Oracle Seeks Patent on Tracking Viewers Eyes on a Webpage

By Steve Brachmann
October 15, 2013

The Oracle Corporation of Redwood City, CA, is an international leader in the development and sale of enterprise software solutions for businesses and corporations, especially those software suites that involve database management. The corporations recent announcement that it would incorporate the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Provenance protocols for standardized data record control in its upcoming software releases will go a very long way in making Provenance the international standard in that market. Oracle was also recently in the news on the sports page, interestingly enough, when Oracle Team USA pulled off a miraculous upset of the New Zealand team in the recent America’s Cup sailing championship.

Oracle’s strong showings in the technology world and other areas of the news make it a great subject to return to for IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series. Like always, we’ve scoured the most recently released patent applications and issued patents assigned to Oracle by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to get an idea of what we can expect for the future of enterprise software and other computer systems.

In our featured patent application today, we see that Oracle is interested in improving graphic user interface layouts for web pages and other software programs. This application describes methods of analyzing user viewing patterns to help companies develop a product that has a more intuitive layout. Other intriguing patent applications relate to the collection of traffic data for non-GPS vehicle communications systems and quick methods of deploying enterprise software to authorized users within a business network.

A number of U.S. patents related to databasing and other computer system improvements are also explored in today’s column. Two patents recently issued to Oracle protect methods of interacting with database files to provide accurate automatic updates and improve the process of merging documents. Another patent helps businesses with websites keep their content updated regularly to protect against publishing outdated information. Business will also be intrigued by an issued patent protecting methods of building knowledge profiles for corporate employees to aid human resources operations.


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Using Dotplots for Comparing and Finding Patterns in Sequences of Data Points
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130246331

Creating more intuitive forms of user interfaces for computer technologies has always been a concern for information technology developers. When a user views a software interface from any client or monitor, the way that their eyes scan the page will affect how a user parses the information for their own use.

Some companies have found ways of analyzing eye scanpaths for computer users to inform future methods of setting up a user interface for that product. Various scanning strategies, such as eye tracking analysis, can be applied to determine the viewing trends of computer users when interacting with a software product. For example, the viewing patterns of multiple users who interact with a web page could be studied to determine a more efficient layout for that page than currently exists.

This patent application, filed by Oracle with the USPTO, provides for an improved method of analyzing sequential viewpath data to find either patterns or commonalities in the viewing experience of software users. This method is capable of identifying patterns by analyzing different sets of sequential data regarding user viewpaths. A dotplot sub-matrix is used to compare two data sequences. If a plurality of matches are found in these individual sub-matrixes, the viewing analysis method determines that a viewing pattern likely exists.

These sets of sequential viewing data can be attached to specific tokens that attach the viewing pattern to a specific event, such as a computer user directing their browser to a specific website address. As this patent application describes, other embodiments of this invention could be used to plot viewing patterns for text in a document, stock prices in an exchange listing or genomic sequences of DNA, depending on the software being used.

Claim 1 of this patent application would give Oracle the right to protect:

“A method for identifying one or more patterns in a plurality of sequences, the method comprising: reading a set of sequential data with an analysis system, wherein the sequential data comprises a plurality of sequences, each of the plurality of sequences representing an ordered sequence of tokens; generating, with the analysis system, a dotplot based on the tokens and representing matches between each sequence of the plurality sequences; and identifying, with the analysis system, one or more patterns within the sequential data based on the dotplot using a line fitting technique identifying linear relationships between the tokens.”

 

Other Patent Applications

From U.S. Patent Application No. 20130241749, titled “Traffic supervision system.”

Oracle’s software and database developments have led to a bevy of improvements recently to the company’s various enterprise and personal application products. As we look through other patent applications published in prior weeks by the USPTO, we’re seeing a few that indicate Oracle’s interest in improving corporate software suite products. For example, U.S. Patent Application No. 20130247026, which has been titled One Click Deployment, discusses a more efficient method of updating enterprise software applications to various client environments. This system would be better able to provision the receiving computer environment with the portion of the software which they are authorized to interact with, which is useful for application development. U.S. Patent Application No. 20130239109, entitled System and Method of Security Management for a Virtual Environment, describes improvement to application security to support software virtualization, which allows an organizational member to interact with an enterprise program without downloading the program to their computer or device.

Better navigational systems, both on the road and online, are the focus of a few more intriguing applications that have been filed by Oracle. In one, U.S. Patent Application No. 20130241749, filed under the title of Traffic Supervision System, methods of providing a communications server with real-time information about vehicle traffic are described. This system could be used to improve the functionality of OnStar and other vehicle communications systems by providing local traffic data. We also looked at U.S. Patent Application No. 20130238783, titled Personalized Navigation Shortcuts, which would protect an intuitive system of analyzing clicks from a user interface in order to decrease the amount of time it takes a user to access a digital resource which they use often.

 

Issued Patents of Note

From U.S. Patent No. 8543649, titled “Method and Apparatus for Constructing and Maintaining a User Knowledge Profile.”

As always here at IPWatchdog, we’re very interested in the new additions to the patent portfolios of the different corporations we feature in the Companies We Follow series. One would expect a number of patents issued by the USPTO to Oracle would pertain largely to databasing methods and software, and we feature some here today. However, we’re also seeing a few patents that deal with authentication security for web services as well as methods of dynamically updating web content.

Recently, Oracle has earned a number of patents related to data storage, especially for Extensible Markup Language (XML) data, a type of data that can be stored with a variety of tags to aid querying and other functions. For example, U.S. Patent No. 8543898, entitled Techniwues for More Efficient Generation of XML Events from XML Data Sources, protects a newly developed system of updating data and tags in an XML document in response to new data from related resources without creating a memory buffer, which can use an excessive amount of system resources. U.S. Patent No. 8543619, issued under the title Merging XML Documents Automatically Using Attributes Based Comparison, describes a system of merging separate sets of XML data together so that redundant fields are removed and the intended formatting of the data isn’t negatively altered.

Other enterprise software solutions are a main focus among recently awarded Oracle patents. Human resources divisions at corporations will likely benefit from U.S. Patent No. 8543649, which is titled Method and Apparatus for Constructing and Maintaining a User Knowledge Profile. This U.S. patent protects Oracle’s development of a system of building a knowledge profile for employees that could be used to authorize their access to certain business software within a network. Enterprise application is also bolstered by U.S. Patent No. 8543973, entitled Method and System for Providing Authentication Schemes for Web Services, which protects an improved method of user authentication for web-based resources. Finally, U.S. Patent No. 8543608, titled Handling of Expired Web Pages, discusses a system of tagging metadata based on a time of validity for specific website content. This metadata could be used to inform a company that certain content has passed a time threshold that requires removal or updating.

The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a writer located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He has become a regular contributor to IPWatchdog.com, writing about technology, innovation and is the primary author of the Companies We Follow series. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

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