WTF patents



I'm frustrated by patents that seem oblivious to prior art. Consider US
patent application 20050218880 (http://tinyurl.com/al578), "Apparatus for
powering an electronic musical instrument".

I cannot figure out what this guy thinks he is patenting, that is not
already prior art (consider in particular the "phantom power" scheme for
microphones, and the fact that Alembic basses in the 1970s used external
power sources). The only part of this that *might* be novel is the idea of
having an on-board rechargeable energy source, and recharging it by plugging
a power adapter into the signal jack.

But IANAL.

Anyone else got an opinion as to whether this patent (application) is
actually defensible?

And, is there any way for a member of the general public (me) to weigh in
with prior art on a patent application, before it's granted?

FWIW, the application was filed March 31 2005, and the device was publicly
demonstrated by the "inventor" at the NAMM show in January 2005. I thought
public disclosure before a patent application invalidated it?? Maybe I'm
confused about that.


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