Few corporations enjoys a better share of the global semiconductor market than Qualcomm Incorporated of San Diego, CA. Perennially near the top of semiconductor manufacturing company, when ranked by annual sales, the technology manufacturer has been getting a great boost by the success of its Snapdragon 801 processor and other components used in Samsung’s Galaxy S5 device. Discounts on faster smartphones in China could greatly increase the presence of Qualcomm’s semiconductor technologies in that country. Qualcomm is also busy developing processors for appliances involved in the growing “Internet of Things,” a concept we’ve discussed previously here on IPWatchdog.
A few months have gone by since our last check, so it’s the perfect time to return to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Database to see what inventions have been assigned to Qualcomm in recent weeks. We’ve noticed patent applications and issued patents galore that chart an intriguing path of technological innovation that may turn into services which are widespread through electronic devices. Here at IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we’ve analyzed what makes these inventions revolutionary and share our favorites with our readers.
Fuel efficiency and carbon reduction from vehicle use are the main thrust of our featured patent application today. This patent application describes a system by which a fuel transaction can be uploaded to a carbon credit management system for applying rewards to vehicle owners. Electronic device owners who are walking around in urban centers may find better mapping applications because of two other recently published Qualcomm applications.
Our look at Qualcomm’s recently issued patents has turned up a wide assortment of novel digital services for mobile device owners. Discounts for mobile TV broadcasts, emergency medical service alerts and methods of socially connecting users with related interests within a local area have been protected by a few patents issued to Qualcomm. We also noticed a useful patent for conserving battery using in computing devices by detecting a user’s eye gaze and providing bright light to only those sections of the screen being viewed.
System and Method for Managing Carbon Emission Credits at a Fuel Dispensing Stations…
U.S. Patent Application No. 20140089078
Reining in carbon emissions created by American cars is a major concern for those worried about the negative effects of climate change. Electric and hybrid cars using alternative fuels have become more prevalent due in part to stricter emissions standards from agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These regulations are an attempt to lower fossil fuel-based pollution created by the 220 American adults who drive an average of one-and-a-half hours daily.
Carbon emission offset credits and programs can help to stem the effects of carbon pollution by enabling individuals to personally interact with a system through which they might be rewarded for using less fossil fuel. However, current methods of interacting with carbon credit management systems are lacking in terms of allowing a driver to interact with the system and check emissions credit data while fueling a vehicle.
Qualcomm has filed this patent application with the USPTO as of January 2013, and the application claims priority to several provisional patent applications, which means that this is the first non-provisional patent application filed seeking protection for this innovation. The filing of several provisional patent applications followed closely on the heels with a filing of a non-provisional patent application, as was the case here, suggests that Qualcomm was looking to establish the earliest priority dates possible with respect to various aspects of the innovation as they became available. Qualcomm handles their patent portfolio in a serious, deliberate way, so this type of sophisticated use of a series of provisional patent applications in advance of a non-provisional patent application filing is not at all surprising.
The specification of this non-provisional patent application discloses a system of communicating fuel transaction information, including fuel amount and pump identifier data, as well as on-board diagnostics data to a carbon credit management systems. This data can be used to determine any carbon emission credit adjustments that should be made to an individual’s carbon credit account.
This system relies on use of a portable computing device (PCD), such as a smartphone or a portable digital assistant (PDA) device. These PCDs are already capable of handling a number of financial transactions for an individual user. Device users who are members of a consumer carbon offset initiative can use their device to process any carbon credit transactions and check their credit account status. The PCD can scan a machine-readable tag on a pump to initiate the transaction, allowing the system to process the payment and any carbon credit adjustments.
Claim 1 of this Qualcomm patent application would protect:
“A method for managing carbon emission credits associated with a vehicle fueling at a fuel dispensing station, the method comprising: receiving a request via a communications network for a vehicle fueling transaction at a fuel dispensing station; determining a pump identifier associated with the fuel dispensing station; sending a message to a store controller associated with the pump identifier for a fuel amount dispensed by the fuel dispensing station; receiving the fuel amount from the store controller; receiving on-board diagnostics (OBD) data associated with the vehicle; calculating a carbon emission adjustment based on the OBD data; and determining an estimated carbon emissions amount associated with the vehicle fueling transaction by applying the carbon emission adjustment to a predetermined carbon emissions amount for the fuel amount.”
