There’s Good News and Bad News

And that’s always followed by: “Which do you want to hear first?” Well, in this case it all depends. First of all I had been waiting for about nine months to hear from a world records group in Europe (I won’t mention the country) about my world record for the most overdubbed voices by one person (238) on a recording of the song America the Beautiful. You can hear it now (click here) with 232 voices in 2008. I started with 227 and have been adding one voice a year and will make it 238 voices for 238 years in 2014.

Secondly, following up my post recently “So you want to get a patent on a great idea? Lots of luck! The patent examiners are taught to reject a large percentage of applicants” after beginning the long hard attempt to obtain a Patent since our first application on Mar 18, 2010, (see here) three years and seven months later came a final rejection notice of my first three and the eight more totaling all of my eleven claims. The Application contained over fifty pages with 117 paragraphs of writing. You would most certainly detect my thinking when I wrote that post, that the efforts were futile. Final that is, until I read in my do it yourself Patent book that a final rejection notice isn’t final and how one should answer that notice. And I did.

So, I called the examiner on the phone and learned that I was dealing with a man who definitely was one with an Asian accent and could barely speak English. And most probably he was one of those I mentioned in my former post who was taught to automatically reject everything. But in their fine print of their thirty or so miles of printed regulations was one which read that the examiner is required by law to help the pro se Applicant like me, and especially to write claims for me.

For the layman, pro se means filing without an attorney. But why didn’t he do it when I asked?  The claim is the meat of the Patent. And so, since he had rejected all three at first and then eight more of my efforts to write some claims, I challenged him and read him the regulation. And I rubbed it up his rear. He had to confer with his supervisor and call me back. When he did I had him get his supervisor on the phone in a three way. She also had a bit of trouble with the English language, but was a little more knowledgeable about the regulations, and saw my side of it. She ordered him to write claims with me on the phone. Gee, I wonder if she had read my post about Patent examiners rejection practices I mentioned above. I would say a good month had been lost with him putting me off.

So, from that moment on we were on the phone twice a week for many minutes, as I recorded the conversation to study later. I could barely understand half of what he said. And then, one day, he finally asserted, would you believe, that he needed and asked for my help and expertise in writing the claim. It was then that I finally assumed that he had never written a claim for a pro se Applicant. There is more but it would take many pages.

We hadn’t gotten anywhere in all those weeks. It was the day before the last day for my official final answer to be filed electronically and we were on the phone for three hours, me in Philly and him in Virginia. Since he didn’t have a computer to write on, he asked me to write it and we went back and forth with legal language and I would have to write it and fax him my copy. After three faxes and supervisor approval, it was finally complete and we had banged out a claim that I had to sign and fax back. And with all the necessary wording like “plurality,” “said,” “whereas,” wherein,” “member,” apparatus,” “comprising,” etc., here is the final concoction. Let me know if you understand it. Not sure I do, even though I wrote it. LOL. It was called Claim number 12, and now becomes number one.

FAX To: Mr. — —-

FROM Donald and Frances Meehan

Application number 13/048318

Proposed Claims for Examiner Amendment

This listing of Claims will replace all prior versions, and listings, in the Application

Listing of Claims

Claims 1 – 11 (cancelled)

12 (new) An improved placement of a plurality of loudspeakers on an apparatus for

listening to multi-channel surround sound on a miniaturized circular shaped platform comprising:

(a) adjustable connecting members, adhering to internationally miniature scales, and to the Inverse Square Law’s treatment of sounds in open air as being the same at any distance whether close or far and,

(b) said platform is constructed from any one of wood, metal, molded formations, rods, poles, or plastic substances providing for said platform in any and all scale distances in any universally recognized miniature scales of between 1:48, and 1:3.27, whereas one foot equals 1/4th inch and one foot equals 39.27 inches respectively, and that said placement on said circular shaped platform is at the diameter of between 12 inches and 39.27 inches from the central position between the ears of the listener’s head at the specified angles in accordance with one of the ITU-RBS 775-1 multi- channel standards published by the International Telecommunications Union for 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, 10.1, 22.1, loudspeaker placement, and emulating in miniature, the live or prerecorded sounds of a full size room, studio, theater, or open air setting, and

(c) said platform comprises a radius of loudspeaker placement being 12 inches, and/or diameter of 24 inches, with the improvement utilizing a miniature scale of 1:12, or one inch equals one foot, the miniaturized multi-channel surround sound loudspeaker placement is 12 inches from the central position between the ears of the listener’s head, and is not 12 feet as in a full size room setting utilizing said International Standards, and

