One of the leading American corporations in the field of computer technology development is the Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, WA. Many media sources have been most recently buzzing about the company’s recent $2.5 billion purchase of Swedish game developer Mojang, the creator of the wildly popular Minecraft game. The world were introduced to details about the Windows 10 operating system at a Microsoft event in San Francisco on September 30. Microsoft is also expanding its offerings in computing hardware with its Universal Mobile Keyboard for Android, iOS and Windows devices.
We often return to Microsoft during the course of our Companies We Follow series here at IPWatchdog to profile the most intriguing inventions developed by a giant of American technological development. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published dozens of recently filed patent applications assigned to this company. We noticed a great deal of research and development in the field of cloud computing, as well as an intriguing assortment of filings related to video gaming. Two of these involve the use of a physical activity monitoring device worn by a player for personal training or gameplay.
Microsoft has one of the most powerful patent portfolios in the world and the past few weeks have not shown any signs of slow activity here. One patent protects a system enabling mobile device users to quickly share video and audio content across short-range networks, like Bluetooth. A couple of software solutions for business issues are included, such as one patent protecting a method of syncing data from a recovery machine more quickly in response to a network failure. The prevention of phishing scams and methods of tailoring web services to the preferences of a group are also explored below.
Microsoft’s Patent Applications: From Cloud-Based Services to Physical Activity Monitoring Devices
Microsoft is a research and development leader in many areas of computing technologies, both regarding the production of hardware and software solutions. Like many other corporations we’ve covered which are involved in these fields, Microsoft has been becoming more active in developing cloud-based applications for extending software services cost-effectively to customers. For example, U.S. Patent Application No. 20140258979, filed under the title Cloud-Based Localization Platform, would protect a computer-implemented method of extracting localized software from a cloud software application. This innovation reduces the cost of providing localized software containing languages and graphics appropriate to a geographical location to a client device used in a specific region of the world. A system for protecting an information technology (IT) management system by adapting to operating concerns of cloud-based applications would be protected by U.S. Patent Application No. 20140258513, entitled Monitoring Federation for Cloud Based Services and Applications. The patent application discloses a software system for connecting client devices to a cloud monitoring service to receive information about cloud services being monitored. This system will be helpful to IT teams by providing them with information about applications outside of their enterprise jurisdiction to reduce costs or improve customer service.
Computer technologies which either recognize speech or can create speech from text are beneficial to users of computer systems who would like to interact with a computer in more natural ways. Speech technologies were another area of development where we noted a couple of intriguing Microsoft patent applications. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140257815, titled Speech-Recognition Assisted Evaluation on Text-to-Speech Pronunciation Issue Detection, would protect a technology designed to produce synthesized speech from text and incorporate the proper pronunciation of all words. The method of detecting pronunciation issues in text-to-speech software that would be protected through this filing utilizes a speech recognition component which can contrast synthesized speech against a human reference recording of the text to identify discrepancies in the pronunciation. Automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems which allow people to directly interact with a computing environment through verbal commands are the focus of U.S. Patent Application No. 20140257805, filed under the title Multilingual Deep Neural Network. This patent describes a method of connecting an ASR system with a deep neural network that can analyze words based on language training data to determine the meaning of a word which isn’t understood by the ASR system. More effective ASR systems can be incorporated by a wide range of other technologies or business operations, from gaming consoles to customer service call centers.
Intriguing user interface elements for computing environments, such as body recognition technologies for interacting with an environment through a gaming console, have been in focus for Microsoft’s development teams for years. We noticed and decided to share a couple of patent applications disclosing a physical activity monitoring device meant to extend the functionality of a various consoles or computer services for a user. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140257535, which is titled Personal Training With Physical Activity Monitoring Device, would protect a method of training a person wearing a physical activity monitoring device by assigning a regimen of exercises and measuring the physical activity of the user. The device, which can also monitor exercise progress and let a user know when a workout is completed, is designed to give users a cost-effective alternative to paying for a personal trainer. The physical activity monitoring device disclosed in the above patent application can also be incorporated with gaming consoles, a feature described within U.S. Patent Application No. 20140257534, entitled Extending Gameplay With Physical Activity Monitoring Device. The method of augmenting a gaming experience through the use of the monitoring device which would be protected through this filing allows a wearer of the monitoring device to achieve physical activity-related goals for games played through a console. For example, the device could measure activity data during a jog to satisfy conditions of a video game, such as burning enough calories to increase the playing level of an in-game character.
