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June – Patent 1

EP1022720 EP1022720 – Melody performance training apparatus

Advice on the reading of patent specifications:
  • The decisive element are the claims, as they specify which actions are forbidden within the framework of the patent.
  • Violating one single claim is sufficient to be considered a patent violation. Generally, claim number 1 is the decisive main claim which covers all other claims relating to special cases.
  • The description is intended to help the reader interpret the claim. At the same time, it is supposed to document and disclose the details of the invention. This disclosure is the original purpose of the entire patent system.
  • In practice, a patent specification contains no detailed information on how the patented procedure could be implemented (even if the patent owner allowed the implementation). In particular, a software patent contains no program code (reference implementation), but merely describes the idea of a software.

Patented idea: Reduce loudness as soon as the student plays a tone too early.

Main claim: A music student plays a musical instrument which is connected to a computer (e.g. by MIDI). The computer checks the piece of music (e.g. by comparing it with a MIDI-file) and reduces the loudness when the student a tone too early.

The original patent application referred to the idea, that the computer would detect the prematurely played tone in the first place. The granted claim includes the constraint that the computer reacts with turning down the loudness.

Further claims:

  • The program on data carrier..

Description: The patent specification reveals the idea that a music student will realize from a tone being turned down that something is wrong with his playing.

Everyday parallel: A piano teacher knows that his student tends to play a determinate tone too early. He locks the key and releases it in the right moment.

Examples for patent infringements: There are available a number of computer-based training programs for MIDI musical unstruments which also offer "interactive features" It is a matter of luck whether such a software infringes the patent or alternatively produces a red warning warning light as response to a preamature tone .

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