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AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON pitch detection - This issued patent from Overtone Labs seeks to patent the idea of...pitch detection for resonance tuning of a musical instrument. 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents. Follow @askpatents on twitter to help.

A new method patent was granted in August of 2013 which is extremely dangerous. The patent is being asserted against a small veteran-owned company which released an app. Other apps have fearfully withdrawn from global app markets as a result of this patent.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before 11/30/2011 that discusses:

  • Using power spectral analysis to tune musical instruments.

Please review Patent US8502060 The app that is being sued is being forced into cease and desist and black out social media communities 60,000 musicians strong.

Claims 1 & 13 are particularly concerning.

1: A method for resonance tuning, comprising:

  • Receiving a signal in response to a resonance of a structure;
  • Determining a frequency or musical note related to an overtone from the signal;
  • Selecting the frequency or musical note related to the overtone as a filter mode reference frequency or musical note; and
  • Suppressing a display of frequencies or musical notes from a subsequent signal that deviate from the filter mode reference frequency or musical note by a predetermined threshold.

.

13: A method for pitch detection, comprising:

  • Providing one or more power spectrum frequency samples;

  • Selecting a frequency in a frequency band having a largest power spectrum magnitude from the one or more power spectrum frequency samples, the frequency band having an upper frequency limit and a lower frequency limit.


"A schematic view of an embodiment of the Pitch Estimator"

FIG. 16 cited by applicant in Supplemental Examination Support Doc as providing support for Claim 13. (annotation emphasis added)

What is good prior art? Please see our FAQ.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below. We welcome you to post your own request for prior art on other questionable US Patent Applications.


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I'm not a subject matter expert here but isn't it strange that the applications was filed on 2/15/13 and allowed three months later (5/28/13)? No initial rejection, no changes to the claims. It's not plausible to me that, for example, claim 13 should have been allowed over prior art. I can see why OP posted this prior art request. Any indication in the file history how this could have happened? –  Micah Siegel Dec 11 '13 at 4:57
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It's an expedited prosecution where the Patent office relies on a prior art search by applicant where the applicant supplies the PTO with the best art they could find and says why their claims are patentable over the prior art. In this case, they were UNABLE TO FIND PRIOR ART FOR PEAK DETECTION which strains credulity!!! –  Frank-n'Grind Dec 11 '13 at 16:47
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Luckily, the prosecution history is public record and available at USPTO.gov under public pair. The most recent Examination Support Document (starting at page 5) is the most fun... tied by the Examiner's reasons for allowance in the Notice of Allowance. HOW IS PEAK DETECTION NOVEL, let alone not obvious??!? –  Frank-n'Grind Dec 11 '13 at 18:51
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It's inequitable that there's NO means to respond to a patent suit without a small business paying on the order of $30,000??? Patent attorneys + litigation counsel aren't cheap and neither is instigating a Reexam proceeding (another $6000; micro-entity doesn't apply for 3rd party requesters). –  Frank-n'Grind Dec 11 '13 at 18:55
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A change.org petition was started if anyone is interested. I find this a compelling story. tinyurl.com/kyh4gqx –  Robert Tesla III Dec 24 '13 at 19:44
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44 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Non-Cited Prior Art Found

I find it amusing that Jesse Aronstein was mentioned via patent US4741242 in the asserted US8502060 patent, yet Aronstein's US4457203 was not. I know that all inventors get a bug in them and never stop inventing. I know if you've ever had a patent, you want more. Why would you cite someone in your patent and not do your full research on them? Even the patent attorney who prepared this patent should have done so.

Let's have a look at US4457203 and US8502060 side by side.

'203 Abstract (year 1982):

ABSTRACT A sound signal automatic detector used in a system with a micro computer and display for automatically detecting an input sound wave, computing from the detected sound wave the fundamental frequency of the sound and displaying its value in a number of different formats. The sound signal detector requires no attention on the part of a musician or other user while it is in operation and comprises a sound signal transducer supplying an amplifier having audio frequency bandpass characteristics compatible with the sound signal frequency spectrum over which sound signals to be analyzed extend. The bandpass characteristics of the amplifier preferably are defined by a high pass filter stage followed by an automatic gain control amplifier that in turn is followed by two stages of low pass filtering. The low pass filter stages supply their output to an alternate positive peak voltage and negative peak voltage detector circuit that functions to derive an output signal which is representative of the fundamental frequency of a input sound wave being analyzed. The output from the automatic detection circuit is supplied to a micro computer which then processes the signal and derives a number of different display formats for use by an instrumentalist, vocalist, or other musician or like person producing the sound for analysis and instruction purposes.

'060 Abstract (year 2013):

Abstract Provided are systems and methods for resonance tuning. A signal is received in response to a resonance of a structure. A frequency or musical note related to an overtone is determined from the signal. The frequency or musical note related to the overtone is selected as a filter mode reference frequency or musical note. A display of frequencies or musical notes from a subsequent signal that deviate from the filter mode reference frequency or musical note by a predetermined threshold is suppressed.

I'm going to assume, since it's done quiet often that it's ok to paraphrase things and call them your own.

'203 Claim 1 (year 1982):

  1. A sound pitch automatic detection circuit comprising:

(a) sound signal transducer means responsive to a sound signal in the form of a note being played or voiced for converting the sound signal to an electrical signal having corresponding audio frequency characteristics and a generally sinusoidally varying waveshape;

(b) amplifier means having audio frequency bandpass characteristics compatible with the sound signal frequency spectrum over which the sound signal extends and for amplifying the electrical signals derived by said transducer means;

(c) alternate positive polarity and negative polarity peak voltage detector means continuously responsive to the output from said amplifier means for detecting the first major positive going peak voltage and the first major negative going peak voltage which exceed respective positive and negative threshold voltage values and occurring in each fundamental period of the generally sinusoidally varying waveshape electric signal; and

(d) output circuit means responsive to the output from said alternate positive polarity and negative polarity peak voltage detector means for deriving an output electric signal representative of the fundamental frequency of the sound signal.

....

This is what I consider a well worded higher quality patent. It does not obscure or over broaden its claims.

'060 Claim 1 (year 2013):

  1. A method for resonance tuning, comprising: receiving a signal in response to a resonance of a structure; determining a frequency or musical note related to an overtone from the signal; selecting the frequency or musical note related to the overtone as a filter mode reference frequency or musical note; and suppressing a display of frequencies or musical notes from a subsequent signal that deviate from the filter mode reference frequency or musical note by a predetermined threshold.

  2. The method of claim 1, further comprising: displaying the frequency or musical note of the overtone as the filter mode reference frequency or musical note.

  3. The method of claim 1, wherein suppressing the frequencies or musical notes from a subsequent signal that deviate from the filter mode reference frequency or musical note by a predetermined threshold includes filtering the frequencies or musical notes of the subsequent signal to reject overtones or a fundamental tone.

  4. The method of claim 1, further comprising providing a bandpass filter centered at the filter mode reference frequency or musical note with a passband bandwidth extending from a predetermined frequency or frequency ratio below the filter mode reference frequency or musical note to a predetermined frequency or frequency ratio above the filter mode reference frequency or musical note, and suppressing frequencies that are outside of the passband bandwidth.

  5. The method of claim 1, wherein suppressing the frequencies from a subsequent signal that deviate from the filter mode reference frequency by a predetermined threshold includes limiting the start and stop frequencies of a frequency band used in a peak selection.

....

I believe Aronstein demonstrated this in his claims

Here's two diagrams from each patent side by side. What concerns me is the '060 diagram has a simple component to accomplish peak selection, and Aronstein actually drew out the operation of his simple component in expanded form. Again, I suppose it's ok to "paraphrase" or simplify by obscuring something and calling it your own?

'203 Figure 1 (Year 1982):

'203 Figure 1 (Year 1982)

'060 Figure 5 (Year 2011/2013):

'060 Figure 5 (Year 2011/2013)

US4457203 (1982) Summary

  • Musical Instrument Tuner - Reads Frequencies
  • Bandpass the target frequency to remove unwanted sound
  • When sound is above a level, a peak is detected
  • Sound above level is estimated
  • estimated pitch is displayed via several formats, to include difference from target.
  • All other pitches are suppressed

US8502060 (2011/2013) Summary

  • Musical Instrument Tuner - Reads Frequencies
  • Bandpass the target frequency to remove unwanted sound
  • When sound is above a level, a peak is detected
  • Sound above level is estimated
  • estimated pitch is displayed via several formats, to include difference from target.
  • All other pitches are suppressed

There's several claims in the US4457203 that were not cited as prior art to the US8502060 patent that will be easy to invalidate 1 if not all claims in the 060. I will revise this answer for more, yet I can't see the need other than for public consumption. I don't see anything novel with the 060 patent considering it's been done for years.

I still find it strikingly odd that Aronstein's '242 patent was cited on the '060 patent but his '203 was not. Coincidence?

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BINGO! Great work! I had that one on my list. David G. Ellis, Steve A. Schoenberg (co-inventors with Jesse Aronstein) have some great patents too! –  Aron Stein Dec 15 '13 at 19:13
    
It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time! –  Tyler Ulrich Dec 15 '13 at 19:14
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The more I visualize this, the more I find it to be a silver bullet to the '060 patent. I'm curious to the motives behind not including it in the patent. I smell burnt toast here. Rule 11. –  Robert Tesla III Dec 17 '13 at 14:58
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OUCH!!! This is a done deal. –  Audio Sniper Dec 17 '13 at 20:11
    
This is interesting. I reviewed this patent again, and it's a deadlock to me. What is more fascinating is how many times patent examiners have cited this patent in relation to pitch detection devices, which could also be used as prior art to invalidate '060. There's a breeding ground of non-cited patents: google.com/patents/US4457203#forward-citations –  Robert Tesla III Dec 21 '13 at 20:02
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Cited Prior Art - Useful for Reexamination

US Patent Application: US20100212475

Dr Rob Toulson, Priority Date July 13, 2007

This patent is being explored and compared here, for the possibility of reexamination.

MPEP 2216 says "The legal standard for ordering ex parte reexamination, as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 303(a), requires a substantial new question of patentability. The substantial new question of patentability may be based on art previously considered by the Office if the reference is presented in a new light or a different way that escaped review during earlier examination."

Since there is substantial new question of patentability already outlined on this site, this is a breakdown of Dr Rob Toulson's work. Toulson states that he abandoned the patent due to too much prior art.

