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Article One Partners Hunts for Prior Art for European Patents


Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Principal Lecturer, PLI Patent Bar Review Course
Posted: September 23, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

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As I was perusing the ongoing research Studies being conducted by Article One Partners (AOP) for this weekly article, I noticed that there are two Studies ongoing relating to two European Patents.  Specifically, there is an ongoing search for prior art relating to the controlling of movement of a virtual body, which corresponds with EP808484.  The other Study relates to a user interface system based on a pointing device, which corresponds with EP1573498. Both of these patents are owned by Koninklijke Philips Electronics.

I have not previously noticed AOP doing Studies relative to foreign patents, but the hunt for prior art knows no boundaries and it seems only logical that some outside the United States would want to tap into the AOP network of researchers for prior art relative to non-U.S. patents.

In the case of EP808484, the technology relates to online gaming and virtual worlds.  The purpose of the invention is to provide a system for modeling a virtual body within a virtual environment, and controlling the movements of the virtual body in response to user body movement while providing acceptable level of realism.

The first two paragraphs of the specification provide a nice summary of the invention:

The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for controlling the movement of a virtual body, where the virtual body is a computer-based model that represents the human, or other, form in a computer-generated virtual environment.

The form taken by the virtual environment will depend on the intended use of the system and may, for example, comprise the interior of a building for an architectural modelling application, or urban or surreal landscapes for games or other applications, around which environment the virtual body controlled by the user is moved. In the following, the term “virtual environment” will be used for such virtual landscapes or situations: the term “physical environment” will be used to denote the ‘real-world’ surroundings of the user, for example a room in which the user contacts the various hardware devicees, such as a head-mounted display (HMD), which provide the interface to the virtual environment. The terms “virtual body” and “physical body” should be construed accordingly.

This “virtual world Study” is a request for prior art of any kind, including US and foreign patents and patent applications, as well as non-patent literature (NPL).  The Reward of $5,000 is guaranteed to be paid to the Researcher who submits the highest quality prior art, provided however that the prior art is not already known.  So if you are going to tackle this research you should take a look at the known prior art. Finally, any prior art submitted must have been published before December 6, 1995. Prior art from after this critical date will be declined.

The other Study, the invention being researched relates to a user interaction system that comprises an electrical apparatus, a portable pointing device operable by a user, a camera taking a picture; and a digital signal processor, capable of receiving and processing the picture. The pointing device contains the camera and can send pictures of regions of a room or objects in those regions to a digital signal processor (DSP), which can identify the regions or objects on the basis of one or more pictures imaged by the camera. The user has the freedom to point to whatever object she wants, and in such a way a very user-friendly and powerful user inter- action system is realized.

This Study requests various forms of prior art, including US and foreign patents and patent applications, as well as non-patent literature (NPL).  The Reward of $5,000 is guaranteed to be paid to the Researcher who submits the highest quality prior art. Finally, any prior art submitted must have been published before November 19, 2002. Prior art from after this critical date will be declined.

In addition to the previously mentioned Studies, Article One Partners currently has 46 open and active Studies.  Some that may be of particular interest may include those that follow.  To participate as a researcher to submit prior art to these or any other AOP study you can register by visiting Article One Researcher Overview.

Light tube and power supply circuit

This is a multiple-patent Study relating to U.S. Patent Nos. 7,049,761 (particularly claims 2 and 19); 7,510,299 (particularly claim 1) and 8,093,823 (particularly claim 2).  The invention disclosed in these patents relates to a light tube illuminated by LEDs (light emitting diodes) which are packaged inside the light tube and powered by a power supply circuit. More specifically, the Study seeks prior art that relates to: (1) a retrofit LED light tube for replacing a standard fluorescent light tube in a fixture; (2) a replacement light for use in a fixture having a double ended bi-pin socket set designed for fluorescent tubes; and (3) an elongate generally tubular lighting device for replacing a conventional fluorescent light tube.

 Synchronous random access memory

This Study relates to U.S. Patent No. 5,808,958, which discloses a synchronous random access memory (“SRAM”) used in a data processing system.  Generally speaking, the synchronous random access memory is arranged to be responsive directly to a system clock signal for operating synchronously with the associated microprocessor.

The SRAM prior art must have the following characteristics: (1) The SRAM is responsive to a system clock signal where the system clock signal also controls the operation of a digital processor; (2) The SRAM receives an address signal for accessing storage cells with the SRAM; (3) The SRAM has a timing control and circuit that produces two signals: a) an address control signal; and b) a data control signal; (4) The SRAM’s data control signal selects a predetermined number of data bits (e.g, a burst length) for output from the SRAM’s storage cells; (5) The SRAM has an addressing circuit that latches the address control signal (item 3a) and a clock cycle of the system clock signal; and (6) The SRAM has an output circuit that produces a predetermined number of data bits from the SRAM’s storage cells; the output circuit is responsive to the system clock signal and the number of data bits output from the output circuit is determined by the data control signal.

Headgear assembly with Velcro fastener

This Study relates to U.S. Patent No. 7,188,620, which discloses a headgear for securing and positioning a mask suitable for the treatment of sleep disordered breathing (such as sleep apnea), which is constructed from a composite including polyurethane foam. References of interest should disclose a headgear assembly, for example as shown in Figure 4 of the Study patent, and should have the following characteristics: (1) A portion of each strap comprising of a loop material having a first width; and (2) A portion of each strap comprising of a hook material having a second width, where the second width is narrower than the first width so that the hook material does not irritate the wearer.

Network communications

This Study relates to a method of communicating between different types of telecommunication networks.  References of interest will describe a method of converting a call traffic coming from either a digital, analog, or cellular telecommunications network protocol to an internet-based protocol and then back.  Also of potential interest are references that relate to interfacing between a public switched telephone network (“PSTN”) interface and a packet switched network, where it is a PSTN to an internet based protocol (IP, TCP/IP) and then back to PSTN e.g., with a VoIP system.

This request for prior art is for any relevant disclosures not already known, including non-patent literature, patents, and patent applications.  Please see the list of prior art already known.

DISCLAIMER: Although Article One Partners is a major sponsor of IPWatchdog.com, no non-public information about any study has been provided to me.  While I do write a weekly article about interesting research Studies AOP currently has ongoing, I do not know who AOP’s clients are that may have requested any particular Study.  Likewise, I have no inside information related to why any particular study may have been undertaken.  Nevertheless, as I write this weekly column I do research and from time to time stumble across ongoing litigation or something that allows me to form a working hypothesis. That does not suggest that AOP has given me access to such information.  It merely means I was able to find information through publicly available documents, which allows me to then make an educated guess or to provide opinion commentary.  Furthermore, any speculation on my part is just that — speculation.  

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Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, 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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  1. Patent Assault Starts Thursday:

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/09/patent-busting-crowdsourced/