(d) wherein the platform structure of said platform comprising one flat circular member, or up to five flat members and two swivel connectors, said five flat members and said two swivel connectors form the most part of a circle of at least 250 degrees for positioning of said loudspeakers, and each being connected with a machine screw, washers and nut, with a left rear member connecting to a left forward member, and said left forward member being connected to a left swivel that connects to the left side of a front cross member, said front cross member is connected to a right swivel, said right swivel is connected to a right front member, said right front member is connected to a right rear member, and

(e) all four vertical members which hold the loudspeakers are mounted with a screw from the bottom, with a left rear vertical member mounted at 110 degrees from the front center, a left vertical front member mounted at 30 degrees left of center, a right front vertical member mounted at 30 degrees right of center and a right rear vertical member mounted at 110 degrees right of center, and since most small loudspeakers of three to five inches in size contain a screw hole, said small loudspeakers are mounted to the vertical members with a machine screw, with the rear loudspeakers slightly higher, and the front center loudspeaker is attached to the said front cross member with a machine screw, slightly lower, and

(f) said two swivels provide a fine tuning circular adjustment of said platform, and a female screw type standard microphone stand screw mount is attached to the bottom of said front cross member with screws, and a microphone stand adds support in front with the rear members attached to a computer stand with machine screws, washers, and nuts; and in lieu of the computer stand supporting the platform, two more microphone stand screw mounts are mounted on the two rear members for microphone stands.

Remarks : The aforementioned 5.1 embodiment referenced at FIG. 6A, 11A, 12, 13, and 15. Respectfully submitted,


Donald E. Meehan

This was finally late September and I waited for the official papers that came, and were dated October 4, with a deadline of Dec. 31 to answer.  It stated that the Patent was allowed and there would be the fees entailed for it to be issued, around $1100. Holy crap! We agonized. Is it worth it?

I put the letter away and didn’t even bother with it for another couple months, and then decided to read everything again. Lo and behold, my deadline was actually 90 days from Oct. 4, and actually Jan.6. Further reading was that we could file for “Micro” status cutting the fee in half. Further reading was that on Dec. 17 the fees were cut in half again, and after Jan. 1, the $300 all publication fees would be zero. So, if I had returned everything immediately it would have cost around the $1100, and Dec. 31 $745, but I sent it on Jan. 2, and the total was $245. And now, it’s on pins and needles waiting for it to issue. It was a long and hard one. And so, out it went Certified on Jan. 2 and there’s no question that it got there with this undisputed proof:

January 4,   2014 , 10:03 am Delivered ALEXANDRIA, VA 22313
January 4,   2014 , 9:35 am Sorting Complete ALEXANDRIA, VA 22301
January 4,   2014 , 9:31 am Arrival at Unit ALEXANDRIA, VA 22301
January 4,   2014 Depart USPS Sort Facility DULLES, VA 20101
January 3,   2014 , 11:07 pm Processed through USPS Sort Facility DULLES, VA 20101
January 3,   2014 Depart USPS Sort Facility PHILADELPHIA, PA 19176
January 2,   2014 , 8:45 pm Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility PHILADELPHIA, PA 19176
January 2,   2014 , 5:29 pm Dispatched to Sort Facility PHILADELPHIA, PA 19115
January 2,   2014 , 1:32 pm Acceptance PHILADELPHIA, PA 19115

And that was some good news. And now the other news. Actually, the email from the world records place went unnoticed until I checked my “junk” mail and there it was:

“Dear Don Meehan,
Thank you for your email.
Given that it is impossible to prove the number of voices and that the number of sales cannot be guaranteed, we unfortunately cannot accept your claim as a new record.
Yours sincerely,
——— —–
——– —– ——-

Is that doubletalk or what? Even after I explained the simplicity of proving it is all me singing, with files, videos, witnesses, but the fact that they wanted me to guarantee how many recordings would be sold just overwhelmed me. I had written them months before: “With all due respect of your professionalism, there is no record company in the world who would guarantee any sales, and no way 10,000 sales of a recording…”

So, why in the world would guaranteed record sales have anything to do with me establishing a record. The truth apparently is that it’s all about money, and maybe I’ll get into that in another post. But for now, I guess you win some and you lose some. But lose or not, I’ll still boast my world record about singing a “chorus of one,” 238 of my voices on America the Beautiful to celebrate 238 years since July 4, 1776 and the Declaration of Independence. I guess that lady in that country in Europe obviously didn’t want to spread the word and impress on the fact that they’d be promoting the words that America was so beautiful.