InMusic Files Lawsuit Against Roland Over Electronic Drum Patents

inMusic, the parent company of Denon, M-Audio, Numark and other gear brands, has filed suit against Roland Corporation, claiming infringement of three of its patents.

inMusic’s suit seeks to put a permanent stop to Roland’s sale of products that it says “infringe inMusic’s patented technology and asks the Court to require that Roland compensate inMusic appropriately for Roland’s unauthorized use of patented inMusic technology.”

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. The relevant
inMusic Patents are listed below:

  • U.S. Patent No. 9,424,827, “Electronic Percussion Instrument with Enhanced Playing Area
  • U.S Patent No. 8,785,758, “Electronic Hi-Hat Cymbal Controller”
  • U.S. Patent No. 8, 039,724, “Removable Electronic Drum Head for an Acoustic Drum”

The lawsuit follows a lawsuit filed by Roland that alleges patent infringement by inMusic/Alesis of eight U.S. patents relating to its electronic musical instruments.

The lawsuit was filed in the state of California in the District Court for the Central District of California. The relevant United States Roland patents are listed below:

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,385,135 (Title: Electronic Drums)
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,921,857 (Title: Electronic Drums)
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,756,535 (Title: Electronic Drums)
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,271,458 (Title: Electronic Drums)
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,121,538 (Title: Electronic Drums)
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,459,626 (Title: Electronic Cymbals)
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,881,885 (Title: Electronic Cymbals)
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,632,989 (Title: Electronic Cymbals)

In 2006, Roland sued Behringer over Behringer’s then-new guitar pedal line, which Roland claimed was overly similar to their own BOSS line. The case was settled when Behringer agreed to modify the look of their pedals.

9 thoughts on “InMusic Files Lawsuit Against Roland Over Electronic Drum Patents

  1. Smells like BS. InMusic’s US9424827 for example dates from 2014 and is a patent for having zones on a drum controller head. Lots of preexisting work on controller surfaces with zones. This patent wouldn’t hold under challenge. But that won’t stop them from using it to harass people. Roland’s patents on the other hand are more legitimate new tech and not some dodgy lawyers patenting stuff that everyone is already doing like InMusic does. For example Roland’s US7385135, which has a 1996 priority date, documents a highly specific and particular sensor physics design dealing with sensor fabric weaving and orientation, ideas which Roland was actually the first to do and is a legitimate patent.

    I can’t tell anyone what to do, but after looking at these patents, I am sufficiently irritated by this to boycott all of InMusic’s subsidiaries.

  2. Such a contrast to the world of modular where lots of companies release their designs for anyone to use copy modify and build upon. These big manufacturers dont give two shits about music, musicians or instruments its just a means to a profit.

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