US20100212475 (2007) Abstract

A device for tuning a percussion instrument or training a voice has a processor which is adapted to receive an electronic signal corresponding to an acoustic impulse produced by the percussion instrument or voice. The processor is further adapted to analyse the signal to generate one or more characteristics of the signal. The device also has a display connected to the processor which displays the generated characteristics. The one or more characteristics include any one or any combination of a time-domain characteristic of the signal, a plurality of fundamental and/or harmonic frequencies of the signal, and a frequency spectrum of the signal.

us8502060 (2011) Abstract

Provided are systems and methods for resonance tuning. A signal is received in response to a resonance of a structure. A frequency or musical note related to an overtone is determined from the signal. The frequency or musical note related to the overtone is selected as a filter mode reference frequency or musical note. A display of frequencies or musical notes from a subsequent signal that deviate from the filter mode reference frequency or musical note by a predetermined threshold is suppressed.

I find it difficult to distinguish a difference. Toulson states:

A device for tuning a percussion instrument or training a voice has a processor which is adapted to receive an electronic signal corresponding to an acoustic impulse produced by the percussion instrument or voice.

And

The processor is further adapted to analyse the signal to generate one or more characteristics of the signal.

This could also be an over broad way of describing it, yet simple research into Toulson's work which was highly publicized in the audio field, journals, and even live presentations near Boston, MA (where the '060 patentee resides) would clearly indicate that Toulson used Peak Selection, Bandpass Filtering, and more exactly as later patented, produced, sold, and asserted on one app. Toulson is also the creator of iDrumTune app which has been out since 4/20/2012. A simple look at the '060 revision dates and you'll see that even his idea was later covered in this patent by the methods.

Percussionalyzer - Software Demonstrated worldwide, US and near Boston, MA

Dr Rob Toulson wrote a blog post on his thoughts in Nov, 2013. A few quotes:

From Quantitative Drum Tuning Blog Post - Nov, 2013

Wow - the world of drum tuning has changed very rapidly this year, but for me it's been a long time coming. Back in 2005 I started a research project to analyse drums with the intention of scientifically quantifying what was in and out of tune. To do this I wrote a piece of software which I called Percussionizer and started to demonstrate this software internationally in 2008. Percussionizer could do many novel and advanced things for analysing and tuning drums - it could record and display a drum hit and tell you the fundamental and most prominent overtone frequencies. It would tell you which musical pitch the drums were tuned to. It allowed you to set a target frequency which would bandpass filter a window around that target, removing noise and allowing the user to home in on their preferred sound. It had a mode for equalising or clearing the drumhead, which allowed you to take a number of bandpass filtered readings from around the edge of the drum and showed you the results.

He later states in this blog post:

I first demonstrated Percussionizer internationally at The Art of Record Production conference in Lowell (near Boston, Massachusetts) in 2008 and my article was published subsequently in their Journal in 2009 - "The perception and importance of drum tuning in live performance and music production". In 2009 I then showcased the Percussionizer software at the world's largest Audio Engineering Society Conference in New York. Here I gave a 90 minute tutorial to a huge audience of people interested in drum tuning and percussion acoustics (see here). During the tutorial I discussed the importance of drum tuning, described the fundamental vibration science and demonstrated the Percussionizer software in its entirety. It was a fantastic event and the audience were excited to see my novel approach to tuning and analysis. This tutorial was audio recorded and can be purchased from the AES website here. I also published my tutorial slides on my own website here. At the end of the tutorial I explained that my next step was to develop an iPhone app, which would bring this software to a mass marketplace. More recently I've presented my drum and drum tuning research in the UK in 2010 "Fine tuning percussion – a new educational approach" and in the highest regarded acoustics journal in the world, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America "Analysis and manipulation of the modal ratios of cylindrical drums". A number of my publications have been in collaboration with Dr Phill Richardson, of Cambridge University, who's PhD I supervised in exactly this field of quantitative drum tuning - he's an international expert in all this too!

Prior to demonstrating my software I applied for a worldwide patent on the new drum tuning approach - method, software and apparatus. The patent was first applied for in 2007 and went fully public in 2010. Here, you can read my patent - Tuning or Training Device - which covers all the aspects of the Percussionizer software and hardware design.

Toulson released his iDrumTune App on 4/20/2012 pre-dating the iDrumTech App (2/8/2013) and pre-dating the revisions of the '060 patent on 2/15/2013.

iDrumTune App - First Released 04/20/2012

How Was This Prior Art Allowed?

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Ironic, Claim 13 vs Claim 13: A computer program product carrying a computer program for: receiving an electronic signal corresponding to an acoustic impulse produced by a percussion instrument; analyzing the signal to generate one or more characteristics of the signal; and instructing a display to display the generated characteristics; wherein the one or more characteristics include any one or any combination of: a time-domain characteristic of the signal, a plurality of fundamental and/or harmonic frequencies of the signal, and a frequency spectrum of the signal. –  Aron Stein Dec 12 '13 at 3:36
    
It has the same goal but tries to achieve it in a completely different manner. In fact this reference "teaches away" from the patent in question by saying that using a single frequency for tuning is bad and that, instead of the frequency domain, a time domain analysis the key to tuning. –  George White Dec 12 '13 at 4:06
    
Welcome to ask patents. Answers that are primarily links are not the preferred style in any Stack Exchange site. We would like readers of an answer to get significant content without following a link. –  George White Dec 12 '13 at 4:09
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What does Toulson think about this? It would be nice if he weighed in. –  Audio Sniper Dec 17 '13 at 20:08
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Unfortunately the 20100212475 by Toulson is listed on the face of the 8502060 patent. AFAIK that means that there is a presumption (albeit rebuttable) that this document was reviewed by the Patent Examiner and that the CLAIMS of the 8502060 application were nonetheless patentably novel and nonobvious over the Toulson reference.* In a normal 3rd party ex parte requested reexam, I don't believe that this reference can be used to raise the substantial new question of patentability required to actually open a reexam, IIRC.* HOWEVER, if the Director of Patents or her delegates Commissioner Focarino or Deputy Commissioner Hirshcfeld (or Office of Patent Quality Review) ((OR ANY EXAMINER)) were to sua sponte notice Claim 13 as prima facie invalid and under the Director's prerogative instigate a reexam, then nothing stops them from reconsidering the Toulson reference. BUT, at least with respect to Claim 13, it sure seems that performing a simple (Peak detection==loudest frequency band) of a Fourier transform (frequency spectrum) would anticipate if before 2011? or infringe if after Aug 2012??? Any highschool AP math students out there to confirm this? :) Sure seems that (aside from the computer processor in the claim -- oh right, nevermind) anyone subconsciously focusing on the characteristic timbre of a particular speaker in a cocktail party would infringe OR anticipate if anyone can find proof of a cocktail party conversation actually occurring before 2011?

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MPEP 2216 says "The legal standard for ordering ex parte reexamination, as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 303(a), requires a substantial new question of patentability. The substantial new question of patentability may be based on art previously considered by the Office if the reference is presented in a new light or a different way that escaped review during earlier examination." So it is technically possible to cite art that has already been considered. –  George White Dec 13 '13 at 1:40
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I do believe the defendant demonstrated his prior art on Youtube in September 2010 as in this video. From his other videos, he teaches how to use Noise Gates, Filters, etc for drum recording and demonstrates the differences. In this video, the same methods applied, standard audio DAW called Logic Pro by Apple and he's got the spectrum analyzers and frequency readouts right there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSTp9jKJpZU&feature=youtu.be&t=1m50s

Ironic isn't it how the patent applied for is for Drum Tuning, specifically in Spectral Analysis yet the gentleman who demonstrated it on YouTube in several videos before Nov 30, 2011 is being shut down and sued out of business for a method that can't technically be patented?

Concerned.

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Here's a video from a Book/DVD from 2004 called Sound Design. Cited as prior art on the patent, but interesting to say the least. Bob talks about sound being a sense, and the Attack and Fundamental of a drum. 31:30 just give that man 2 minutes. youtu.be/kM19VkXXJp4?t=31m30s –  Aron Stein Dec 13 '13 at 0:28
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Let's focus on the claims. That seems to be a more direct route. –  Tyler Ulrich Dec 16 '13 at 21:45
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Non-Cited Prior Art

4,608,993

Priority Date: Jul 31, 1984

After looking at this, it is my personal belief that there is a very strong possibility that every claim of the '060 Patent can be invalidated by an attorney. The easiest to invalidate is Claim 13. US Patent 4,608,993 is directed to a blood flow measurement device and method. On the face of it, how does a medical device relate to the '060 Patent? The '993 Patent states in the Abstract,

"The systems employ electronic techniques for providing accurate tracking of portions of the frequency spectra of Doppler shift signals to determine peak and means velocity and acceleration.”

The basic element of the system of the ‘993 patent determines a peak ultrasonic acoustic signal of a power spectra within a band and correlates this to a peak velocity. The system filters out the sound of unwanted sources, such as the heart, and detects the peak volume within a set band. The '993 Patent utilizes frequency detection or in other words pitch detection by initialization a filtering means and determines a peak value of a power spectra found by using a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT).

I am very confident that I can find references that could be used by an attorney to invalidate ALL of the claims of the '060 Patent, not just the independent claims.

To further clarify, Doppler, or Doppler Effect is essentially sound or light waves.

Doppler effect n. A change in the observed frequency of a wave, as of sound or light, occurring when the source and observer are in motion relative to each other, with the frequency increasing when the source and observer approach each other and decreasing when they move apart. The motion of the source causes a real shift in frequency of the wave, while the motion of the observer produces only an apparent shift in frequency. Also called Doppler shift.

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Nice answer! I like that.. FFT covers just about every measurement known to man. It's Public Domain too! –  Tyler Ulrich Dec 13 '13 at 4:39
    
FFT is a specific algorithm for computing a Fourier transform. Fourier proved that any repeating waveform in time could be equally expressed in the frequency domain. I'm sure there are thousands of specific inventions that make use of the FFT. –  George White Dec 13 '13 at 5:17
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This probably has claims that should never have been allowed, particular claim 13, but just saying "FFT" doesn't help. –  George White Dec 13 '13 at 5:19
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That's a very heartfelt example. The heart is a percussive instrument, and a resonant structure. –  Aron Stein Dec 15 '13 at 7:31
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I also find this US Patent US4688464 particularly fascinating. Filed January 16, 1986.

In it's abstract, it states:

A pitch detector is disclosed that automatically recognizes the pitch of musical notes quickly and outputs the pitch information in a variety of formats. The detector employs a microprocessor that samples the signal from a musical instrument or voice at regular intervals using an analog-to-digital converter and then utilizes both amplitude and time information from the waveform to determine the fundamental period of the note, while rejecting the harmonic components. The microprocessor analyzes the waveform looking for peaks that are approximately equal in amplitude separated by opposite polarity peaks. The time intervals between the peaks must be approximately equal too. Timing information is measured using more than one point on the waveform to avoid inaccuracies caused by temporary distortions of the waveform. The timing points are chosen at points where the slope of the waveform is high for substantially optimal accuracy. To filter out erroneous readings caused by pitch detection during note transition or noise, additional processing of the data is performed to cause a second corroborating reading to be taken when a note transition that is uncommon musically is detected.

