Today's Date: November 22, 2014 Search | Home | Contact | Services | Patent Attorney | Patent Search | Provisional Patent Application | Patent Application | Software Patent | Confidentiality Agreements

Companies We Follow

General Electric Patents: Medical Innovations and Energy Systems

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014 @ 11:32 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
| Tags: , , , ,
Posted in: Companies We Follow, Energy, General Electric, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Medical Devices & Methods, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

There are few companies currently operating which have more impact on global development in energy and industrial technologies than General Electric of Fairfield, CT. The recent third quarter financial report published by the corporation indicated a better-than-expected 11 percent growth in profits, mainly owing to large increases in orders for industrial equipment like jet engines and rail locomotives from all over the world. GE may be looking to raise capital as a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicates that the company is looking to sell 75 million shares directly to the public for about $2 billion. General Electric is also making a foray into the growing world of 3D printing manufacture with its recent announcement that it would build a 125,000 square foot 3D printing facility for $32 million in Findlay, PA.

General Electric is a regular feature of the Companies We Follow series. What we saw today in the patent applications filed by this company with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office showed us that research and development at the company is very focused on industrial and medical sectors. Many of the technologies we discuss in more detail below pertain to railway and other vehicular technologies. A few patent applications discuss improvements to electrical utility systems, including one technique for monitoring plant activity near electrical grid components to identify exactly when to clear vegetation away from power lines.

The strong patent portfolio enjoyed by General Electric enjoyed a number of important additions in recent weeks. Some of the most intriguing that we saw today involve medical innovations, including systems for the synchronization of imaging data collected during a procedure to better guide a medical professional during a procedures. We’re also sharing a patent protecting a useful technology for locating defects in an underground cable to ensure consistent delivery of electrical utilities. Gas turbines and another innovation regarding railway tech is also explored more deeply in today’s column.



Dow Chemical Patents: From Genetically Modified Organisms to Construction Barrier Films

Posted: Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Biotechnology, Chemical, Companies We Follow, Dow Chemical, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) of Midland, MI, is one of the world’s largest developers and manufacturers of chemicals produced for industrial and commercial products. Dow Chemical has been recently experiencing a good deal of growth in its petrochemical businesses caused by large increases in North America shale fracking. At the end of October, Dow’s third quarter earnings report was higher than expected, which was owed mainly to cost reductions for raw materials like propylene and strong corporate operations for the production of ethylene, a feedstock plastic that is important for the development of a wide range of products. Dow CEO Andrew Liveris expects earnings at Dow AgroSciences to double within the decade thanks to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval of the Enlist Duo weed killer specifically made for use with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

A look into the recently published patent applications assigned to Dow from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization shows us that GMOs and herbicides have been a major area of focus for Dow and Dow AgroSciences, its chief subsidiary in agricultural chemical engineering. Plastics used for packing fragile items or for providing a barrier between soil and building foundations in construction projects.

The patent portfolio of Dow has also been increasing recently, incorporating chemical engineering innovations designed for a wide range of industrial sectors. One patent protects a method of developing fragrances for laundry detergents which evaporate less quickly, helping clothes to retain a fragrance for a longer period of time. Oil-in-water emulsions were the focus of a number of patents which we decided to share today, including one discussing a herbicidal composition for agricultural uses. Another patent we noticed protects a topically-applied pharmaceutical drug designed to treat bacterial infections or acne rosacea.



Mobile Devices and Wireless Innovations Dominate Qualcomm Patent Efforts

Posted: Friday, Nov 14, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 4 comments
| Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Companies We Follow, Consumer Products, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Mobile Devices, Patents, Qualcomm, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Wireless Technology

Qualcomm Research Center in San Diego, California.

The American semiconductor company Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), which has its headquarters located in San Diego, CA, develops a wide array of telecommunications products and services which are sold globally. The company made a major investment into Bluetooth technologies in the middle of October, acquiring Bluetooth developer CSR of Britain for $2.5 billion. Qualcomm has also invested funds along with other companies, including Google, in the Florida-based virtual reality developer Magic Leap, which may signal the use of augmented reality in certain Qualcomm products. The company is also working with wireless power charging developer ConvenientPower to create the world’s first commercially available in-car wireless smartphone charger.

Qualcomm is a regular part of IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, and the recently published patent applications that we surveyed taught us some intriguing things about this corporations research and development activities. Neighborhood-aware networks, which can provide digital services to many homes within the same neighborhood, are the focus of a few filings. Qualcomm is also seeking to protect both an electronic scale with conversion table software and a pair of headphones with a novel technique for overcoming popping and clicking noises when plugging the headphone connector into an audio port.

The strength of Qualcomm’s patent portfolio is a major reason why this company is so successful internationally. Most of the patents recently issued to this corporation protect various mobile device innovations, including the use of an inclinometer to detect the incline of a device display and adjusting the way an image is rendered to improve the view relative to the incline. Gesture-based financial transaction completed across mobile devices, as well as methods of providing location information on indoor environments, have also been protected for Qualcomm through patents issued over the past few weeks.



