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Companies We Follow

Caterpillar Patents: Automated Bulldozers, Hydraulics and Energy Efficient Vehicles

Posted: Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 @ 10:23 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Caterpillar, Companies We Follow, Construction & Mining, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) is a global leader in the creation of heavy industrial equipment, including construction and mining vehicles, headquartered in Peoria, IL. Earlier this morning, Caterpillar released its latest quarterly earnings report, announcing third-quarter earnings of $1.72 a share, compared to $1.45 for the third quarter last year. Wall Street was expecting Caterpillar to announce earnings of approximately $1.32 per share. The full year expectation was revised by Caterpillar to between $6 and $6.50 per share.

The corporation has seen some turbulence in its executive ranks as of late after experiencing the retirement of the presidents of both its resource industries and customer and dealer support groups. Despite corporate challenges, some business analysts are forecasting some very positive gains in Caterpillar stock over the coming year, owing mainly to the diverse nature of the company’s business operations.

This corporation is a leader in the heavy industrial sector, making it a good candidate for the Companies We Follow series. Innovation is strong at Caterpillar and seemingly increasing in scope over the past few months. Some patent applications which we’ve discussed below include technologies for removing environmental pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, from machinery exhaust gas. Another patent application discusses a drive assist system for starting a heavy vehicle while parked on a hill. Many improvements to Caterpillar’s hardware, including an enhanced metallurgy process for casting metal parts, are also featured.



Skin Care Dominates P&G Recent Patents and Filings

Posted: Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 @ 11:38 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 2 comments
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Consumer Products, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Procter & Gambe, Robotics, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG), headquartered in Cincinnati, OH, is responsible for the sale of many popular consumer brands of soap, laundry detergent, makeup, toothpaste and many other personal care items. A successful American company for generations, P&G has been navigating rough business waters lately, having just given up the 12th-place spot on the S&P 500 in terms of market capitalization to JPMorgan Chase. However, better financial days may be just around the corner for the company, as is indicated by the buy rating extended to P&G stock by the Bank of America in early October. Recently, the corporation announced the release of it’s newly developed Tide Professional Coldwater System, which includes unique enzymes for stain removal that work in cold water environments, saving much of the energy that would have gone into heating the water.

IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series has examined the innovations released by Procter & Gamble before, and our recent survey of patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office showed a preponderance of technologies related to skin and hair care. A couple of patent applications we share below discuss novel methods of detecting biomarkers for dandruff in an attempt to treat the issue in patients. One hair care innovation involves a method of coloring hair to achieve the same color effect that creates such a striking appearance in peacocks.



A Bright Future: The Current State of Solar Technology Development

Posted: Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Energy, Gene Patents, Green Technology, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Ohio State University, Patents, Samsung, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Universities

Alternative forms of energy for the generation of electricity is a topic we focus on from time to time here at IPWatchdog. Recently, a team of scientists working at Ohio State University created the world’s solar battery, which includes a solar cell and a battery within a singly hybrid device. These batteries, which could achieve a length of charge comparable to other rechargeable batteries, achieves a cost reduction in utilizing solar energy of about 25 percent. It also reduces the need for any process of transmitting electricity from a solar cell to a battery, in which up to 20 percent of electrons are successfully transmitted to the battery.

The development of a solar battery, a major advancement in the field of solar energy utilization, is only one of the indicators of increased solar development in the past few months. Some municipalities in the United States are electing to develop community solar farms which can produce amounts of electricity that reach into the hundreds of thousands of kilowatts annually. Major solar panel manufacturers, such as SolarCity, are developing loan programs to help solar customers gain ownership of the solar panels outright over the course of years. Door to door sales of solar are also incredibly high, and Vivint Inc., a Utah-based solar developer, has sold units to 22,000 customers, mainly on the strength of house calls.