Here's Claim 1, other claims can invalidate one or more of the '060 Patent claims easily.

  1. An apparatus, for determining the pitch of a substantially periodic audio input signal having one or more sinusoidal components forming a series of peaks of a given polarity that are separated by at least one peak of opposite polarity and that define at least one cycle of said signal, comprising: a first means for producing a plurality of overlapping, sample timing intervals from a portion of said input signal; a second means for producing an indication of the period of said input signal from said plurality of sample timing intervals; and a third means for converting said indication of said period of said input signal into a determination of the pitch of said input signal.
  2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said second means comprises: means for determining an average sample timing interval from selected ones of said sample timing intervals; and means for dividing said average sample timing interval by the number of cycles of said portion of said input signal that said sample timing intervals were produced from, to obtain an indication of the period of said input signal.
  3. The apparatus of claim 2, further comprising: means for identifying a substantially recurrent reference peak on said input signal, said reference peak separated in occurrence by a peak of opposite polarity and having an amplitude at least a predetermined percentage of the maximum peak amplitude of said input signal, said means for producing a plurality of sample timing intervals being responsive to the occurrence of said reference peak.

US4688464

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The peaks mentioned in the abstract are time domain peaks, not frequency domain peaks. –  George White Dec 13 '13 at 18:11
    
@GeorgeWhite how is time or frequency domain relevant when not identified in the claim? Either way, both are used to compute frequency analysis across tuners alike. link link –  Robert Tesla III Dec 13 '13 at 20:50
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The claims all refers to frequency, frequency bands, frequency power spectrum peaks, etc. The patent mentioned here says "microprocessor analyzes the waveform looking for peaks that are approximately equal in amplitude separated by opposite polarity peaks." These are waveform peaks.I do not particularly think the patent in question is very good but I am pointing out ways in which the references people have come up with may not actually be 100% on target. –  George White Dec 13 '13 at 21:39
    
I have a few patents I found and when I get time later I will post them. Regarding waveform / frequencies. They are contained within a wave. synthesizeracademy.com/harmonics "Different waveforms sound different. A sine wave sounds different than a square wave, which sounds different than the waveform that comes out of an accordion. All these waves have unique timbres because they have different harmonic content. A harmonic is basically a multiple of a fundamental frequency. For example, let’s say you’re playing a note with a frequency of 100Hz. That would be the 1st harmonic." –  Robert Tesla III Dec 13 '13 at 21:46
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Claim 13 of '060 recites "power spectrum frequency samples...selecting a frequency" these indicate a fourier transform to convert from timebased intensity graph to a graph of each component frequency's intensity.To anticipate claim 13 '060, somewhere within a prior art reference (not necessarily in its Claims) it must disclose each and every step claimed. Claim 13 recites freq spectrum(which is generally arrived at with FFT).So finding a ref that recvs a sound,FFT's it,&"selects"the most intense(loudest==highest magnitude==highest amplitude...)frequency anticipates& invalidates'060. –  Frank-n'Grind Dec 19 '13 at 18:50
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From my quick look at this, I can see that this is based on FFT Fast Fourier Transforms which is a public domain algorithm.

From "The FFT - an algorithm the whole family can use"

A paper by Cooley and Tukey [5] described a recipe for computing Fouri- er coecients of a time series that used many fewer machine operations than did the straightforward procedure...What lies over the horizon in digital signal processing is anyone's guess, but I think it will surprise us all.

We are surprised.

"It seems almost everyone knows that somehow all the data whizzing over the internet, bustling through our modems or crashing into our cell phones is ultimately just a sequence of 0's and 1's { a digital sequence { that magically makes the world the convenient high speed place it is today. So much of this magic is due to a family of algorithms that collectively go by the name "The Fast Fourier Transform", or "FFT" to its friends, among which the version published by Cooley and Tukey [5] is the most famous. Indeed, the FFT is perhaps the most ubiquitous algorithm used today in the analysis and manipulation of digital or discrete data."

So it's an obvious choice and the most common used data analysis algorithm known to man and it's in the Public Domain.

"My own research experience with various avors of the FFT is evidence of the wide range of applicability: electroacoustic music and audio signal processing, medical imaging, image processing, pattern recognition, computational chem- istry, error correcting codes, spectral methods for PDEs and last but not least, in mathematics, as the starting point of my doctoral dissertation in computa- tional harmonic analysis which investigated group theoretic generalizations of the Cooley-Tukey FFT. Of course many more could be listed, notably those to radar and communications. The book 2 is an excellent place to look, especially pages 2 and 3 which contain a (nonexhaustive) list of seventy-seven applications"

This was written in 1999.

"Despite these early discoveries of an FFT, it wasn't until Cooley and Tukey's article that the algorithm gained any notice. The story of their collaboration is an interesting one. Tukey arrived at the basic reduction while in a meeting of President Kennedy's Science Advisory Committee where among the topics of discussions were techniques for o-shore detection of nuclear tests in the Soviet Union. Ratication of a proposed United States/Soviet Union nuclear test ban depended upon the development of a method for detecting the tests without actually visiting the Soviet nuclear facilities. One idea was to analyze seismo- logical time series obtained from o-shore seismometers, the length and number of which would require fast algorithms for computing the DFT. Other possible applications to national security included the long-range acoustic detection of nuclear submarines."

So obviously, FFT was treated with the highest National Security in mind when it was discovered.

"Richard Garwin of IBM was another of the participants at this meeting and when Tukey showed him this idea he immediately saw a wide range of potential applicability and quickly set to getting this algorithm implemented. He was directed to Cooley, and, needing to hide the national security issues, instead told Cooley that he wanted the code for another problem of interest: the determination of the periodicities of the spin orientations in a 3-D crystal of He3. Cooley had other projects going on, and only after quite a lot of prodding did he sit down to program the "Cooley-Tukey" FFT. In short order, Cooley and Tukey prepared a paper which, for a mathematics/computer science paper, was published almost instantaneously (in six months!) [5]. This publication, as well as Garwin's fervent prosletizing, did a lot to help publicize the existence of this (apparently) new fast algorithm. (See also [4] and the introductory papers of [17] for more historical details."

So this obviously caught the eye of the government, along with IBM.

The timing of the announcement was such that now usage spread quickly. The roughly simultaneous development of analog to digital converters capable of producing digitized samples of a time-varying voltage at rates of 300,000 samples/second had already initiated something of a digital revolution, and was also providing scientists with heretofore unimagined quantities of digital data to analyze and manipulate (just as is the case today!). Even the standard applications of Fourier analysis as an analysis tool for waveforms or solving PDEs, meant that a priority there would be a tremendous interest in the algorithm. But even more, the ability to do this analysis quickly allowed scientists from new areas to try the DFT without having to invest too much time and energy in the exercise. I can do no better than to quote the introduction to the FFT from Numerical Recipes, If you speed up any nontrivial algorithm by a factor of a million or so the world will beat a path towards nding useful applications for it 3."

Indeed, it's powerful, now free, and non-trivial to use.

Even beyond these direct technological applications, the FFT influenced the direction of academic research too.

Academic research. Doesn't the app being sued cost a few dollars on the app store? I'd say it's a fair allocation of an FFT algorithm.

"Ironically, the prominence of the FFT may have also contributed to slow oth- er areas of research. The FFT provided scientists with a big analytic hammer, and for many, the world suddenly looked as though it was full of nails { even if this wasn't always so."

Taken out of context perhaps, but I'd say patenting anything that uses the FFT algorithms and re-wording it, without it being actually examined is a "big analytical hammer".

Even now there are still lessons to be learned from the FFT's development. In this day and age in which almost any new technological idea seems fodder for internet venture capitalists and patent lawyers, it is natural to ask, Why was the FFT not patented by IBM?" As Cooley tells the story, on the one hand,Tukey was not an IBM employee, so IBM had some worry that they might not be able to gain the patent. Consequently, they had great interest in putting the algorithm in the public domain. The eect of this was that no one else would be able to patent the algorithm, and even more, like many computer manufacturers of that time, the thought was that the money was to be made in hardware, not software. In fact, the FFT was designed as a tool for the analysis of huge time series, in theory something only tackled by supercomputers. So by placing in the public domain an algorithm which would make feasible the analysis of large time series, more big companies might have an interest in buying supercomputers (like IBM mainframes) to do their work. Times certainly have changed.

Whether having the FFT in the public domain had the eect IBM hoped for is moot, but it is certain that it did provide many, many scientists with appli- cations to work on and apply the algorithm. The breadth of scientic interests at the Arden workshop (held only two years after publication of the paper) is truly impressive. In fact, the rapid pace of today's technological developments is in many ways a testament to the advantage of this open development. This is a cautionary tale in today's arena of proprietary research, and we can only wonder which of the many recent private technological discoveries might have prospered from a similar announcement

There's a very interesting quote, extracted from above:

"In this day and age in which almost any new technological idea seems fodder for internet venture capitalists and patent lawyers, it is natural to ask, Why was the FFT not patented by IBM?"

An algorithm for the machine calculation of complex Fourier series Authors James W. Cooley and John W. Tukey 1965

Full PDF Free Access of Cooley and Turkey's Paper

The '060 Patent on FFT

The '060 Patent talks about using Fourier and basically claims that all others do it wrong?

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the Power-Spectral Estimator 78 as referenced in FIG. 5. The Power-Spectral Estimator 78 receives a series of buffered time samples from the Buffer 70 in FIG. 5 and optionally conditions the samples with Zero-padding 84 and Windowing 86 prior to converting the time samples to the frequency domain with a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) 88. Zero-padding 84 refers to adding zero-value samples to the predominately non-zero value series of time samples to increase the size of the FFT and hence the resulting frequency resolution

And then...

The FFT is a specific implementation of a Time-To-Frequency-Transform, defined herein to refer to the conversion of time samples to the frequency domain irrespective of the algorithm used. For example, in other embodiments the Time-To-Frequency-Transform uses either a Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT), a Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT), a Fast Cosine Transform, a Discrete Sine Transform (DST) or a Fast Sine Transform (FST).

And then...

