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Automating Invention is Robert Plotkin's blog on the impact of computer-automated inventing on the future of invention and patent law.

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July 13, 2005

Microsoft obtains patent on training people to analyze music

News.com reports that Microsoft has obtained a patent on techniques for "training a trainee to analyze media, such as music, in order to recognize and assess the fundamental properties of any piece of media, such as a song or a segment of a song." As News.com summarizes, "that roughly means the company has a recommendation tool for music that is run by real people, and it needs to make sure that people are rating songs the same way."

Rather than comment on the merits of the patent, let me call your attention to the fact that the training process covered by the patent "includes an initial tutorial and a double grooving process."

Double grooving process?

The idea is that music experts are used to rate (classify) songs according to various criteria. The trainee is then asked to rate the same songs, and if he or she is able to match the experts' ratings sufficiently closely, the trainee is deemed "a groover" and is then allowed to rate new songs. Or, as the patent puts it: "When a high enough degree of cross-listening consensus is reached, the new listener becomes a groover and can classify new songs or segments of songs."

I can see the letter that Microsoft will send when it believes someone is infringing the patent: "We hereby demand that you immediately cease all grooving using our patented double grooving process. If you continue to groove, swing, get down, or otherwise funkifize, we shall be required to take legal action against you."

Posted by Robert at July 13, 2005 8:07 AM
category: Software Patents


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