James Chandler Jr
jchandjr at bellsouth.net
Fri Oct 13 18:50:44 EDT 2000
> I feel the need to pipe in and mention that a patent is only
> good if it is litigated against - and the US (as are all WIPO
> countries) is a first-to-invent country.
> If you can *prove* that you invented something first through
> documentation you can theoretically get them on infringement too...
Yes, one should be safe if prior art can be proved.
I never want to get involved with lawyers and patents. A few hours of
lawyer-time can cost much more than a nice computer, synthesizer or guitar.
It is a counter-productive way to spend one's time, money, and energy (G).
Don Lancaster, the guy who wrote such brilliant tomes as "Active Filter
Cookbook" and "CMOS Cookbook", wrote articles re the small company vas
patents. Dunno if his advice was wise, but it had the "ring of truth" to my
gullible and unsophisticated mind...
Lancaster said that the only parties who benefit from patents are big
companies and/or industry insiders...
If you have modest means the patent is worthless because you can't afford to
If you patent an idea that doesn't fit squarely in your specialty field, you
will likely have a useless patent that no one wants, or a useless patent for
an old idea that is well known (and long discarded).
Regarding accidental infringement of 'obvious' patents, his advice was--
Build and sell your device and don't worry much about obvious ideas.
If somebody decides you have infringed, and contacts you, avoid discussing
the issue. Discussion will usually make matters worse, and anything you say
or write will supply ammo which can be used against you in court. Keep on
doing your thing.
If you receive an official cease-and-desist order, immediately cease and
desist, and then figure out another way to build your device which doesn't
infringe the patent.
I suppose if you were heavily invested in an idea and could prove prior art,
it would be worth calling out the lawyers rather than backing down.
Patents are such a potential minefield. Some 'obvious' MIDI minefield
The Oberheim MIDI Strummer patent.
The patent on a sequencer which modifies its playback tempo in response to
user 'conductor' gestures.
The patent on a patch mapper which can convert a sequence written on synth
A, to play properly on synth B. How the heck did that one ever get past the
Was briefly perusing the patents on peak limiters, and it appears virtually
impossible to write a peak limiter that doesn't technically infringe
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