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Inside Intel’s Intellectually Dubious Patent Study

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Joseph Schuman | 2 comments
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, Intel, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Licensing, Patent Business & Deals, Patents, Qualcomm

Joseph Schuman

At the heart of policy disputes over standard essential patents is a simple truth: Companies whose products depend on standardized technologies want to increase their profit margins by cutting input costs – the royalties they pay to use standardized technologies invented and patented by other companies.

In other words, policy conflicts over standard essential patents (SEPs) tend to pit implementing companies against inventing-and-licensing companies, one business model against another.

So when in the course of patent policymaking it becomes necessary to examine the worthiness of alleged scholarship about SEPs, a decent respect for the consumers and markets ultimately affected requires policy makers to examine the scholarship’s origin and separate fact from advocacy.

Such is the case for a new “working paper” that entered the standards debate last month with a controversial thesis that generated headlines and a lot discussion in patent circles. Its title: “The Smartphone Royalty Stack: Surveying Royalty Demands for the Components Within Modern Smartphones.” Its authors: Ann Armstrong, associate general counsel at Intel, as well as Joseph J. Mueller and Timothy D. Syrett, two lawyers at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr who work for Intel.



Intel Patent Review: Wide Ranging Multimedia Innovation

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, Intel, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Multimedia, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

The Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) of Santa Clara, CA, is one of the world’s most successful companies in the field of semiconductor, integrated circuit and computer processor components. Recently, Intel was announced as a partner in the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), a collection of companies including Samsung, Dell and Broadcom intending to develop standards for the Internet of Things, an industry which experts predict will be valued at $7.1 trillion by 2020. Intel also lately announced a partnership with Panasonic, a member of OIC’s rival AllSeen Alliance, to develop chipsets for Panasonic’s audiovisual systems. An increase in demand for personal computers as well as Intel’s growth into the Internet of Things and tablet markets may likely provide positive impacts to the corporation’s revenue growth in the coming fiscal quarters.



AT&T Seeks Patent for Creating and Implementing a Mobile Privacy Zone

Posted: Thursday, Jul 17, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: AT&T, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Mobile Devices, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Wireless Technology

AT&T Incorporated (NYSE: T), headquartered in Dallas, TX, is a major corporation with a storied history in the field of telecommunications. Recently, executives from both AT&T and DirecTV made arguments in favor of the merger of these two corporations, a business move which has been valued at $48.5 billion, in front of antitrust committees at the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. In a move likely conceived to win regulatory approval for the merger, AT&T has recently sold off its 8.3 percent stake in America Movil, a competitor of DirecTV in Latin American countries. Although currently only a rumor, there are some talks that AT&T will be the exclusive carrier for the Amazon Fire smartphone, which has yet to be released.

We always make sure to pay good attention to the major developers of consumer technologies here in the Companies We Follow series, and IPWatchdog is back with an in-depth look at the innovations recently stemming from AT&T. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published many patent applications and has also issued plenty of patents assigned to this corporation in recent weeks. Our most recent search of AT&T patent filings showed us a great deal of intriguing improvements to wireless communication products and services.

We begin today by sharing our featured patent application with our readers, a technology designed to create a privacy zone to disable unauthorized functions in mobile devices which are within the zone. This would enable a meeting administrator to ensure that smartphone device owners cannot produce a recording of a meeting from within the privacy zone, for example. Other patent applications we explore discusses systems for transmitting calls and messages to the proper destination device for more effective communication between those who own multiple devices, as well as a system for better providing local advertisements to device owners who are on the go.



Qualcomm Patents: SMS Delivery and Wireless Security

Posted: Friday, Jul 11, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Qualcomm, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Wireless Technology

Qualcomm Incorporated is a major developer of semiconductors headquartered in San Diego, CA. This company dominates the global wireless baseband chipset market, and in the first quarter of 2014, the corporation’s 4G LTE technologies helped Qualcomm secure two-thirds of the market’s total revenue share. Company officials recently announced the acquisition of high-speed wireless technology start-up Wilocity, which has developed a data transfer system for wireless devices that operates at about three to four times the speed of Wi-Fi. Qualcomm is also a member of the AllSeen Alliance, a consortium of technology companies including Microsoft, Panasonic, LG and others working together towards promoting standard protocols for the Internet of Things, a subject we explored earlier this year in our coverage of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show.

Qualcomm’s strong research and development activities in chipsets and other wireless telecommunications products are regularly featured in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series. Today, we’ve scoured the recently issued patents and published patent applications from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to find the most intriguing inventions assigned to Qualcomm. Our search rendered up a variety of technologies designed to improve wireless communications networks that may interest our readers.

Our featured application in today’s column discusses one Qualcomm technology designed to establish a call session across a network for the real time transmission of text messages. This data system could also be used to aid data transmission for mobile banking and other applications. We also discuss a couple of intriguing systems for detecting physical movement of a device owner, including one invention which provides a navigational guide for indoor environments.



FTC Alleges Amazon Unlawfully Billed Parents for Millions of Dollars in Children’s Unauthorized In-App Charges

Posted: Thursday, Jul 10, 2014 @ 12:56 pm | Written by Federal Trade Commission | No Comments »
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Posted in: Amazon.com, Companies We Follow, Federal Trade Commission, Government, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles

FTC Building, Washington, D.C.

Amazon.com, Inc. has billed parents and other account holders for millions of dollars in unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children, according to a Federal Trade Commission complaint filed today in federal court.