In a preferred embodiment Zero-padding 84 is used with Windowing 86. Because the series of time samples, with or without the Zero-padding 84, only represents a finite observation window, the resulting spectral information will be distorted after performing an FFT due to the ringing or sin(f)/f spectral peaks of the rectangular window. This is also referred to as “spectral leakage.” To correct for this, each sample in a series of time samples is multiplied by a sample from a fixed waveform such as a Hanning, Bartlett or Kaiser window. In this embodiment these window functions have the same number of samples as the FFT (e.g. 4096), have symmetry about N/2 and increase in value from close to zero at the beginning and end of the time series to a maximum value at the center of the time series. In a preferred embodiment, a Blackman-Harris window function is used.

And then...

In a preferred embodiment the time samples are preconditioned with Zero-padding 84 and Windowing 86 and are subsequently converting to the frequency domain with an FFT processor. It is envisioned that any Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) can be used to perform the frequency conversion without being limited to using an FFT. Following the FFT 88, the series of frequency samples forming an estimate of the frequency spectrum is converted into a power-spectral estimate by squaring each of the frequency samples with a Magnitude Squared function 90.

The description in the '060 talks about FFT in it's digital sense, yet it's claims are overly broad because it's not bound to a specific device by the sense that if you are listening to anything and select the highest frequency, loudest person, loudest sound and focus on it, you are infringing upon '060.

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The link Patent states in the description: "FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the Power-Spectral Estimator 78 as referenced in FIG. 5. The Power-Spectral Estimator 78 receives a series of buffered time samples from the Buffer 70 in FIG. 5 and optionally conditions the samples with Zero-padding 84 and Windowing 86 prior to converting the time samples to the frequency domain with a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT)" –  Tyler Ulrich Dec 13 '13 at 4:37
    
One has to wonder how you can use a Public Domain algorithm, patent it, then assert a patent on someone else for using the most common algorithms in the world. Let's just add Whip Topping, Sprinkles, on top of someone else's work, patent it, then claim all rights to it and sue everyone, well one small company because it's unlikely a large company would back down. Strange? –  Aron Stein Dec 15 '13 at 7:29
    
I find it unethical to patent a method that relies solely upon the hard work of others, then tell others you can't do it because I did it first. The 060 needs an OH-WHAT-OH? Reexamination. –  Audio Sniper Dec 17 '13 at 20:07
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I will respectfully revert to a couple of fart jokes if you don't mind.

Fart Joke 1

1: A method for resonance tuning, comprising:

Receiving a signal in response to a resonance of a structure; Determining a frequency or musical note related to an overtone from the signal; Selecting the frequency or musical note related to the overtone as a filter mode reference frequency or musical note; and

Suppressing a display of frequencies or musical notes from a subsequent signal that deviate from the filter mode reference frequency or musical note by a predetermined threshold.

Jim is a man who is of normal stature. He's clean and respectable and while riding on a subway, he passes gas. The resonant result of this action did not result in a sound above a certain level. Therefore, he suppresses his facial expressions and does not display a result of the frequency in sound because it was below a certain level. Therefore his high/low limits based on a target frequency of his natural bandpass filtering capabilities helped him avoid humiliation more than it was due. This is normal behavior, and obvious to most. His retraction from displaying the result therefore suppressed naturally.

filter mode reference frequency

If I'm not mistaken, every filter has a center point (a reference frequency), therefore you simply cannot apply a high/low limit because it will have a reference frequency, so that covers A) a common mode of usage, not novel, obvious and B) every digital device in history.

A "Mode" in simpler terms is a means of on/off.

I believe this simple diagram explains what happens in each human mind when they pass gas:

"A schematic view of an embodiment of the Pitch Estimator"

FIG. 16 cited by applicant in Supplemental Examination Support Doc as providing support for Claim 13. (annotation emphasis added)

Fart Joke 2

13: A method for pitch detection, comprising:

Providing one or more power spectrum frequency samples;

Selecting a frequency in a frequency band having a largest power spectrum magnitude from the one or more power spectrum frequency samples, the frequency band having an upper frequency limit and a lower frequency limit.

Jim accidentally passes a very loud percussive, resonant fart on the subway surrounded by people. His natural reaction is to either say Excuse ME!! or point at someone else and shift the blame. Therefore, he reacted above a certain sound threshold and indicated his result until the sound threshold was later lowered. A noise gate is all that is really needed to understand any of these claims.

A method for pitch detection

There are thousands of pitch detection methods to include telephones that recognize pitch and many others to include natural instinct. Red Flag #1

Providing one or more power spectrum frequency samples;

A person listening to anything that is in their environment

Selecting a frequency in a frequency band having a largest power spectrum magnitude from the one or more power spectrum frequency samples, the frequency band having an upper frequency limit and a lower frequency limit.

Listening to whichever source you desire by naturally filtering out other sounds. Imagine if your Mother was talking to you while you were watching television. You choose to listen to either your mother, or the television and you've infringed upon this method. Danger!

I believe this simple diagram explains what happens in each human mind when they pass gas:

"A schematic view of an embodiment of the Pitch Estimator"

FIG. 16 cited by applicant in Supplemental Examination Support Doc as providing support for Claim 13. (annotation emphasis added)

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I believe there is something called the but trumpet, and other musical instruments have been named after such. I would agree with this assessment and way of putting it. Well done. –  Tyler Ulrich Dec 14 '13 at 22:36
    
Nice ASSessment. I do agree that the pitch of the resonance of the fart would affect the manner of the result of his expression and reaction, especially since certain pitches produce different facial recognition in relation to the resonance of the structure of thy anus. I think this is fantastic. –  Robert Tesla III Dec 14 '13 at 22:48
    
Well, I wasn't expecting that! Oops, I reacted. –  Aron Stein Dec 15 '13 at 7:28
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My understanding of guitar tuners from Zen-on Justina Quartz Guitar Tuners and many other tuners utilize a filter means when you select which guitar string you are tuning to. This is a chromatic tuner, but it still use frequencies to translate to musical notes which I believe the 060 patent being asserted uses the same methods.

Zen-on Justina Quartz Guitar Tuners

There's a lot to be said on the WikiPedia Page for Guitar Tuners - Especially about Peterson Strobosoft Tuners which have been patented by US6580024

In Peterson's patent US6580024, they discuss in the Figures description the following, which even they admit is blatantly obvious:

Concurrently, computing engine 22 analyzes the conditioned and digitized input signal or waveform to detect a unique phase or portion of the fundamental period segments of said signal or waveform, typically a portion corresponding to the original fundamental period peaks of the input signal or waveform. There are many methods and algorithms current in the art which implement this function, the details of which are understood by those of skill in the art and are not a subject of this invention. Upon detection of said phase or portion of each fundamental period segment, or upon detection of a selected number of said phases, computing engine 22 sends commands to visual display 25 to make visible one or a plurality of image objects or patterns at positions determined by the most recently calculated displacement value.

Peterson's tuners use a method of frequency translation into musical objects, as well as musical notes which the 060 Patent claims to have invented. Adjusting the input level (Peak Detection) is not novel, nor is using a standard Noise Gate, or Gate

A noise gate or gate is an electronic device or software that is used to control the volume of an audio signal. Gating is the use of a gate. Comparable to a compressor, which attenuate signals above a threshold, noise gates attenuate signals that register below the threshold.1 However, noise gates attenuate signals by a fixed amount, known as the range. In its most simple form, a noise gate allows a signal to pass through only when it is above a set threshold: the gate is 'open'. If the signal falls below the threshold no signal is allowed to pass (or the signal is substantially attenuated): the gate is 'closed'.2 A noise gate is used when the level of the 'signal' is above the level of the 'noise'. The threshold is set above the level of the 'noise' and so when there is no 'signal' the gate is closed. A noise gate does not remove noise from the signal. When the gate is open both the signal and the noise will pass through. Gates typically feature 'attack', 'release', and 'hold' settings and may feature a 'look-ahead' function.

I'm curious to how employing a Noise Gate on a signal is novel per Claim 1 of the 060 Patent:

13: A method for pitch detection, comprising:

Providing one or more power spectrum frequency samples;

Selecting a frequency in a frequency band having a largest power spectrum magnitude from the one or more power spectrum frequency samples, the frequency band having an upper frequency limit and a lower frequency

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It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time! –  Aron Stein Dec 15 '13 at 7:27
    
Quote from "Guitar Tuners on the wiki link": "Tuners are used by guitar technicians who are hired by rock and pop bands to ensure that all of the band's instruments are ready to play at all times. Guitar technicians (often called guitar techs) tune all of the instruments (electric guitars, electric basses, acoustic guitars, mandolins, etc.) " –  Robert Tesla III Dec 16 '13 at 16:12
    
I concur that there are hundreds of guitar tuners capable of displaying a periodic sound based on sound level. This patent is absurd. –  Audio Sniper Dec 17 '13 at 20:06
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The US4028985 Patent that I find useful from Filed on Feb 17, 1976 and Published Date: Jun 14, 1977 is very interesting indeed. It's abstract states:

An improved system for the determination of pitch or perceived frequency of signals generated by musical instruments or voices and for the display of the results in a format easily understood and used by musicians. An incoming signal from a microphone is peak detected after amplification, then further processed by rejecting spurious peaks through the use of an inhibit circuit which sends onward acceptable pulses and inhibits those pulses which arrive during a period immediately following each accepted pulse, the period being approximately 3/8 of the time between acceptable pulses. These pulses drive a period measuring circuit which provides a signal proportional to the time between input pulses, the signal being fed back to the inhibit circuit for its proper operation and being fed forward to the readout display where the results are translated into convenient musical notation, like C.sub.+.sub.1 .music-sharp.. The display further subdivides the standard 6% musical pitch increments in 2% increments so that slightly sharp or flat indications can be provided for the use of the musician.

US4028985 Claims:

  1. An improved pitch determining and display system comprising, in combination:

a. signal generating means for providing a signal which corresponds to pitch produced by a musician said signal generating means comprising a microphone for picking up the sounds produced by a musician and translating the sounds into corresponding electronic signals;

b. signal processing means for determining the pitch produced said means being connected to the signal generating means and driven by the electronic signals generated by said microphone, said signal processing means comprising:

i. amplifier means connected to the microphone for amplifying the signal produced by the microphone:

ii. peak detector means connected to the amplifier means for providing an output pulse when an input peak pulse from the amplifier means exceeds a previous input pulse less an amount proportional to the time that has elapsed since the previous input pulse;

.....

c. display means connected to the signal processing means for translating the determined pitch into convenient musical notation, said display means being adapted to receive the signal from said period measuring means.

  1. The pitch determining and display system of claim 1, wherein the output of the period measuring means is fed back to the peak detection means to provide the most appropriate constant of proportionality for the period of the signal entering the signal processing means.

