LG Electronics of Seoul, South Korea, is a multinational corporation in the world of electronics development and manufacturing with operations in mobile communications, energy solutions, home entertainment and home appliances. In recent days, the corporation has been experiencing a lot of financial success, and its $411.8 billion in net income during the 2nd quarter of 2014 is more than twice what the company earned in the same period last year. The 14.5 million smartphone units sold by the company during this period, including 900,000 units of LG’s flagship G3 smartphone, is cited as a major reason for this increase. LG successfully won an appeal recently in a $910 million patent infringement lawsuit brought forth by Multimedia Patent Trust over video compression technologies. In home appliances, news reports from global publications are indicating that LG is focused on developing a line of smart home appliances which use the LG HomeChat system.
Here at IPWatchdog, we haven’t featured LG Electronics all that often in our Companies We Follow series, but they inhabit a very strong position in terms of global intellectual property development which deserves to be covered. As always, we’ve collected an intriguing collection of patent applications and recently issued patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which are assigned to LG. We found a variety of innovations related to mobile electronic devices and a couple involving some intriguing home appliances.
Today, we’ve explored a couple of patent applications related to improved methods for businesses that are trying to reach mobile users within a close proximity, including one technology for directly communicating proximity-based services to mobile device owners as well as methods for communicating those proximity-based services to groups. Another patent application discusses an improved LED lighting apparatus for better diffusion of light on an LCD screen. We also noticed a patent application related to an improved method of manufacturing solar cells.
As with every company in our series, we try to give a thorough accounting of patents recently issued to the company which we’re profiling. Below, we’ve delved into a trio of patents which protect improvements to digital content broadcasting systems, including one patent describing more secure methods of setting parental controls on children viewing habits. Another patent we’ve explored discloses an improved voice recognition technology for controlling television units. Finally, LG has patented a component for a drying machine which can heat a small space for items which are difficult to dry, like shoes.
LG Electronics Patent Applications: Wireless Network Services, Voice Recognition and Solar Cells
LG Electronics is responsible for a wide array of innovation in many fields related to electronics. Our most recent foray into patent applications assigned to this corporation showed us everything from wireless networking services to novel hardware upgrades for mobile electronic devices. Readers who are interested in the research and development in consumer electronics from Korean markets may enjoy learning about a few of these inventions.
Businesses and individuals can easily establish a digital presence through the Internet, but proximity-based services can help connect businesses to local individuals who might be interested in their goods and services. We noticed some LG Electronics innovations in the field of proximity-based discoveries, such as the technology expressed within U.S. Patent Application No. 20140204924, which is titled Method and Apparatus of Performing a Discovery Procedure. The method that would be protected by this patent application involves a discovery procedure by mobile user equipment for identifying proximity-based services available through a wireless local access network. This system is designed to provide a platform for direct communication of proximity-based services between user equipments through a cellular network. Another invention directed at improving discovery of proximity-based services has been filed with the USPTO through U.S. Patent Application No. 20140198708, titled Method and Apparatus for Group Communication in Proximity-Based Service. This invention provides for channels of group communication so that information on proximity-based services is sent to multiple user equipments operated by those within the group.
A technology developed to improve wireless data transfers using particular communication protocols is involved in U.S. Patent Application No. 20140204813, filed under the title Method and Apparatus for Transceiving Signals. The downlink signal transmitting method that LG Electronics is seeking to patent allows for the more effective transmitting and reception of signals through a Time Division Duplexing (TDD) wireless communication system, a method of transmitting data that maximizes uplink and downlink connection capacities.
A couple of patent applications featuring improvements to LG’s various electronic hardware products also caught our eyes during our most recent search of this company’s innovation. A method of receiving and processing voice commands on LG’s electronic devices would be protected by U.S. Patent Application No. 20140208209, which is titled Electronic Device and Method of Controlling the Same. The electronic device method disclosed within this patent application would convert a voice command into digital text for review by a user so he or she can confirm the action. This system is designed for more effective editing of text and graphics through an electronic device via voice command. A better lighting apparatus for providing backlighting of a liquid crystal display (LCD) is described within U.S. Patent Application No. 20140204578, titled Planar Lighting Device. This patent application would protect a planar lighting device with a plurality of LED light sources which is structurally slim, a desirable trait for LCD backlights, while providing better diffusion of light across the LCD screen.
