The process of using a laser to create piano rolls was being discussed in April of 2003 in Mechanical Music Digest (MMD), when Mr. Gerety appeared for the first time in this discussion and announced that he had just been granted a patent on the topic being discussed. He said that he had a device for sale that put the process into practice, and anyone could buy the device from him and create piano rolls. He hadn't posted in the MMD before and hasn't posted since, and nobody has seen the device, been quoted a price nor created a piano roll with this device. The most visible effect that over the eleven years since this patent was granted, the idea of using a laser to create a piano roll has not been discussed; Mr. Gerety did not offer to license his patent and nobody could expect to make enough from creating piano rolls today to offset the cost of this (unseen) device nor litigation if they tried to do this on their own and risk a patent infringement situation. My question is, since the only measurable effect of this patent was to stop development of the patented process, and Mr. Gerety doesn't appear to have made a single penny on this patent, what would it take to disallow or eliminate this patent?

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    This is another case of people having negative feelings about patents and the patent office that way beyond what are deserved due to ignorance of the patent field. This is posted as a comment to keep my answer below a simple clean answer.
    – George White
    Aug 19, 2014 at 22:30
  • In the U.S. there is no requirement to "work the patent". The inventor or owner not doing anything and not granting any licenses is their prerogative. If they aren't making money on it the maintainance fees might seem high and it might be dropped well before the 20 year life.
    – George White
    Aug 19, 2014 at 22:41

1 Answer 1


I assume you are referring to patent document US 2003022057. The top part of the front page is below. In the upper right hand corner it says Pub. No.: That is an abbreviation for Publication number. This document itself is an application for a patent, not evidence that a patent was issued. This is the only document that comes up with a search of the inventors name, the word piano and the word laser. No corresponding granted patent comes up.

As you can see below further below the status of this application as of 2006 was abandoned. enter image description here enter image description here

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