International Business Machines Corporation of Armonk, NY, is a technology development and consultant agency that provides information technology for business solutions. IBM is a huge player in the world of technology research and development, and the company currently has the distinction of being awarded the most U.S. patents every year for the past 20 years, according to business publication Bloomberg. These factors make IBM a major focus for IPWatchdog, as we continue our regular series of following U.S. Patent & Trademark Office publications regarding American technology firms. See Companies We Follow.
Within the past month, many IBM patent applications published by the USPTO show a desire to improve multimedia experiences on many computer devices. Patent applications filed by IBM include systems for improving secure access of licensed content and another providing a more viewer-responsive experience for watching live events.
IBM is still heavily involved with the development of business applications for computer systems. To that end, the company has filed patent applications for a system of capturing the workflow process of an employee accessing project software. Another application creates a visualization of temporal event data to aid in medical diagnostic processes. One official patent awarded to IBM protects a system of providing feedback to publishers from their subscribers.
Complete file histories courtesy of The Patent Box.
Methods of providing subscription-based content to computer users have improved in recent years. Publish and subscribe applications, also known as pub/sub, are capable of storing data and distributing that data among wide audiences of registered subscribers. However, disseminating all this data usually requires the use of third-party “broker” programs that transmit information in one direction, allowing very little feedback from data recipients.
The USPTO recently granted IBM the right to protect a system of collecting subscriber feedback and sending that feedback to publishers. With this method, a publisher can request a subscriber to leave feedback that is returned to the publisher. The system would compare the feedback to subscriber data so that publishers would have a better idea of who left the feedback and to which demographics that person belongs.
Claim 1 of this official patent protects:
“A computer implemented method for providing feedback to a publisher, comprising: comparing, in response to receiving a published message from the publisher comprising an option, the message with subscriber data; selecting, in response to a publish operation and responsive to determining a matching subscriber associated with the published message, a notification for transmission to the publisher; receiving a published message from the publisher comprising the option; responsive to determining the matching subscriber, incrementing a first count associated with matching subscribers; checking to determine that the message is to be sent to the matching subscriber, the checking based on whether at least one option is selected; responsive to determining that the message is to be sent to the matching subscriber, incrementing the first count; responsive to transmitting the message to the matching subscriber, checking whether the message has been delivered to the matching subscriber; and responsive to determining that the message has been delivered to the matching subscriber, incrementing a second count associated with delivered messages.”
Content licensing is a digital security measure that many content publishers elect to apply on their work. In various forms, content licensing involves authorizing the access of a computer user who’s trying to access locked content, whether that authorization involves a password or other means of identification. These traditional forms of securing published content from unauthorized users become more cumbersome to use and apply when content can be accessed by different computer devices.
This system of streamlining access to licensed content, for which IBM is seeking legal protections, involves a content access application stored in the random access memory of a mobile device. The application helps a content server identify whether the mobile device is authorized to access content, including pay-per-view or subscription-based content. The application can also request a license to view content on behalf of the mobile device.
Claim 1 of this IBM patent application seeks to protect:
“A method of distributing licensed content across multiple devices, the method comprising: identifying, by a mobile device, licensed content being presented by a local presentation device; determining, by the mobile device, whether the mobile device is eligible to receive the licensed content; requesting, by the mobile device, a license for the licensed content being presented by the local presentation device; receiving, by the mobile device, the license for the licensed content being presented by the local presentation device; receiving, by the mobile device, licensed content for mobile device presentation; and presenting, by the mobile device, the licensed content for mobile device presentation.”
At live events, including sports games or concerts, there are dozens of media streams being created simultaneously by cameras capturing the event from many different angles. This provides a television producer more camera angles to choose from when trying to build a broadcast. Although the producer is trying to build a broadcast for a mainstream audience, there are many times where individual viewers may have a viewing angle of choice which they’d like to keep watching.
This IBM patent application would protect a system that gives television viewers much more control over the camera angles they’re presented with during a broadcast. According to flow charts attached to the application, users would be able to set their preferences for camera location, number of different camera views to use and the minimum length of each segment shown. The application indicates that, in the future, this system would be able to display media feeds taken by spectators as well.
As Claim 1 states, IBM has devised:
“A method for a media source provider that has a portable media source to do business, the method comprising the steps of: agreeing with an aggregation provider to provide media streams that satisfy a media content specification; supplying a media stream of an event based on the media content specification; and receiving compensation from the aggregation provider for the supplied media stream of the event.”
The single sign-on (SSO) access mechanism is often used by business enterprises to restrict access to confidential software resources contained within their network. IBM already distributes an SSO access control product known as AccessStudio, which creates user profiles for employees for accessing software resources for software application development or other business activities.
IBM is looking protect a system, outlined in this patent application, of using its SSO control systems to create a log of actual events and procedures performed on the software accessed by an authorized user. A capture tool included with the application would create a workflow file that could be loaded by a replay tool elsewhere on the network to view a user’s work process at variable speeds.
Claim 1 of this patent application would provide protections for:
“A method of analyzing captured application workflow data, comprising: receiving a data record that has been generated as a result of an interaction with an application, the data record being text-based and including application property data, and a time-based sequence of events representing the interaction; using the data record to generate a clone of the application; and re-playing the interaction with the application using the clone.”
Temporal event data is a type of record often created and used in medical fields during treatment. This data involves physical symptoms surrounding a patient’s illness, dates of diagnosis and any other information or notes logged by physicians. Analyzing this information more effectively would help doctors come up with better treatment options, but the data set is often too large and unstructured for either humans or computers to analyze effectively.
This system of devising electronic medical records based on temporal event data would create flow charts based on data like symptoms and diagnosis dates. Portions of the flow chart could be shaded differently to indicate intensity of symptoms or other information. The flow chart can also have portions of different size to indicate the priority of that symptom during treatment.
As Claim 1 describes, IBM wants to protect:
“A method for processing temporal event data, comprising: obtaining said temporal event data comprising a plurality of entities undergoing one or more events; aggregating said temporal event data; generating a flow graph to represent said aggregated temporal event data, wherein said flow graph comprises a directed acyclic graph having a plurality of nodes connected by edges, wherein each of said nodes represents a group of entities in a given state; generating a view of said flow graph; rendering a visualization of said flow graph view to a user; obtaining one or more user interactions; and updating one or more of said visualization and said flow graph view based on said user interactions.”