end, and it wasn't NASA that pulled the plug. I have certain government technical reports from the period that mention how these projects were about to end because of the RPI takeover, even though the projects had been scheduled to continue under John Deere. Yet those activities had been the rotary engine operation's bread and butter! Refer to my original post above about the RPI saga. In my opinion, someone had to have made out like a bandit and then gotten out.
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subject:
RPI stock
author:
No Rotor
date:
November 12, 2004 - 10:28pm
I wonder if my RPI (RPIN)stock is worth now? Did it transfer to RP Inc.? Probably a tax write-off I guess.

Thanks, David
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subject:
RPI...
author:
No Rotor
date:
November 2, 2004 - 7:02am
Thanx!!!
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