Other Patent Applications
Qualcomm’s computing and semiconductor technologies often reflect a number of intriguing new technologies for consumer electronic devices of various kinds. One area in which we’re seeing some amazing progress recently involves applying these technologies to better help pedestrians in a variety of settings. For example, U.S. Patent Application No. 20140080515, entitled System and/or Method for Pedestrian Navigation, would protect a method of improving the precision of mobile device location for determining walking paths for pedestrians. This system uses both direct measurements, such as signal strength, and indirect measurements using data recorded by accelerometers, gyroscopes and other sensors, for more accurate pedestrian routing through an electronic device. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140080514, titled Characterizing an Indoor Structure Based on Detected Movements and/or Position Locations of a Mobile Device, also describes a system of using measurements from a mobile electronic device for mapping applications. This system would enable better updates to maps of interior areas for any building, especially if the user is walking through a section which has been recently renovated to change the room layout.
Discovery of electronic devices within a network, as well as other digital discovery services for consumers, are at the core of a couple of other technologies described by patent applications filed recently by Qualcomm. For example, U.S. Patent Application No. 20140082185, which is titled Systems and Methods for Transmitting and Receiving Discovery Messages, would protect a system that enables better discovery of other computing devices on connected networks. After a device has been discovered, another networked device can send a follow-up message that connects a discovered device to digital services. Discover messages are also a focus of the innovation described in U.S. Patent Application No. 20140080481, filed under the title System and Method for Advertising and Communicating Within a Neighborhood Aware Network. This system is designed to better partition digital resources within a localized, neighborhood-aware network, allowing neighborhood residents to find relevant services.
Issued Patents of Note
Qualcomm Incorporated is regularly featured here on IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series because of its longstanding history of receiving a great deal of issued patents assigned by the USPTO. This corporation’s intellectual property holdings for computing technology gives us a great insight into the future of electronic devices and the kinds of digital services we might come to expect from our smartphones and tablets. Today, our search of Qualcomm’s recently issued patents has rendered an assortment of intriguing intellectual properties for social networking and other services.
Proximity-based methods of creating a means for digital device users to communicate is protected for this company by U.S. Patent No. 8688143, which is titled Location Based Service (LBS) System and Method for Creating a Social Network. This invention can help electronic device users within a close geographic area connect better based on correlations between their interests. Although this patent doesn’t come with the canceled claims that would suggest that it had faced a rejection, the patent application for this technology faced four final rejections from the USPTO after Qualcomm originally filed the application in August 2004. U.S. Patent No. 8682345, entitled Utilizing Relationships Between Places of Relevance, enables a mobile device to determine a place of relevance even without a strong network connection. This system enables better notification of location-based services and nearby businesses to a user’s device.
A trio of patents we found for today’s column further detail some interesting innovations to mobile devices and related online services that device users can access. The growth of mobile-based television broadcast systems for devices may be improved by the invention protected with U.S. Patent No. 8689247, issued under the title Systems and Methods for Distributing and Redeeming Credits on a Broadcast System. This patent protects a method for distributing coupons and other credits to device users that may entice them to purchase mobile TV services for a reduced rate. Battery power conservation is the focus of the technology protected by U.S. Patent No. 8687840, titled Smart Backlights to Minimize Display Power Consumption Based on Desktop Configurations and User Eye Gaze. With this system, if an electronic device user diverts his gaze from an active area on the display to a different area on the same display, the LED backlights can be individually operated to illuminate the active area while conserving battery power in other LED regions. Finally, we also noticed a potentially life-saving innovation protected by U.S. Patent No. 8680989, entitled Sensor to Detect an Emergency Event. This system uses a mobile device to determine if a user is facing an emergency event, and then produces an audible alarm as well as a display that allows a person to communicate the event to an emergency services server.