  2. The pitch determining and display system of claim 2, wherein the display means is a digital readout display for providing pitch information in convenient musical notation.

And more in Claim 9:

  1. Improved electronic signal processing circuitry comprising:

a. mplifier means for amplifying an electronic signal supplied to the input thereof;

b. peak detector means connected to the amplifier means for providing an output pulse when an input peak pulse from the amplifier means exceeds a previous input pulse less an amount proportional to the time that has elapsed since the previous input pulse;

** I believe that invalidates Claim 13 of the US8502060 Patent**

A method for pitch detection, comprising: providing one or more power spectrum frequency samples; selecting a frequency in a frequency band having a largest power spectrum magnitude from the one or more power spectrum frequency samples, the frequency band having an upper frequency limit and a lower frequency limit.

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The frequency selection bit of this all puzzles me in the sense of how they patented frequencies above a sound level.

Looking into several documents online, I discover on WikiPedia Pitch Detection Algorithm (PDA) which is the obvious: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitch_detection_algorithm

A pitch detection algorithm (PDA) is an algorithm designed to estimate the pitch or fundamental frequency of a quasiperiodic or virtually periodic signal, usually a digital recording of speech or a musical note or tone. This can be done in the time domain or the frequency domain or both the two domains.

Reading into this even further, I see more about pitch detection in the references of this wiki article. This takes me to 2005 http://www.cs.otago.ac.nz/tartini/papers/A_Smarter_Way_to_Find_Pitch.pdf

A SMARTER WAY TO FIND PITCH

Philip McLeod, Geoff Wyvill

University of Otago Department of Computer Science

  1. PEAK PICKING ALGORITHM The algorithm so far gives us correlation coefficients at integer τ. We will choose the first ’major’ peak as representing the pitch period. This is not always the maximum, which is considered the fundamental frequency. Firstly, find all of the useful local maxima. These are maxima with τ which potentially represent the period associated with the pitch.

So this proves that selecting a peak frequency is not novel or unique, and is obvious. Sorry, but this patent needs to be reexamined.

There's one more I like as well.

http://www.ime.usp.br/~mqz/Mitre_AESBR2006.pdf

Accurate and Efficient Fundamental Frequency

Determination from Precise Partial Estimates

There's several references in there about how most pitch detection is done in the frequency and time domains, and this document proposes methods for selecting the loudest partial and displaying it versus all of the partials. Same thing.

I think trying to patent these methods in the us8502060 is a bit far fetched considering techniques, common knowledge, and obviousness has been in existence since audio waves were discovered.

This is a bad method patent disguised as a Drum-Set Tuner? Do they realize the implications and overbroad nature of this patent?

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Puzzled myself! The fact that the claims weren't disputed is alarming. –  Aron Stein Dec 15 '13 at 7:27
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Non-Cited Prior Art

US4227437

Priority Date: Oct 11, 1977

Another fine example of selecting frequencies above a predetermined threshold is US4227437 Published Oct 14, 1980

Frequency detecting apparatus

  1. Frequency detection apparatus for tuning a stringed instrument or the like, comprising:

a transducer for receiving sound information from a vibrating string on said instrument and for converting the same into an electrical signal of like frequency, selection means for selecting a note corresponding to a correct frequency to be detected,

Transducer == microphone

a filter for receiving said electrical signal and responsive to said selection means for filtering second harmonic information from said electrical signal,

a first oscillator phase locked to the signal provided by said filter for generating a phase locked signal,

a second oscillator also responsive to the signal provided by said filter to produce a standard frequency output signal initiated in synchronous time relation with the signal provided by said filter,

a control counter coupled to the output of said second oscillator for counting the output cycles of said standard frequency output signal, and a gating circuit responsive to a count of said control counter for gating said phase locked signal during a gating period as determined by a predetermined counted number of cycles of said standard frequency output signal, note counter means coupled for receiving the phase locked signal as gated by said gating circuit for detecting whether the number of output cycles of the gated phase locked signal received during said gating period reaches a predetermined count corresponding to the note selected by said selection means,

and display means for producing first, second and third indications for respectively indicating substantial identity in frequency between the electrical signal and the note selected by said selection means, or whether the electrical signal is above or below said note, said display means receiving the output of said note counter means substantially at the end of said gating period produced by said gating circuit to determine whether said note counter means has made a full count corresponding to the selected note substantially at the end of said gating period.

Sure seems like claim 1 & 13 of US8502060 when you realize what a gate is.

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Agreed, this is a very straight forward concept for anyone who is an audiophile. –  Aron Stein Dec 15 '13 at 7:26
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I concur, straightforward answer. –  Audio Sniper Dec 17 '13 at 20:08
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Checking some dates here from the original post, I find this to be very concerning:

Asserted Patent in lawsuit: US8502060 also filed as application US20130139672

Original Application: US20130145921:

  • Filing Date: Nov 30, 2011
  • Publication Date: June 13, 2013

This application is specifically for a handheld tuner via the claims, yet still has the methods in it.

An app comes on the market called iDrumTune on 4/20/2012 - the creator cited as prior art in '060 Patent

An app comes on the market called iDrumTech on February 8th, 2013 and one week later the '921 application is revised and stripped of any novel information, filed as '060 (a continuation) and gets granted? Seems fishy!

iDrumTech App (Named in lawsuit) Release date on itunes

Continuation Of US20130145921 Filed As US8502060

  • Filing Date: Feb 15, 2013
  • Publication Date: Aug 6, 2013

All CLAIMS for a tuner device are now obscured by a Method?

So in summary to the above, an original application US20130145921 was filed on Nov 30,2011 claiming an actual tuner device in the claims. It wasn't published until Jun 13, 2013? Two apps are released, one is built on prior art (iDrumTune / Rob Toulson) released 4/20/2012, and another released 2/8/2013. Patent filed, overbroad claims on 2/15/2013 and published 5/2013, granted 8/2013.

WHAT HAPPENED? Expedited Processing. Applicant claims novel over prior art, the patent office doesn't dispute, rubber stamps, law suits filed.

There's a great article I read recently called This simple change could fix the patent system—but it’ll never happen. by James Bessen on slate.com:

Problem No. 2: Gotcha lawsuits

Continued patents are much more likely to be litigated than are other patents—not only because they result in low-quality patents, but also because they permit a particularly nasty legal tactic: A patent applicant with a continued application can rewrite the claim language so that the patent covers technology that is developed after the patent is filed. In the worst cases, so-called “submarine patents” are kept hidden from the public as they mark time in the Patent Office. Innovative companies come along and develop new technology only to find themselves surprised one day with a patent infringement lawsuit, a lawsuit based on a patent application that was rewritten to cover the defendant’s own innovations.

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My observations as well. –  Aron Stein Dec 15 '13 at 7:26
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Non-Cited Prior Art

US6140568 (Priority Date: Nov 6, 1997)

This is a great example.

Title: System and method for automatically detecting a set of fundamental frequencies simultaneously present in an audio signal

ABSTRACT

A system and method for automatically detecting and identifying a plurality of frequencies simultaneously present in an audio signal, as well as the duration, amplitude, and phase of those frequencies, then filtering out harmonic components to determine which frequencies are fundamentals. The system includes a computer readable medium of instruction code that decomposes the signal into its component sine waves by computing and comparing correlations between the input signal and sine waves at various phase and amplitude combinations. The system also employs several optimization and error correction routines.

Claims

Claim 1

A method of identifying one or more fundamental frequencies simultaneously present in a complex signal, comprising the steps of:

receiving the complex signal;

decomposing the signal into sine wave components to determine all frequencies present in the signal;

setting and obtaining parameters used to detect fundamental frequencies;

and filtering out harmonic frequencies to determine the fundamental frequencies actually present in the signal.

Claim 2

The method of claim 1, wherein the step of receiving the complex signal includes dividing the signal into a series of sample windows which contain sample amplitudes.

Claim 3

The method of claim 2, further comprising an optimization step of ignoring sample windows in which the sample amplitudes do not meet a predetermined threshold.

Claim 4

The method of claim 2, wherein the step of decomposing includes obtaining best correlation scores by comparing reference frequencies to the complex signal, and comparing said best correlation scores to determine which reference frequencies are in the complex signal.

Claim 5

The method of claim 4, wherein the step of decomposing is carried out by comparing amplitudes resulting in the best correlation score at each reference frequency to amplitudes resulting in best correlation scores at adjacent reference frequencies to locate amplitude peaks.

Claim 6

The method of claim 4, wherein the step of decomposing includes the step of scaling the amplitudes of the detected frequencies according to said frequencies.

Claim 7

The method of claim 4, wherein the step of obtaining the best correlation scores comprises shifting the amplitude and phase of the reference frequencies until an amplitude/phase combination yielding the best correlation score out of all correlation scores for said combinations of each reference frequency is found.

Claim 8

The method of claim 4, further comprising the step of attenuating frequencies lower than current reference frequencies before correlation scores are obtained.

Claim 9

The method of claim 8, wherein said attenuation step comprises:

a high-pass filter having a cutoff frequency set to the current reference frequency; and

a low-pass filter having a cutoff frequency set to one half of the current reference frequency.

(High/Low Pass == BandPass)

Claim 10

The method of claim 7, further comprising an optimization step of ignoring amplitude/phase combinations which yield correlation scores that are worse than previously obtained correlation scores.

Claim 9 of US6140568 Proves that Claim 1 of '060 is not novel. Bandpass filtering around a target frequency is not novel, has been done, and this is prior art.

Claim 3 of US6140568 Proves that Claim 13 of '060 is not novel. This claims to select frequencies from above a predetermined threshold.

I feel that other claims in this patent as well would invalidate several claims within the '060 patent.

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Non-Cited Prior Art

US5777248 (Priority Date Jul 22, 1996)

Title: Tuning indicator for musical instruments

Abstract:

A musical instrument tuning aid. The display provides the user tuning information in a rapidly interpreted form. The input note, or tuning device setting, is displayed in a clock face format. A sharp/flat indicator provides a course display for gross tuning. A display means for electronically producing a stroboscopic display between the input tone and the internally generated reference frequency provides for very accurate fine tuning with instantaneous response to pitch changes. Signal conditioning to control signal level enhances the strobe display. Tracking low pass filtering is provided to enhance strobe display for high harmonic content signals. An adjustable band pass filtering mode is provided to allow analysis of individual harmonics. A crystal timebase is used to generate a high accuracy reference frequency with fine calibration adjustment. A control means is provided to measure the input signal fundamental, select the nearest chromatic scale note, and set tuning device accordingly, allowing hands off operation. In automatic mode the note display tracks the input note providing an easy to read display indicating the note played, as well as tuning of that note.