Japan Automakers Focus on Electric Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles & Collision Warning

Posted: Thursday, Nov 13, 2014 @ 7:35 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Automotive, Companies We Follow, Green Technology, Guest Contributors, Honda, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Nissan, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Toyota

We recently took a look at the Big Three in American auto manufacturing. Today, we’re increasing our coverage of innovation in vehicles by taking a look at the recent inventions from a trio of major automobile manufacturers based in Japan: Nissan Motor Company Ltd. of Yokohama, Honda Motor Co. of Tokyo, and the Toyota Motor Corporation of Toyota City. Although the Japanese automobile industry includes a number of well-known players like Mazda and Mitsubishi, these three companies are the major players in this region. This has been a difficult year for auto manufacturers in terms of vehicle recalls, and recently reported air bag defects have instigated recalls from all three of today’s profiled carmakers. As we’ll see more below, fuel cell vehicles have been a development area of focus for these companies and Toyota is getting set to release its first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in Japan this December, three months ahead of schedule.

The patent applications most recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and assigned to these companies show that development of electric and hybrid electric vehicles are prominent among all three. Some of these patent applications describe novel applications of known energy generation and storage technologies, including air batteries and solar cells, to automobile environments. Self-driving cars manufactured by Toyota will benefit from a technology designed to improve the accuracy of determining a car’s actual location on the road.

These three corporations each have strong patent portfolios which have increased in recent weeks and we took special notice of a couple of patents issued in the field of fuel cell technologies. Honda has earned the right to protect an indoor vehicle that drives in response to the tilting motion of a seated rider. We also feature two patents directed towards safety systems which are designed to provide warnings to drivers in response to potential road hazards.



Big Three Auto Patents: Collision Safety to In-Vehicle Text Messaging Systems

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 11, 2014 @ 7:35 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Automotive, Chrysler, Companies We Follow, Energy, Ford, General Motors, Green Technology, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

The American auto industry is anchored by a trio of Michigan-based corporations known within the industry as the Big Three: General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) of Detroit, Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) of Dearborn and Chrysler Group LLC of Auburn Hills. These manufacturers have seen some positive developments in their sales departments recently, having all posted gains in sales of cars and trucks this September. In October, Chrysler also returned to public trading in the U.S. for the first time in seven years when shares of Fiat Chrysler began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Some industry commentators have wondered whether sales levels are sustainable given historical trends and major credit expansion for auto loans.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published dozens of patent applications in recent weeks which have been filed by these companies. Digital communications systems, including cloud-based methods of presenting technical manual information to car owners, are featured in a number of these patent applications. A trio of Ford patent applications discuss technologies for identifying occupants and drivers in a vehicle. Other patent applications that we discuss today feature collision safety systems, including one system for establishing voice communications with vehicle occupants after an accident.

The patent portfolios of all of the Big Three automakers have increased in recent weeks and many of these new additions protect improvements to hybrid electric vehicles; some innovations in this field are discussed below. In-vehicle text messaging systems are the focus of a few other patents that we explored today. We also were piqued by a patent protecting a system of contacting persons via a vehicle telematics units to resolve missing persons cases.



Public vs. Private IP Companies – Challenges and Opportunities

Posted: Monday, Nov 10, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 1 Comment »
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Acacia Research, Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Business & Deals, Patents

Doug Croxall (left) of Marathon Patent Group looks on as Jaime Siegel of Acacia Research addresses the audience at the 2014 IP Dealmakers Forum in NY on Nov. 7, 2014.

Last week I attended the 2014 IP Dealmakers Forum in New York City. The topic that most caught my attention from day two was the panel discussion titled Evaluating Public Market IP Investment Opportunities. The moderator was Phil Hartstein of Finjan, and the panel included Doug Croxall, who is CEO of Marathon Patent Group, Jaime Siegel, who is Executive Vice President of Litigation and Licensing at Acacia Research Group, Corey Horowitz, who is Chairman and CEO of Network-1, Robert Satterthwaite, who is Co-Founder and Co-Porfolio Manager at Blue Sea Investments, and Kevin Klein, Director of IP Licensing for Freescale Semiconductor.

The topics discussed by the panel were wide ranging, but one of the central themes related to information, but more specifically to the benefits and challenges of being a public versus a private IP company. That specific discussion may not seem to be related to data or information per se, but again and again Harstein asked questions and drew the panel to discuss the difference between the amount of information that must be disclosed by a public company (and the onerous regulatory obligations) and the demonstrably smaller amount of information that is publicly disseminated by private companies without reporting obligations.



DuPont Patents: From Plastics to Ethanol Production Using Bacterial Processes

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 5, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in: Biotechnology, Companies We Follow, DuPont, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Materials, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Del., the company’s global R&D headquarters.

