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Latest Patent for smith


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11/17/2005 11:20 AM
Cgiff Latest Patent for smith
I guess this is old news Not sure if you all have seen Mr Smith's latest patent on switchable volume controls pat # 6724897.  
I have read a number of his patents, Can't believe they have been granted but I guess money can buy ajust about anything.  
Nothing novel here only the ability to switch between to preset volume levels. So when your strum or an accent lick can be played at a different volume relative to the rest of your playing. Most artists adjust their volume control,switch on effects or change pickup selection.  
I thought patents were for vovel designs and advancing the state of the art.  
In this case just additional fodder for multipage adds in music orient rags. Brutal!  
Cgiff
 
11/17/2005 1:07 PM
Shea

I do think that's a handy idea, because all those other options you mentioned change the tone.  
 
But it sure doesn't sound patent-worthy.  
 
But
 
11/17/2005 1:39 PM
R.G.
OK, that tears it.  
 
I'm going to start applying for patents any time I come up with a circuit. 8-)  
 
See "The Multi-Vol" project posted for public view at GEO, http://www.geofex.com, dated 6/13/2000. It could well have been the source of Smith's "idea", given the timing. I'm quite sure that Randall would deny that, of course.  
 
That application was, as they say, obvious to one skilled in the art at the time I did it. A guy asked for a way to get one of several discrete volume levels, I thought about it for about ten minutes, then drew up the artwork.  
 
I think that the GEO pre-publication could well be used to break the patent, if anyone cared.
 
11/17/2005 3:14 PM
Dan

Beautiful R.G.
 
11/17/2005 3:15 PM
Rick Erickson
Un-freakin' believable. For years I have installed  
foot-switchable sub-master volume controls in amps for customers on request. This is certainly not new or unique. I think the first one was installed by me in the early 80's. I guess I also need to start patenting everything I can think or have thought of. I just saw that he (Randall Smith) also holds a patent on a parallel effects loop with a mix control - guess what - I did that in the 80's too. This kind of stuff really chaps me.  
 
RE
 
11/17/2005 3:46 PM
steve rathmann
well I think the issue might be that no one has challenged him, have they?  
 
Has he ever actually gone after anyone using those similar circuits in commercial amps and won? I think that like constitutional law issues, patents aren't even considered on their own until there is a challenge in the courts.  
 
If you are doing well enough to be considered a threat by Randall Smith, you can probably afford the lawyers.
 
11/17/2005 4:44 PM
D. Hiatt Collins

As I've mentioned before, your invention has to be novel (as in, *completely* new) in order to qualify for a patent. For some of the other things Smith has patented, it's hard to find good prior examples. For this, however, I know of *at least* one amplifier that already had this feature years ago - the Marshall JCM 900 SLX. It's a one-channel amplifier with switchable master volume controls. This was a widely-available commercial product that was around for years before Smith even applied for this patent.  
 
If Smith tried to sue a manufacturer for using switchable volume controls, you could get his patent invalidated in a heartbeat.  
 
Hiatt
 

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