Home appliances and energy solutions are other focal areas of LG Electronics’ research and development activities, and we wanted to share some recently filed innovations in these fields as well. LG may be able to protect the manufacture of certain solar cell technologies thanks to U.S. Patent Application No. 20140202526, entitled Solar Cell and Method for Manufacturing the Same. This novel method of manufacturing solar cells is designed to reduce the damage sustained by certain substrates used in the cell by utilizing a laser beam with a low energy density; laser beams are used to create a dielectric layer on the first back surface field region of the solar cell. LG is also attempting to patent a laundry drying machine designed to have a more secure clothing holding compartment, as is expressed within U.S. Patent Application No. 20140202218, filed under the title Apparatus for Treating Laundry. The drying machine described is comprised of a rotatable drum to hold laundry, a panel for sealing the open ends of the rotatable drum and a circular guide to support the rotatable drum during operation.
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Issued Patents of Note: From Digital Broadcast Services to More Voice Recognition Technologies
LG Electronics often petitions for U.S. patent rights for its innovations, and in 2013, its 1,947 patents issued by the USPTO was the 10th-most for that year among all corporations globally, and the second-most in Korea behind Samsung. What we saw in our latest perusal of LG’s most recently issued patents indicated that this company is trying to strengthen its position in the mobile electronics world. Even more networking and hardware technologies are featured in these patents, which actually give LG the right to protect these inventions.
Broadcast services for multimedia content, especially those developed for mobile devices, are featured in many of the patents we explored in this journey into LG Electronics’ recently patented technologies. Better methods of searching for content in a digital broadcast or finding multimedia related to broadcast content is protected for this company by U.S. Patent No. 8793739, titled Mobile Terminal and Related Content Providing Method Using Broadcast Service Guide Information Thereof. This patent protects a method of using broadcast service guide information, which can include keywords, themes or genres of a content, to suggest broadcast content which is related to content which a user has just viewed. Methods for the better analysis of caption information in digital broadcast signals is the focal point of U.S. Patent No. 8792055, entitled Digital Broadcast Receiver and Method for Processing Caption Thereof. The method of transmitting a digital broadcast signal provides for the automatic processing of multiple standards for caption data, reducing issues in receiving transmissions including diverse formats of caption data. LG has also secured some rights over methods of establishing better parental controls on mobile terminals receiving digital broadcasts, expressed within U.S. Patent No. 8793719, issued under the title Broadcast Viewing Control Method for a Mobile Terminal. This patent protects a terminal with a broadcast control function that allows the parent to set broadcast viewing levels through the use of an identity device. The method of using an identity device is meant to overcome shortcomings in previous methods of setting parental controls, such as passwords which can be compromised if a child learns the password.
There were a couple of other recently issued patents directed at innovations related to electronic devices which we felt were worth sharing with our readers. Another voice recognition technology which is designed to provide a more intuitive response to voice commands is protected for LG through U.S. Patent No. 8793136, which is titled Method and Apparatus for Smart Voice Recognition. The patent protects a method of recognizing voice input commands by a display device which contains a plurality of voice recognition units. This technology is designed primarily for television systems, allowing a user to control the brightness or volume levels or change the channel via voice commands. We also noticed a patent protecting a technology for an intriguingly configured electronic device, detailed within U.S. Patent No. 8786570, entitled Foldable Display Device Providing Adaptive Touch Sensitive Area and Method for Controlling the Same. The foldable display device protected by this patent includes a touch sensor controller that can prevent against unintended touch inputs which are sometimes incurred when a device is in a folded state.
Finally, we wanted to look at one last patent that represents recent efforts by LG Electronics to protect improvements to home appliances. Much like in our research into patent applications, we found a patent related to laundry machine improvements in U.S. Patent No. 8789288, issued under the title Pedestal Drying Machine Using PTC Heater. This patent protects a pedestal-style clothes drying machine which is less noisy and more compact than drum-type dryers while also prevent against leakage of electrical current, a major safety hazard. According to diagrams attached to the patent filing, it seems that this dryer has been developed for shoes and other items which shouldn’t be tumble-dried with clothing. Since the patent application was originally filed for this invention in August 2007, it faced two final rejections. The second, which was issued in October 2013 cited objections under Section 112 of U.S. Code Title 35, which governs specification in the written description of a patent, as well as Section 103 objections for obviousness in light of a patent previously issued in 2011 to the Whirlpool Corporation for a non-tumble clothes dryer.