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (NYSE: DD), known as DuPont and headquartered in Wilmington, DE, is an American chemical company responsible for the creation of many commercially successful polymers, refrigerants and other chemical products. The latest quarterly earnings report released by this company shows that DuPont increased corporate profits by 20 percent over the past year’s third quarter results. However, some industry commentators look to uncertainty in DuPont’s agricultural business as a sign of possible instability in this company. As we’ll see more below, DuPont is very focused on food science innovations, such as the development of packaging resins to increase the shelf life of packaged meats.

DuPont is a company responsible for many impressive industrial and commercial innovations, and our latest survey of patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office bears this fact out. We explored a couple of patent applications that discuss novel methods of creating fuel from biomass materials, especially those materials that don’t draw from the food supply. Transparent conductive materials, ink-jet inks with better pigment stability and a whipping agent for frozen sorbet are other technological advances which are discussed below.

This corporation benefits from a strong patent portfolio and we’ve chronicled the addition of several important patents to DuPont’s intellectual property portfolio today. More food production innovations are reflected here, including a patent protect a better method for obtaining betaine from sugar beets for the production of molasses. Plastics production, including dielectric films for capacitors, are explored in more detail below. We also profile inventions involving relief printing methods for corrugated cardboard as well as another innovation for producing ethanol from biomass.



Exclusive Interview with Jaime Siegel of Acacia Research

Posted: Sunday, Nov 2, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 2 comments
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Acacia Research, Gene Quinn, Interviews & Conversations, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Business & Deals, Patents

Jaime Siegel, Executive VP of Acacia Research

Jaime Siegel is Executive Vice President of of Licensing and Litigation at Acacia Research. He joined Acacia in 2013, coming to the company after serving as Vice President and Senior IP Counsel for Sony Corporation. Siegel has extensive experience in international IP monetization, enforcement and strategic acquisitions, and he agreed to chat with me on the record. Our interview took place on Thursday, October 23, 2014.

Siegel will be attending the IP Dealmakers Forum in New York City from November 6-7, 2014. He will also be on a panel on Friday morning titled Evaluating Public Market IP Investment Opportunities, which will discuss how investors can measure market value and performance of public IP companies, as well as exploring the various business models and strategies currently seen in the marketplace.

My conversation with Siegel was for the purpose of discussing these topics. As you will read below, while our discussion starts there it became a far ranging discussion of the issues facing the industry more globally. If there is a theme that shines through from our discussion it is about the undeniable reality that early stage investors always want to see patents before investing.



The Rise and Fall of the Company that Invented Digital Cameras

Posted: Saturday, Nov 1, 2014 @ 3:11 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 8 comments
| Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in: Cameras, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Kodak, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Imagine a time well into the future where someone might not understand what it means to “Google” something. A time when they would have absolutely no clue that the name of this corporation was used colloquially to describe a search of Internet-based content and data. Or, as it is essentially used in conversation, as the way to find the answers to your questions.

That mental image is impossible for anyone with regular Internet access to fully realize, with good reason: Google is a company offering a product, but that product has become something with widespread cultural implications. The Information Age is driven by the value derived by instant access to data, and one of the foundational tools of consumer access to data is the search engine.

If, in 100 years, Google is no longer recognized in this way, it would be said that Google had become the world’s next Kodak. What had been known as “the Kodak moment,” a culturally persistent reference to a moment in time with friends or family that should be saved for posterity, has been completely subverted by “the selfie” and the act of “gramming” a picture on Instagram.



Canon’s Diversified Patents: Robotics to Touchscreens and Medical Innovations

Posted: Friday, Oct 31, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , ,
Posted in: Cameras, Canon, Companies We Follow, Electronics, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Printers, Robotics, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Canon Inc. is a multinational corporation focused on developing a variety of optical and imaging products for consumers and businesses, including printers, photocopiers, camcorders, cameras and even medical devices. In September, Canon released a line of inkjet printers under the brand name Maxify, a low-end printing solution for small businesses; most models cost between $150 and $400 per printer. On the higher end of the quality spectrum, Canon also recently unveiled a new CINE-SERVO Ultra-Telephoto Zoom lens, being marketed as the world’s longest 4K telephoto zoom lens, which comes with a price tag of $78,000 per unit. Canon is also making forays into information technology development across the world, having acquired Australian firm Harbour IT in September for $35 million, the corporation’s largest acquisition deal in the Oceania region.

This edition of IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow takes us back to the innovations most recently developed by this major purveyor of intellectual properties. In the patent applications filed by this company, we found an interesting trio of printing technologies, including one filing which would protect an improved system for printing and binding booklets. Medical innovations, including an endoscopic tool which can be selectively made transparent and visible depending on endoscopic operation needs, are discussed below. We also noted an innovation for reducing erroneous operations in an electronic device with multiple touchscreen panels.

There have been many recent additions to Canon’s already globally renowned patent portfolio that we profile today. We discuss a few patents issued to protect improvements to robotics technologies for manufacturing facilities. A couple of patents show Canon’s interest in improving nanofabrication techniques for creating semiconductors. We also explore inventions related to printing copy-forgery-inhibited patterns and high precision scanning technologies.