Microsoft’s development in video gaming and its XBox gaming console is often on display in UPSTO patent application filings that we find whenever we cover the corporation in our Companies We Follow series. Gamers may enjoy the novel method of supplying a game preview to players, which would be protected by U.S. Patent Application No. 20140256420, filed under the title Univied Game Preview. This patent application describes a system through which players can be presented with previews of games which represent a level not found in the full game, allowing them to play the game after a purchase without having to replay an introductory level of gameplay. This innovation specifically allows a user to save any progress from the game preview level which may unlock achievements for a player once the full game is purchased.
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Issued Patents of Note: Business Data Services, Anti-Phishing Scanners and Tailored Web Services
With 2,660 U.S. patent grants issued to the Washington-based computer technology developer in 2013, Microsoft was the world’s 5th-largest entity in terms of patents issued by the USPTO during that year. The recent additions to the company’s patent portfolio focuses on more intriguing user interface systems for increasing the functionality of various computing platforms, both for mobile devices or computer desktops. Some other patented innovations involve novel methods of allowing computer users to work with and display data for others.
A system which allows mobile device users to quickly share much more than phone calls or text messages with other users has been recently protected for Microsoft through the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 8838152, which is titled Modifying Mobile Device Operation Using Proximity Relationships. The patent discloses a method of identifying devices on a first device to send content to through a short-range non-cellular connection, like WiFi or Bluetooth, that could be established between the devices. The system notifies the first device that other devices are within a proximity range and sends various pieces of content, such as video or audio files, directly to the second device through the non-cellular connection. Techniques for connecting a wireless device to a computer for remote interaction with the desktop computing environment are disclosed and protected by U.S. Patent No. 8839112, entitled Cloning or Extending a Computer Desktop on a Wireless Display Service. This patent protects a method of establishing a connection between a source computer and a wireless display with both high fidelity and interactivity. This system maintains fidelity in presenting the computer desktop environment on a wireless display through the use of a series of time stamps that enable computer audio to play contemporaneously with the screen data after the feed is transmitted through the connection.
Data services for business have represented much of the development we saw this week in our check-in with Microsoft’s recent inventions. One Microsoft development for providing interactive data visualization features for making important business decisions has been protected by U.S. Patent No. 8839133, issued under the title Data Visualizations Including Interactive Time Line Representations. The data visualization method protected herein displays immense sets of business data in ways which are meaningful to the end user. The data visualization method is specifically directed to a graphical time line representation and adjusting the time line display based on detected changes in data. Methods for promoting network recovery to support business continuity after a network failure event are discussed within U.S. Patent No. 8839031, which is titled Data Consistency Between Virtual Machines. The system of syncing data provides for uniform data consistency between a primary virtual machine and a recovery virtual machine. The methods protected by the patent reestablishes consistent data while reducing the time and network bandwidth consumed by syncing data between the machines.
Finally, we’re profiling a couple of computing innovations that can improve network interactions by quickly identifying security issues or improving access to useful services. A technology to thwart the success of phishing websites which trick users into handing over secure information by posing as a trusted entity is protected for Microsoft through U.S. Patent No. 8839418, simply titled Finding Phishing Sites. The method protected by this patent offers a much more proactive system for identifying phishing threats than current systems which rely on e-mail scans or user reports of violations. The method involves processing data from a plurality of phishing-related data sources and make a determination for blocking site access or issuing warnings to users attempting to browse to a site.
An innovation for creating a service which can present services to a group of device users has been protected through U.S. Patent No. 8839390, which is titled Grouping Personal Accounts to Tailor a Web Service. The patent protects a method implemented at a device of grouping multiple accounts representing unique persons and gathering data on preferences of all individuals within a group. These preferences can be used to determine a tailored web service. This system could be used to suggest movies to watch based on individual preferences within a group or to provide advertising content to couples for services that they may enjoy together, such as a vacation.
Editorial Note: The author wrote this article prior to the introduction of Windows 10, although the article was not posted until several days later. A correction has been made to this effect in the opening paragraph.