While this tuner uses a strobe form of display, it also displays a frequency, note and octave.

Claims

  1. A tuning aid for musical instruments comprising:

(a) a note/octave display comprising indication elements arranged in a pattern around two concentric circles to resemble a clock face having an inside pattern corresponding to an hour hand designating an octave and an outside pattern corresponding to a minute hand designating the twelve notes of a chromatic scale;

(b) a strobe display array consisting of a plurality of luminous elements arranged in a circular pattern;

(c) a reference frequency generating means of generating a reference frequency;

(d) a control means of controlling the reference frequency to a desired note to be tuned and controlling the note/octave display accordingly;

(e) a means of enabling each element of said strobe display sequentially at a rate such that said strobe display cycles once for each two periods of said reference frequency, each enabled element having an intensity;

(f) a means of inputting a signal having a peak level for analysis;

(g) a level control means of automatically controlling the peak level of said signal to a predetermined level and producing a level controlled output;

(h) a filtering means of receiving the level controlled output and producing a filtered output;

(i) a positive rectifying means of positive rectification of the filtered output of said filtering means and producing a positive rectified output having an instantaneous magnitude;

(j) a means of controlling the intensity of the enabled element of said strobe display according to the instantaneous magnitude of the positive rectified output of said positive rectifying means.

  1. A tuning aid as in claim 1 wherein said filtering means is configured in low pass mode and is adjusted by said control means to attenuate signal harmonics higher than said reference frequency.

  2. A tuning aid as in claim 1 wherein said filtering means is configured in band pass mode and is controlled by said control means to pass only a selected signal harmonic.

  3. A tuning aid as in claim 1 in which the filtering means is connected to a fundamental period detection means which is connected to said control means controlling a sharp/flat indication means accordingly.

  4. A tuning aid as in claim 1 in which the filtering means is connected to a fundamental period detection means which determines the input signal's fundamental frequency and is connected to said control means which automatically selects the note from the chromatic scale closest to the input signal fundamental frequency and sets said reference frequency and said note/octave display accordingly.

The first few sections of this diagram from US5777248 are the foundation of the '060 patent. The rest of this illustration is omitted on '060 patent diagrams and one can guess what the "Pitch Estimator" and other obscured items actually do. My guess is the items illustrated below.

US577248 Diagram

This should be enough to invalidate claims 1 & 13 of US8502060:

US8502060 Claims 1 & 13

1: A method for resonance tuning, comprising:

Receiving a signal in response to a resonance of a structure; Determining a frequency or musical note related to an overtone from the signal; Selecting the frequency or musical note related to the overtone as a filter mode reference frequency or musical note; and Suppressing a display of frequencies or musical notes from a subsequent signal that deviate from the filter mode reference frequency or musical note by a predetermined threshold.

13: A method for pitch detection, comprising:

Providing one or more power spectrum frequency samples; Selecting a frequency in a frequency band having a largest power spectrum magnitude from the one or more power spectrum frequency samples, the frequency band having an upper frequency limit and a lower frequency limit.

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I see selectable filter (mode), peak detection, musical instrument tuning. Seems obvious that '060 lacks novel. –  Tyler Ulrich Dec 16 '13 at 21:47
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Definitely a more complex method abstracted. This could be like patenting the "Method of filling the windshield washer fluid to a certain level" instead of patenting "A system for cleaning the windshield of an automobile". –  Aron Stein Dec 16 '13 at 21:53
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Non-Cited Prior Art

US4823667 (Priority Date: Jun 22, 1987)

Title: Guitar controlled electronic musical instrument

Claim 1 - Predetermined Threshold

... a threshold detect unit whereby an on-signal is generated if said envelope of said string waveshape signal is greater than or equal to a prespecified threshold signal amplitude and whereby an off-signal is generated if said on-signal has been generated and said envelope of said string waveshape signal is less than said prespecified threshold signal amplitude, ...

The point of this is Claim 13 of '060 is invalid.

'060 Claim 13

13: A method for pitch detection, comprising:

Providing one or more power spectrum frequency samples;

Selecting a frequency in a frequency band having a largest power spectrum magnitude from the one or more power spectrum frequency samples, the frequency band having an upper frequency limit and a lower frequency

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Straight forward. –  Tyler Ulrich Dec 16 '13 at 21:46
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Non-Cited Prior Art

Visualization of Musical Pitch

Philip McLeod and Geoff Wyvill.

In Computer Graphics International 2003, 2003

http://miracle.otago.ac.nz/tartini/papers/Visualization_of_Musical_Pitch.pdf

2.5 Choosing the Fundamental

After the frequencies of all the local maxima have been found, their amplitudes are calculated. The strongest frequency is selected and assumed to be one of the harmonics from the note being played. The fundamental is not always the strongest frequency in a note. Figure 4 shows an example of a note where the fifth harmonic is the most powerful.

The pitch of the note is related to the “dominant” frequency. In this case, dominant means what a musician perceives to be the main frequency. This is not necessarily the lowest or the one with the largest amplitude. The following process appears to agree with our subjective observation al- most all of the time. Firstly we pick out the frequency, f, with the largest am- plitude. This is almost certainly a true harmonic of the fundamental we are seeking. In other words, the fundamental frequency is F = f/n where n is an integer. For each value of n from one to ten we examine the spectrum to see how many frequencies are potential harmonics of F. A frequency is a potential harmonic if it is close the ideal frequency of the harmonic. We actually calculate a score for each F = f/n which is a weighted sum of closeness measures. The more peaks that are separated by F the better the fit.

Figure 4

This example simply demonstrates that selecting a peak frequency for display and suppressing the other frequencies is common practice. Claim 13 is not novel, and very obvious to anyone in spectral analysis.

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This looks like the idrumtune app picture re: toulson! –  Tyler Ulrich Dec 16 '13 at 21:50
    
This certainly proves that the '060 patent lacks novel, when nearly every subject matter on FFT, pitch detection, etc talks about selecting a peak frequency and uses filtering means to remove DC offset, outside noise and limit the display of pitch to only the useful values. –  Aron Stein Dec 17 '13 at 14:41
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Considering the substantial new question of patentability with prior art that was found in such a short time (5 days so far), one would be curious to how the patent was approved.

Information from USPTO Public Pair System

To obtain this patent information, go to the search, select Patent, and enter: 8502060 in the search box.

It will display the Application Data and audit trail (Transaction History).

USPTO Public Pair Application Data

This is the Transaction History, I particularly note no rejections to the claims, and a rapid approval process.

Transaction History Part 1

Transaction History Part 2

Next, under Image Wrapper File (public information) you see on 2/15/2013 when the application was filed, it had a Statement of Preexamination Search where the applicant cites a prior application and claims that all of the pre examination searches for prior art was completed.

Image File Wrapper

Document ID 13768799 - Statement of Preexamination Search by Applicant

Statement of Preexamination Search

Other supporting documents in the Image File Wrapper, especially this one, include an OATH or Declaration provided by the applicant which allows the applicant to be punished under 18 U.S.C. 1001.

This oath was provided on 2/15/2013 along with all of the other required documents and barrage of paperwork to the patent examiner.

I hereby acknowledge that any willful false statement made in this declaration is punishable under 18 U.S.C. 1001 by fine or imprisonment of not more than (5) years, or both.

Oath Document File ID: 13768799

Later the applicant eludes to Rob Toulson's patent in their prior art submission claiming that Toulson's patent as prior art is invalid, which is false.

On 2/15/2013 when the application was submitted, another document titled:

Accelerated Examination Support Document

Submitted by the applicant, 3 prior art examples noted as "Closest Related Match" begin on page 5.

Accelerated Examination Support Document

Particularly of concern is relation to Toulson's patent on Page 9 - 12 where the applicant states Rob Toulson's patent and methods are not taught. Page 12 in regards to Claim 13 are particularly concerning.

Toulson's Patent Claims Dispute

The point here is this was an accelerated patent and the examiner relied on the applicant's prior-art search, oath, and good word. This is alarming.

Take a closer look at this rapid process. 02/15/2013 Filed, 05/28/2013 Approval

Can anyone elude to ever seeing a patent fly through the system this fast? The USPTO Expedited Examination Program http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/accelerated/index.jsp

The USPTO has established procedures under which the examination of a patent application may be accelerated. Under one of these procedures, the USPTO will advance an application out of turn for examination if the applicant files a grantable petition to make special under the accelerated examination program. The USPTO is similarly revising the procedures for other petitions to make special, except those based on applicant’s health or age or the PPH pilot program. Other petitions to make special (i.e., based on: manufacture, infringement, environmental quality, energy, recombinant DNA, superconductivity materials, HIV/AIDS and cancer, countering terrorism, and biotechnology applications filed by small entities MPEP § 708.02 ) will be processed using the revised procedure for accelerated examination. Thus, petitions to make special, except those based on applicant’s health, age, or the PPH pilot program , will be required to comply with the requirements for petitions to make special under the accelerated examination program as set forth in this notice.

Next, you have the

02-15-2013 PET.SPRE.ACX Petition for 12-month Accelerated Exam

(Petition to make Special) yet this petition clearly states in item 1:

the claims must be directed to a single invention

Since Claim 1 and Claim 13 are method claims that are not bound to an embodiment, are they directed towards a single invention

Petition for 12-month Accelerated Exam

PET.DEC.TC - Petition decision routed to the Technology Center to act on the decision or continue prosecution

Filed on 3/18/2013 and the patent buzzes along nicely through the system without anyone rejecting claims.

Petition

On 5/28/2013 the Patent Examiner publishes his brief prior art search. And rubber stamps it Approved the same day.

Patent Examiner Prior Art Search

Confused? Where can I buy this kind of expedited processing?

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Thanks for the audit trail. 18 U.S.C. 1001 can be a real problem, considering the patent examiner will most likely point his finger at the applicant! –  Tyler Ulrich Dec 16 '13 at 21:44
1  
This is useful information! I would not want to be involved in the process of this patent getting granted. –  Aron Stein Dec 16 '13 at 21:55
    
Seriously? Those are very vague keywords for a utility patent. Zzzzzzzz.... presses submit. //Patent Examiner –  Audio Sniper Dec 17 '13 at 20:09
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Non-Cited Prior Art

Title: Digital audio signal processor employing multiple filter fundamental acquisition circuitry

US 5056398 A

Priority Date (Sep 20, 1988)

ABSTRACT

A digital signal processing apparatus is provided for identifying the octave, note and cent of a musical sound. The apparatus includes a transducer for converting the musical sound into an electrical signal, a plurality of digital detection units, each dedicated to a particular sub-scanning interval within an overall frequency interval to be scanned, receiving the electrical signal from the transducer, for determining the octave, note and cent of the musical sound by detecting a fundamental frequency of the electrical signal; and a display unit, responsive to the detection unit, for displaying the note as an alphanumeric character and the cent as a positive or negative decimal integral number from -49 to +50 with zero cents representing perfect concert pitch.

