The Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ) of Palo Alto, CA, is a multinational information technology developer based in America with a storied history as a major computer manufacturer that began in a one-car garage. Well-known for its lineup of printers and computer hardware, HP looks to make a move into the rapidly growing wearable tech industry with a luxury smartwatch developed with input from American fashion designer Michael Bastian. Recently, the company was at the center of a U.S. Justice Department probe for overcharging the U.S. Postal Service for computing products, and was ordered to pay a $32.5 million fine. Still, the company recently surpassed Walgreen to become the 62nd-largest company in the S&P 500, as ordered by market capitalization.
In today’s Companies We Follow segment here at IPWatchdog, we’re returning to this giant of IT development to see the latest innovations coming out of its research facilities. As always, we start off with a look at the patent applications assigned to HP and recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. What we noticed in our most recent search was a bevy of technologies for business services, including a couple of software technologies for enterprise network security. We also share some printing technologies, as well as one intriguing innovation designed to help music fans better hear their favorite bands or orchestras when attending live concerts.
Hewlett-Packard has one of the stronger patent portfolios among U.S. technology developers, and the past few weeks have seen many interesting additions to that portfolio. One patent protects a method of brokering fair prices between printing entities and document acquisition services, which often provide printing services to mobile device users. Another protects a scanning technology which can determine if a product posing under a brand name is a counterfeit. A redesigned laptop for easier accessibility of internal components, as well as a method of identifying clothing in images, are also discussed below.
Hewlett-Packard’s Patent Applications: Corporate Software Services, Erasable Prints and Streaming Concert Audio
From large enterprises right on down through individual consumers, Hewlett-Packard is responsible for a wide range of development in both software and hardware technologies. We definitely noticed a strong segment of patent applications related to business software technologies, especially those meant to enhance network security. For example, U.S. Patent Application No. 20140215607, filed under the title Threat Exchange Information Protection, discloses a method of creating a threat exchange community that can be used by entities which have established enterprise networks to connect their operations through the Internet. This method of protecting threat exchange information about business servers and other network components allows business entities to share information on threats to their networks without disclosing private or sensitive information about their networks. The prevention of malicious data attacks on business networks is also the focal point of U.S. Patent Application No. 20140215572, which is titled Authenticating Applications to a Network Service. This patent application filing would protect a method of authenticating an application before allowing it to interact with networked resources. This provides business entities with a greater level of network security than password protections, which can be compromised if an authorized party gains access to a password.
Other patent applications filed within the past year by Hewlett-Packard are directed at other software technologies for various business operations. Compliance with new regulations which may be enforced by governmental agencies or other organizations can be improved with the technology expressed within U.S. Pat. App. No. 20140215630, entitled Performing an Automated Compliance Audit by Vulnerabilities. This system of auditing a business for compliance vulnerabilities relies on data collected for an enterprise asset database, which can quantify an organization’s assets which are subject to regulations, and a known vulnerability database. These sets of data are compared to determine a numeric compliance score for a company and identify asset vulnerabilities related to new regulations. Also, U.S. Patent Application No. 20140215468, filed under the title Thinning Operating Systems, would protect a method of encouraging more efficient use of networked resources. This method involves monitoring the functionality of an operating system used on a business network to determine undesirable or unused resources and remove related components to thin the functionality of applications on a network.
HP is well-known for its history of development in printing technologies, and we’re seeing a great many patent applications seeking to further the corporation’s legacy in this field. A system for authorizing print jobs coming from sources which might not typically be allowed is described within U.S. Patent Application No. 20140211423, which is titled Printing from Untrustworthy Source. This system allows the owner of a printing device which is connected to a network to limit access to those who may try to spam a printer with advertisements and other irrelevant print jobs. Content from potentially untrustworthy sources may still be printed if the content is deemed interesting or useful by the print device administrator. We were also greatly intrigued by a technology aimed at completing print jobs on reusable media, which is explained in U.S. Patent Application No. 20140211265, which is titled Erasable Printouts Including Erasable Features. This would protect a printing apparatus capable of producing printouts with erasable toner so that text and images could be easily removed which allows the media to be reused, reducing printing costs and conserving environmental resources.
Wrapping up our look at HP’s recent innovations, we wanted to close up with a look at one patent application that may be music to the ears of concertgoers everywhere. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140211960, titled Real-Time Wireless Streaming of Digitized Mixed Audio to Mobile Device Within Event Venue, would protect a method of creating a single mixed audio feed built from multiple audio feed recorders and stream that feed to a wireless device. This technology is designed to address issues associated with watching a concert while seated in a location that experiences poor sound quality, or sitting next to another concert patron who may be talking too much. The mixed audio feed, created by sound designers collecting audio from the multiple feeds, can compensate for these drawbacks.
Issued Patents of Note: Social Network Sharing, Clothing Identification and Forensics Technologies
For a couple of decades now, Hewlett-Packard has been at or near the forefront of computer technology development in the United States. In 2013, HP was issued 1,360 patent grants from the USPTO, the 19th-most among all patenting entities that year and ninth overall among American corporations. In the past few weeks, this company has added dozens of patents to its intellectual property portfolio protecting image analysis software, computing hardware and more.
Improved methods for the brokering of document printing services between large entities and printing services which takes peak and off-peak demand into better account is protected by U.S. Patent No. 8792120, which is titled System and Method for Acquiring Document Services. The document services acquisition services system includes a bidding system for a document service to contract with a large printing entity based on a spot printing volume, which can charge fairer prices of document printing services without locking them into annual contracts based on demand forecasts which may not adequately reflect actual printing demands.
We were intrigued by one recently issued patent which protects methods of disseminating news articles through social networks in the hopes of attracting the largest possible audience for the published content. U.S. Patent No. 8793258, issued under the title Predicting Sharing on a Social Network, protects a computer-readable storage device which can calculate a score indicating the potential that a news article will be shared via social networks, based in large part on how many times other news articles from the same source have been shared in the past. HP has also added some image analysis software to its patent portfolio holdings with the recent issue of U.S. Patent No. 87983632, which is titled Clothing Search in Images. The clothing search method protected by this patent provides for the identification of clothing to aid in a number of applications, such as tracking an individual in multiple photos or to perform shopping searches based on clothing seen in certain images.
Our most recent search of HP’s patents showed us a couple of protected inventions which are somehow related to the topic of forensics. U.S. Patent No. 8798313, issued under the title Counterfeit Detection System, for example, protects a system for determining the authenticity of certain product labels and security packaging. This system could be used to detect counterfeit barcodes and other packaging components using HP scanning technologies. A document barcode signature which can indicate the workflow process for an important piece of documentation is disclosed by U.S. Patent No. 8798328, which is titled Forensic Marking Identifying Objects. This patent protects a non-transitory computer-readable medium containing instructions for obtaining a barcode with a forensics signature from a document and analyzing the barcode to determine the information included in the document. If edited, the barcode can be adjusted so that it reflects the new or deleted information.
Finally, we wanted to wrap up our discussion of the recently patented innovations at Hewlett-Packard with a quick look at one patent that protects a new and improved design for a laptop. U.S. Patent No. 8797727, entitled Laptops and Methods of Protecting Electronic Components of a Laptop, protects a laptop with a hinged cover protecting the CPU and RAM memory elements which can be opened through tool-less actuation. This laptop has been designed so that these components can be reached more easily for cleaning or replacement by a laptop owner.