The FTC’s lawsuit seeks a court order requiring refunds to consumers for the unauthorized charges and permanently banning the company from billing parents and other account holders for in-app charges without their consent. According to the complaint, Amazon keeps 30 percent of all in-app charges.

Amazon offers many children’s apps in its appstore for download to mobile devices such as the Kindle Fire. In its complaint, the FTC alleges that Amazon violated the FTC Act by billing parents and other Amazon account holders for charges incurred by their children without the permission of the parent or other account holder. Amazon’s setup allowed children playing these kids’ games to spend unlimited amounts of money to pay for virtual items within the apps such as “coins,” “stars,” and “acorns” without parental involvement.



Tesla on Patents: Open Source Altruism or Shrewd Business?

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 8, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn & Steve Brachmann | 24 comments
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Posted in: Automotive, Battery Technology, Companies We Follow, Fuel Cells, Gene Quinn, Guest Contributors, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Toyota

Elon Musk inhabits a particularly influential space in the world of innovation by proving himself as a masterful entrepreneur in the 21st Century. He helped to establish the digital payment system known as PayPal; in the second quarter of 2011, this online service processed $28.7 billion USD in transactions. He was involved in the development of SpaceX, a space transit services company which has earned nearly $5 billion in contracts, including at least $1.6 billion from NASA for International Space Station resupply missions. His many other ventures, including solar energy technology manufacturing company SolarCity and electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors, brand Musk as a new kind of corporate capitalist who can thrive by developing sustainable technologies.

In the patent world, Musk has been creating some waves in his role as CEO of Tesla Motors. In a self-authored blog post published on the official Tesla Motors blog, Musk announced that the company was trying to make the company ‘open source’ by allowing other people to infringe on their patent portfolio with the supposed intent of encouraging the development of electric vehicle technologies. Interestingly to us, his comments in the post, titled “All Our Patent Are Belong To You” and published on June 12, explain: ” Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.” But who is to decide if one is acting in “good faith”?



Toyota Seeks Patents on Warning and Navigation Systems

Posted: Monday, Jul 7, 2014 @ 12:11 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Automotive, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Toyota

An impressive swath of the automobile manufacturing market worldwide is controlled by the Toyota Motor Corporation of Toyota, Japan, one of the world’s largest carmakers. Toyota is staking a large claim in the world of alternative energy vehicles by unveiling the Toyota FCV, a fuel cell vehicle that will be released in Japan during summer 2015 for a retail price of around $70,000 USD. In a year that has seen millions of cars recalled by major manufacturers, Toyota has recently issued its own recall of 2.3 million vehicles due to an airbag defect. In the world of technology development, Toyota is partnering with IBM to build a platform for application development for Toyota’s in-car telematics systems.

IPWatchdog is always interested in covering the world’s most innovative business entities in the Companies We Follow series. Today, we take a glance at the many inventions and innovations being researched and developed by this major automobile manufacturer. The patent applications filed by Toyota with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office detail an interesting future in vehicle development for this Japanese multinational corporation and its subsidiaries. We also take a close look at many recently issued patents to see Toyota’s standing in the world of intellectual property protection.

Today’s featured application discusses a system designed to better provide warning information to drivers without distracting a driver or displaying redundant information on multiple screens. This system would also ensure that drivers receive the warning message even if the heads-up display or another screen is malfunctioning. Navigational systems for self-driving cars are described in another couple of patent applications which we discovered, as well as some inventions related to hybrid electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles.



GM Seeks Patent Wireless Collection of Data from Autos

Posted: Thursday, Jul 3, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Automotive, Companies We Follow, General Motors, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

GM headquarters in Detroit, MI

Headquartered in Detroit, MI, the General Motors Company is a multinational corporation which makes up a large share of the global auto manufacturing industry. Recently, GM has been in the news an awful lot, but not for the right reasons. The auto manufacturer has recalled millions of cars in recent months because of unresolved issues with a faulty ignition switch used on multiple years and models of cars, an issue which has led to 13 reported deaths and hundreds of injuries in GM vehicle owners and passengers. Although the corporation is setting up a compensation fund for the families of victims, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is pushing for Congress to increase the fine a manufacturer faces for failing to fix long-term issues to $300 million, up from a previous maximum fine of $35 million. Most recently, General Motors issued a stop sale order to American and Canadian car dealers to prevent sales of 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruzes because of an airbag defect. In a bit of better news, the corporation has been making concerted efforts to increase renewable energy use at its facilities through solar panel arrays, and by the end of 2014 these should be able to generate about 38 megawatts of solar power across 13 facilities.

Although these may be difficult days for GM, here at IPWatchdog we understand that the amount and frequency of patenting activities undertaken by this corporation makes it impossible to skip them for our Companies We Follow series. As usual, we’re seeing a lot of patent applications and issued patents assigned to this corporation from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and almost all of them are directed at vehicular technologies. Today, we discuss a collection of inventions which we feel offer up a good representation of the technologies being developed for the next generation of cars, trucks and more.

Telematics systems are the focus of a number of patent applications which we delve into today, including today’s featured application, which uses on-board telematics to transmit important automobile information to a central facility. The system is capable of sending more data than previous systems by routing the data through a wireless mobile device used by the driver, reducing the cost of data transmission from the vehicle. Improved speech recognition for on-board computer system controls and a steering wheel light system designed to refocus a driver’s attention onto the road are also discussed.