This should easily invalidate Claim 1 in regards to bandpass filtering a target frequency.

Claim 1 of '398

  1. An apparatus for identifying the octave, note and degree of sharpness or flatness of a musical sound, comprising:

(a) a transducer means for converting said sound into an electrical signal;

(b) a filter means, responsive to said electrical signal provided by said transducer means, for passing a filter output signal having a frequency corresponding to a frequency of said electrical signal;

(c)** a microprocessor means**;

(d) a fundamental detection means, cooperating with said microprocessor means, for analyzing said filter output signal to identify when said frequency of said filter output signal corresponds to the fundamental frequency of said electrical signal and for providing a fundamental detection signal indicating such correspondence;

(e) control means for causing said filter means, responsive to said fundamental detection signal, to pass signals at a particular scanning frequency at which said frequency of said filter output signal corresponds to said fundamental frequency;

(f) a square wave generator means, responsive to said frequency of said filter output signal corresponding to said fundamental frequency, for providing a square wave output signal having a same period as said filter output signal;

(g) a logic circuit means, responsive to said square wave output signal, for providing an output indicating a period of said square wave output signal;

(h) said microprocessor means comprising means for comparing said output from said logic means with a look-up table including a plurality of previously calculated periods to provide an output indicating the octave, note and degree of sharpness or flatness or said musical sound; and

(i) a display means, responsive to said output of said microprocessor means, for displaying said octave, note and degree of sharpness or flatness of said musical sound, said note being displayed as an alphanumeric character and said degree of sharpness or flatness being displayed as a positive or negative number on a scale including a zero value representing perfect concert pitch and a plurality of positive or negative values on each side of zero.

2.An apparatus as in claim 1, wherein said filter means comprises a plurality of switched capacitor filters respectively provided to scan a plurality of sub-intervals of an overall scanning interval and wherein said control means comprises a plurality of dedicated center frequency filter clocks respectively provided for said plurality of switched capacitor filters to cause said switched capacitor filters respectively to sweep said plurality of sub-intervals.

I consider the above method above proves that Claim 1 of '060 is not novel. Selecting a target frequency for a bandpass filter for filtering means of the musical instrument you're tuning seems logical, obvious and not novel.

'060 Claim 1

  1. A method for resonance tuning, comprising: receiving a signal in response to a resonance of a structure;

determining a frequency or musical note related to an overtone from the signal; selecting the frequency or musical note related to the overtone as a filter mode reference frequency or musical note;

and suppressing a display of frequencies or musical notes from a subsequent signal that deviate from the filter mode reference frequency or musical note by a predetermined threshold.

This is the same method, just broadened in description.

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While this goes on to do much more than '060 claims, it does appear that '060 abstracted an obvious method from many sources of prior art and published teachings. I can put Jelly on then Peanut Butter, or Peanut Butter then Jelly on two pieces of bread and describe it in a manner that makes it look like I invented something new, a new method, but it's obvious, not novel, much like '060. –  Tyler Ulrich Dec 16 '13 at 21:49
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Non-Cited Prior Art Found

ACOUSTIC ANALYSIS AND TUNING OF CYLINDRICAL MEMBRANOPHONES

Authors: PHILLIP, GILES, MACGILLIVRAY, RICHARDSON

Date: Aug-2010

Anglia Ruskin University

This document is over 100 pages and contains several references to Toulson, and others. It also depicts the peak selection (predetermined threshold in '060) and filtering means. This document was not cited, and belief is that it can easily invalidate '060 Claims 1&13 easily.

Page 59,60

However, existing electronic tuning devices only allow a single fundamental frequency to be detected and evaluated as in tune, such as the device described by Miesak (1984). This data is sufficient for tuning instruments such as guitar and piano which have a strong fundamental frequency. However, more complex sounds such as those from percussion require details of the fundamental frequency, higher partials, relative harmonic strengths and the time-domain envelope in order to tune the drum.

A novel percussion analysis and tuning tool has been developed and patented by Rob Toulson (Toulson, 2007). The new analysis system is being utilised in this research and, as such, becomes the first ever scientific tuning analysis of percussion instru- ments by such a method.

Page 86

The onset of the response is determined by finding the first instance of a threshold exceedance of half the amplitude of the maximum data reading.

Figure 4.11 (partial)

Figure 4.11 (partial)

Since the '060 Patent talks about Zero Padding in it's description:

Page 90

“When we zero-pad a signal in the time-domain, we get a smoother look- ing frequency resolution...so adding zeroes means that there will be more frequency domain points. The analysis frequencies, as a result, become finer since they are closer together.”

Weeks (2006, p.214)

In regards to filtering:

Page 91

In addition, and prior to spectral analysis, the captured waveform data is high-pass filtered to remove any unwanted rumble, DC offset or other unwanted low-frequency components. In the current research this is performed using a 5th-order Butterworth filter with a 30-Hz cut-off frequency, and is implemented by the Matlab Butterworth filter function (MathWorks, 2010d). This processing method has been used in analysis of musical instruments previously, for example by Taguti and Tohnai (2001) who used a 4th-order Butterworth filter with a cut-off frequency of 80 Hz.

http://angliaruskin.openrepository.com/arro/handle/10540/189010 2010. Too much for me to start editing and commenting on each detail, but a very thorough chronology and bibliography of related prior art developments none-the-less.

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Great reference. I see Toulson referenced in here also. I'll improve your answer with some references from this document shortly. –  Robert Tesla III Dec 17 '13 at 3:26
    
This is solid prior art, although a very long read, it covers nearly every inventor along the way. Excellent document for someone wanting to abstract, overbroaden and claim a new invention. –  Aron Stein Dec 17 '13 at 14:36
    
I believe this is a very interesting demonstration how something was abstracted, re-worded, and "borrowed" from someone else. I wonder if they will ever return it? Reexamination. –  Audio Sniper Dec 17 '13 at 20:10
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Drum tuning as compared to tuning most musical instruments does not involve detecting simple series of harmonically related notes (same note in different octaves), but different unrelated notes generated by the sundry different length physical paths that different head resonances travel over.

060 claim 1 with several means combined describes applying a bandpass filter to a conventional note sniffer measurement string to preferentially isolate one resonance pitch and reject other resonances. This may have some utility in the context of parsing the multiple pitches drums can make when struck at different places on the head. If novel(?) this seems like a narrow improvement patent that should not control the basic measurement technology of generic note sniffers not specifically using a BPF (but I am not a patent lawyer).

060 claim 13 seems like a paraphrased version of claim one in abstract terms where instead of a BP filter "means", the frequency band has an upper and lower limit? This equivalent claims language is unclear (to me) whether they are describing computer software or something else?

I have a patent related to drum tuning (US 6,925,880), while I do not use simple note sniffing or FFT (yet). I am familiar with the instrument and technology.

US 6,925,880 Claim 18

A method for measuring the acoustic properties of a drumhead of a drum, comprising:

applying energy to a surface of the drumhead to cause the drumhead to emit acoustic energy therefrom; receiving acoustic energy emitted from the drumhead using moveable acoustic sensor positioned above the surface of the drumhead and in proximity to a tightening bolt of the drum without substantial interference from other tightening bolts of the drum;

converting the acoustic energy received by the acoustic sensor into a signal corresponding to an acoustic property of the drumhead; and adjusting all of the tightening bolts of the drum to a single resonant frequency

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This is a method claim that is not bound to any specific embodiment. Even though this patent is labeled Drum-Set Tuner, it is still a method patent. Therefore, any claim can be independent and cover a method of performing an action, such as picking up a phone and dialing it. Which, older phones used BandPass Filters, Tone Recognition and suppressed any unrecognized tones (outside their filters) from the display as you dialed. This method effectively covers that now, even though phones like this have een around forever. –  Aron Stein Dec 17 '13 at 20:15
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I am reviewing your patent Mr Roberts. Very fascinating work. That is a true invention worthy of patenting. Do you feel like any of your claims were possibly used in this patent? I see that you are listed on the face of the '060 as Cited Art. I would be curious to see the arguments. –  Robert Tesla III Dec 17 '13 at 20:33
    
@ Robert Tesla III my answer was too long for the window... short answer is no I did not claim using a bandpass filter with FFT, but yes I discriminate between fundamental and overtone for drum tuning. I have described this in my literature and on my website for several years. –  John Roberts Jan 2 at 20:16
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I am curious to how this is NOVEL or even UNOBVIOUS. I am a recording engineer and I use common software such as Pro Tools, Logic Pro and others. Virtually all Digital Audio Workstations and recording software comes equipped with BandPass, Tuners, and Noise Gates. An end user could easily stumble and infringe upon this patent easily.

Allow me to demonstrate:

Claim 13 Infringement

  1. Open Logic Pro (or even more distributed Garage Band) with Live or Recorded Samples
  2. Select a Noise Gate on a Channel Strip
  3. Add the Tuner Plugin under Metering > Tuner > Tuner

You have now infringed upon Claim 13 of '060 Patent.

Also note if you use a recording interface that uses BandPass Filters or Noise Gates, and you simply activate the Tuner plugin on a channel strip, you have effectively infringed on this brand new patent.

Claim 13 Infringement

Claim 1 Example:

  1. Open Logic Pro (or even more distributed Garage Band) with Live or Recorded Samples
  2. Select a Noise Gate on a Channel Strip
  3. Add a BandPass Filter: Audio Units > Bandpass Filter (Adjust to range of a drum or instrument) after you determine the pitch the tuner is displaying, adjust it to that range. To enable / disable this "mode" just bypass the bandpass filter.
  4. Add the Tuner Plugin under Metering > Tuner > Tuner

Claim 1 Infringement: BandPass Filter and a Tuner

This is a very ingredient oriented piece of software. I attribute this patent to pulling out bread, ham, cheese and and assembling it and patenting that method.

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Seems like mixing the cake ingredients and then putting them in the oven to bake. Cake Mix! –  Aron Stein Dec 17 '13 at 20:16
2  
Very common practice to apply plugins on an audio chain. Very common to use spectral analysis to adjust EQ and filters. Very common applications all have these plugins. –  Robert Tesla III Dec 17 '13 at 20:32
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A very common set of audio plugins indeed. –  Tyler Ulrich Dec 17 '13 at 20:41
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I am not a fan of the examination process this patent was (not) subjected to, but how hard something is to do once someone tells you what to do is not relevant to novelly or obviousness. Everything is obvious in hindsight.That is why examiners look to find specific documents, published before the application, that disclose every element in a claim. –  George White Dec 18 '13 at 0:41
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This could be considered prior art, but it's an application called Drum-Tuner on both iTunes and Google Play. The iphone version was published Jul 25, 2012

enter image description here

The proof here is that the '060 is not novel, and obvious.

