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Prior Art Hunting: Signal Processing, Lithium Batteries and more

Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Principal Lecturer, PLI Patent Bar Review Course
Posted: August 27, 2012 @ 6:00 am

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Article One Partners has just reached the $3 million milestone, having given out over $3 million to its cadre of researchers.  Currently the total sum awarded by Article One is at $3,049,000 and counting, with some $64,000 being awarded to the winners of closed Studies on August 24, 2012.  For a list of Study winners dating back to November 2010 see AOP Winners.

If you are interested in participating visit Join the Article One Parnters Research Community. There are now 33 active research studies ongoing, several with $10,000 Rewards for prior art, which compares to the more typical $5,000 Reward for prior art.  Below are several research projects that may be of interest.


Radio signal reconstruction using signal processor

This Study relates to U.S. Patent No. 8,045,942, which covers radio signal processing. The patent covers a waveform reconstruction circuit that receives an RF signal from an antenna, digitizes it, and then generates an undistorted reconstructed waveform. The reconstructed waveform can then be conventionally mixed and demodulated to extract useful signal information with enhanced receiver fidelity and sensitivity.

References of interest will focus on a receiver including an analog to digital converter (ADC) and a digital signal processor (DSP) (or other digital circuit) for reducing distortion. The ADC receives an RF signal. Optionally, the ADC may, but is not required to, receive the RF signal through an optical transmission line. The ADC digitizes the received signal at RF, i.e., before the received signal is downconverted from RF. The DSP receives the digitized RF signal and removes distortion from the RF signal using a predetermined reconstruction paradigm. The paradigm may, for example, include replacing a distorted portion of the signal with an undistorted portion of the signal or using a Fast-Fourier Transform (FFT) algorithm (e.g., using an FFT to reconstruct a smooth waveform from a distorted waveform using a waveform library). The DSP may also decode and extract baseband information from the digitized RF signal.

While this particular patent did not issue until February 5, 2010, it traces its priority backward through a series of continuations all the way back to February 5, 1996. With this in mind, prior art from on or before February 4, 1995 is preferable, but any prior art dated before February 5, 1996 will be accepted.


Method for remotely powering access equipment in a data network

This Study relates to a method for remotely powering equipment in a data network, and more specifically to U.S. Patent No. 6,218,930, and carries a $10,000 Reward.  The method involves a power sourcing data node (i.e., a router that acts as a source of power), that provides power over a signaling pair (e.g., Ethernet) to a powered device (e.g., a VoIP phone). Importantly, the method further involves the allegedly inventive and critical step of detecting whether remote equipment (e.g., a VoIP phone) is connected to the data network by delivering a low level current (e.g., 20 ma) to the network interface, and measuring a voltage drop in the return path to determine whether a device has been connected. Finally, the method involves controlling the power to a powered device that has been connected to the network.

Possible areas of interest would also include attempted solutions at powering VoIP telephones, Power over Ethernet/LAN solutions developed by PowerDsine, as well as power over USB and Firewire.

While this ‘930 patent did not issue until April 17, 2001, it traces its priority back to a provisional patent application filed on March 10, 1999. With this in mind, prior art from on or before March 9, 1998 is preferable, but any prior art dated before March 10, 1999 will be accepted.


Systems and methods for controlling cellular networks and allocating subcarriers

This Study relates to multi-cell, multi-subscriber wireless systems using orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), and also carries a $10,000 reward. It relates to U.S. Patent No. 7,072,315, which covers a method and apparatus for controlling OFDMA cellular networks is described. In one embodiment, the method comprises receiving channel characteristics and noise-plus-interference information measured at spatially distributed subscribers and assigning traffic channels for an orthogonal frequency-division multiple-access (OFDMA) network.

For this study prior art that will be most preferred will related to orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) systems. There are specific requirements for the prior art that will be submitted. Unlike some of Article One’s searches which look for the best prior art available, this search has a specific definition of a match, so anyone interested in participating in this search should closely review the section labeled “Requirements to Match.”


Lithium battery arrangement with many batteries

This Study relates to an electrical device or a battery module (preferably for a medical device such as an external defibrillator) having more than 6 lithium battery cells connected so as to deliver more than 1KJ, and preferably more than 85KJ, where each cell has less than 2g of lithium and less than 10g of manganese dioxide. This request would be met by devices or modules that use non-rechargeable (primary) batteries smaller in size than C-batteries, such as A, AA, AAA, 1/2A, 2/3A, 123A, and similar sized rechargeable (secondary) lithium-ion batteries.

This request would be met by devices or modules that use batteries smaller in size than C-batteries, such as A, AA, AAA, 1/2A, 2/3A, 123A, and similar sized rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Again, there are particular requirements placed on the prior art that will be accepted, so if you are interested in participating please carefully read the section labeled “Requirements to Match.”

For more Studies visit AOP active research studies.

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About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.


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