The '060 Application filing date is 02/15/2013, published Aug 6, 2013 The '060 patent was an extension of Application US20130139672 Published Jun 6, 2013

My thoughts are leaning towards how is an idea novel and unobvious if the application or patent was not published yet so many very close ideas such as Drum-Tuner and apparently a few other software apps like Toulson's iDrumTune came out which now technically infringe upon 060 due to its broad claims.

Anyone?

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I wouldn't consider this prior art, but it states obviousness. –  Aron Stein Dec 17 '13 at 21:16
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Non-Cited Prior Art

The Scientist and Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing

DSPGuide.com

1997-2011

This is an online, paper, hard copy publication for Digital Signal Processing. It's know as one of the defacto sources of information in relation to signal processing.

Chapter 26: Target Selection

Discusses several aspects and reasons why you would choose values over a predetermined threshold as Claim 13 of '060 claims rights to. In this example, a device for reading cancer in a patient is discussed:

This method of converting the output value into a probability can be useful for understanding the problem, but it is not the main way that target detection is accomplished. Most applications require a yes/no decision on ...

In short, we need a machine that can carry out a multi-parameter space division, according to examples of target and nontarget signals. This ideal target detection system is remarkably close to the main topic of this chapter, the neural network.

Chapter 14:

http://www.dspguide.com/ch14/5.htm

(Just for clarification on Bandpass filters, what they are, how they are comprised, and how common they are in audio.

High-pass, band-pass and band-reject filters are designed by starting with a low-pass filter, and then converting it into the desired response. For this reason, most discussions on filter design only give examples of low-pass filters. There are two methods for the low-pass to high-pass conversion: spectral inversion and spectral reversal. Both are equally useful.

...

BandPass Filter Construction

Lastly, Figs. 14-8 and 14-9 show how low-pass and high-pass filter kernels can be combined to form band-pass and band-reject filters. In short, adding the filter kernels produces a band-reject filter, while convolving the filter kernels produces a band-pass filter. These are based on the way cascaded and parallel systems are be combined, as discussed in Chapter 7. Multiple combination of these techniques can also be used. For instance, a band-pass filter can be designed by adding the two filter kernels to form a band-pass filter, and then use spectral inversion or spectral reversal as previously described. All these techniques work very well with few surprises.

Chapter 17: Custom Filters

http://www.dspguide.com/ch17.htm

Most filters have one of the four standard frequency responses: low-pass, high-pass, band-pass or band-reject. This chapter presents a general method of designing digital filters with an arbitrary frequency response, tailored to the needs of your particular application. DSP excels in this area, solving problems that are far above the capabilities of analog electronics. Two important uses of custom filters are discussed in this chapter: deconvolution, a way of restoring signals that have undergone an unwanted convolution, and optimal filtering, the problem of separating signals with overlapping frequency spectra. This is DSP at its best.

This NON-CITED Prior Art online book has several examples, common solutions to all of the claims in the '060 patent. Reexamine.

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Can You Patent Human Auditory Senses?

I believe they just patented basic human auditory senses. The Claims in '060 discuss selecting frequencies above a predetermined threshold, and suppressing the rest. Likewise, Claim 1 discusses bandpass filtering around a target frequency. This is exactly what the natural auditory senses of the human ear and brain do.

Auditory Masking - Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_masking

"Off frequency listening is when a listener chooses a filter just lower than the signal frequency to improve their auditory performance. This “off frequency” filter reduces the level of the masker more than the signal at the output level of the filter, which means they can hear the signal more clearly hence causing an improvement of auditory performance."

Am I to assume that anyone recognizing a pitch would be infringing?

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NON-CITED Prior Art (1999)

ELECTRONIC GUITAR TUNER

by Kathleen Wettstein and Adam Wunderlich May 4, 1999

http://courses.engr.illinois.edu/ece445/projects/.../project45_final_paper.doc

I found this old 1999 document on 3 examples of basic guitar tuners. This document also has considerable mention of peak detection and only allowing portions of the signal through above a predetermined threshold

The FFT was implemented as a radix 2, decimation in time algorithm. The FFT code used was that made available to students in ECE 320. Since the FFT was a decimation in time algorithm, the complex output was in bit-reversed order. Consequently, the program reordered the output in the correct order, and placed the magnitude squared of the FFT data in an array. Next, the FFT data array was searched for the fundamental frequency. For reasons mentioned earlier, the search algorithm began at the ninth sample in the array. The search was executed by first comparing each data value to an FFT threshold value. *The threshold was chosen so that only peaks in the FFT surpassed it. If the output sample was above the threshold, the program executed a subroutine to identify if the data sample was indeed a peak. A point was considered a peak if the next value in the array was less. *

If a point was identified as a peak, it was considered to be the fundamental. The index of the fundamental in the FFT output array was used to reference two look-up tables. The first look-up table gave the pitch, and second gave the cents out of tune.

It searches for a peak in sound (above a predetermined threshold) and then outputs a display of figures based on frequencies calculated through FFT.

Claim 13 '060 Invalidated?

Figure 5. Block Diagram for DSP program

Figure 5.  Block Diagram for DSP program

Page 8: Pitch Detection

Motorola’s DSP5630x family of processors was chosen because of its availability and familiarity of the designers with the product. Also, this family of DSPs is widely used because of their versatility and capacity for operations such as filtering, and Fast Fourier Transforms (FFTs).

Discusses filtering like it's just another part of audio signal processing.

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"Is magnitude above threshold?" == "Suppressing a display of frequencies or musical notes from a subsequent signal that deviate from the filter mode reference frequency or musical note by a predetermined threshold." How is this novel if using a bandpass filter? Or anything with a high/low limit which would ultimately have a center (target frequency)? –  Aron Stein Dec 19 '13 at 0:19
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The Secret is BandPass is No Secret!!

FREQUENCY FILTERING in practice

version 1.0 released 29/1/99 http://www.xsgeo.com/course/filt.htm

Since this patent focuses around peak selection and filtering, and has no merit otherwise, it's important to realize how common bandpass filtering is and it's wide use among many fields of frequency analysis (medical, television, search for extra terrestrial and of course musical instruments and sound manipulation).

In this 1999 article, it clearly states that bandpass is very common

Introduction

The commonest form of filtering is to remove unwanted frequency components from the data by bandpass frequency filtering. This may be to remove frequencies above the Nyquist before re-sampling or to remove noise types e.g. low frequency swell noise from the data. Most commonly bandpass filters are applied post-migration to improve the clarity of the display. While filters can be applied in several domains they are usually designed in the frequency domain for clarity. They may be applied in the time domain by convolution or in the frequency domain by multiplication, however this is usually transparent to the user. The user has to decide whether to apply a minimum phase or zero-phase filter and must input sufficient parameters to specify the pass or reject bandwidth.

POST-STACK APPLICATIONS

Once the data have been migrated they are usually bandpass filtered to improve the clarity of the display by increasing the signal-to-noise ratio. This is required since the higher frequencies are usually lost in the deeper sections due to various attenuation mechanisms and without filtering the clarity of the deeper section is reduced by the presence of high-frequency noise. It is normal to pass higher frequencies in the shallow part of the section and filter high frequencies in the deeper part.

If the migrated data have been converted to zero-phase then zero-phase filters may be used, otherwise minimum phase filters should be used.

Written in 1999 Describes methods of '060 and it's description section near perfect

Common Filters to include BandPass

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US PG Pub 2010/0128897 with priority to Japanese Application 2007-092067 (Mar. 30, 2007), PCT/JP08/55757, then US filing of 371 on Sep. 30 2009. This seems good 102(b) and 102(e) art:

"...mixed signals for one frame which are converted into those in a frequency region [fourier transformed == "power spectrum frequency sample"] ... A noise signal selection unit selects a noise signal for each frequency bin on the basis of the amount of noise measured." (Abstract).

See Fig. 10. Microphones 15 accept sounds, Fourier Transform (FFT) 17 to a power spectrum frequency sample, and noise amount measuring unit 140(240) selects the frequency bin with the loudest or highest magnitude noise. Q.E.D. :^)

8502060 13. A method for pitch detection, comprising: providing one or more power spectrum frequency samples; selecting a frequency in a frequency band having a largest power spectrum magnitude from the one or more power spectrum frequency samples, the frequency band having an upper frequency limit and a lower frequency limit.

P.S. This reference also discloses "masking" == "suppressing" == "removing" frequency bands as recited in Claim 1 and may be useful in 103 analyses. I do not see display in this case and this case is directed to noise removal not necessarily tuning - but that hardly matters.

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http://www.plogue.com/bidule/help/ch04s11.html Bidule user manual (C) 2001

"FFT:Time Domain to Spectral Domain Conversion ... Spectral To Loudest Freq/Amp

Takes the frequency+magnitude in input and outputs the loudest frequency with its amplitude"

== 13. ... comprising: providing one or more power spectrum frequency samples; selecting a frequency in a frequency band having a largest power spectrum magnitude from the one or more power spectrum frequency samples...

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FFT provides power spectrum frequency sample which is then plugged and chugged to "output the loudest freq" which to me is analogous to Claim 13's "selecting" the freq based on "magnitude." –  Frank-n'Grind Dec 20 '13 at 14:23
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http://pi.physik.uni-bonn.de/~dieckman/DFT/DFT.html Amplitude and Phase of a discrete Fourier Spectrum Last change on: Wed 7 Sep 2011 [not sure when initially published]

"This tutorial describes the calculation of the amplitude and the phase from DFT spectra with finite sampling...

Finding Amplitude and Phase for select frequencies The next statement collects all bin numbers of the spectrum with bin values [magnitudes] over threshold into a list s. The threshold is used to suppress insignificant bins...[pseudo/real code follows enabling]"

== 13. A method ... comprising: providing one or more power spectrum frequency samples; selecting a frequency ... having a largest power spectrum magnitude ....

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I would assume list s is for estimating with pseudo code over a period of time in the frequency domain, or as the '060 diagram calls it "pitch estimator" –  Aron Stein Dec 20 '13 at 0:45
    
I interpret the above "collecting ... into a list" based on "amplitude" value analogous to Claim 13's "selecting" based on "magnitude" in which both are operating on frequency power spectra. –  Frank-n'Grind Dec 20 '13 at 14:22
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