Fujitsu’s Patents: Processing, Virtual Machines & Biometrics

Posted: Monday, Oct 20, 2014 @ 12:50 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 3 comments
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Posted in: Biotechnology, Companies We Follow, Electronics, Fujitsu, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Semiconductors, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Computing technologies are the main field of development for Fujitsu Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan, and the corporation’s diverse scope of innovation involves the creation of microelectronics, telecommunications systems and cloud computing services. Recently, Fujitsu announced that it would partner with the Japanese government to design an exascale machine, a computing device operating at 1,000 petaflops, a computing speed which is 30 times faster than the industry leading supercomputer today. In a theme we’ll see repeated in today’s Companies We Follow column, Fujitsu is also deeply invested in the development of biometric technologies, including the creation of authentication technologies in casino and gambling environments. A coalition of organizations including Fujitsu has also just created an optical transmissions technology capable of transmitting data at speeds of 400 gigabytes per second up to distances of 10,000 kilometers.

We return to the patent databases of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to scope out recent innovation from Fujitsu in today’s article. In viewing Fujitsu’s recently filed patent applications, we saw a multitude of inventions in the field of information processing, whether for the analysis of computing processes or virtualization of computing resources on physical servers. A couple of biometrics innovations are discussed, including a system of electrodes meant to detect and prevent a vehicle driver from becoming drowsy. Methods for enhanced online classroom discussions are also explored.



Yahoo! Focuses on Social Platform for Achieving Personal Goals

Posted: Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Cloud Computing, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Social Media, Social Networking, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Yahoo

Headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) is a multinational corporation which has achieved global renown for its suite of Internet software technologies, including e-mail, finance, search engine and other web portal services. The corporation recently announced that the renowned Yahoo! Directory, the hierarchical list of links that was the first Internet product offered by Yahoo!, will be discontinued by the end of the year. Although it is parting with some longtime services, the company has been involved in an incredible amount of acquisitions, having recently its purchase of Luminate, a tech startup which has created an interactive platform for tagging images. Meanwhile, Yahoo! is trying to deal with pressure from certain shareholders to consider a merger with America Online.

Yahoo! may not be responsible for the large amounts of intellectual property development seen with other companies featured in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, but we do always find many intriguing innovations when we look at the corporation’s recently filed patent applications. We were greatly interested in a trio of patent applications which are evidence of Yahoo!’s desire to build a social platform for achieving personal goals, including one application discussing the use of social and economic motivators to achieve goals. Other innovations included online advertisement improvements, including a method for presenting virtual billboards through a digital lens device, and methods for discovering relevant online content.

The patent portfolio of Yahoo! has increased in recent weeks, and we’ve selected a few of these inventions that our readers may enjoy learning more about. One patent protects methods of interacting with search engine results through keyboard inputs, improving on current methods which typically only involve mouse-based inputs. We found more patents regarding online advertising, proving that Yahoo! has a definite focus on helping advertisers sell products and services to users of the company’s Internet technologies. We also discuss a type of social network designed by Yahoo! for use specifically with mobile devices.



Google Patents: Trending News, App Suggestions and Online Ads

Posted: Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Computers, Google, Guest Contributors, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

The American multinational corporation Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), headquartered in Mountain View, CA, is a market leader in the development of computing services and products for Internet users. In the upcoming weeks, Google will be releasing a streaming music service to compete with similar services available from Apple, Spotify and others. Students will be able to benefit from improvements to the Google Apps for Education program, which will soon offer unlimited storage for free. Google is responsible for some very innovative Internet programs, and there is some speculation that the company is developing a drone program for providing wireless Internet access to mobile device owners.

But for us it is time for another check-in with Google’s recent innovations here on IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, and software inventions from this major technology developer are abounding. We found a couple of patent applications involving technologies which present topics of interest to computing device users, including methods for activity planning to see a concert or an event. Another patent application describes a method of providing insight from local experts about an unknown destination. We were also intrigued by a method of presenting digital advertisements to individuals which is designed to encourage retail sales at brick and mortar stores.



Samsung Patents: Mobile Anti-Virus, NFC and Wearable Gadgets

Posted: Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Computers, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Samsung, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

The Samsung Group of Seoul, South Korea, is a multinational conglomerate comprised of an incredibly diverse array of subsidiaries and affiliates. The corporation, however, is best known for its depth of intellectual property development in electronics technologies, especially mobile phones and semiconductors. Samsung’s personal electronics products are sold all over the globe, and the company is trying to increase its presence in the Indian consumer market with the release of the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone. The company is banking on increased demand for tablet computers, evidenced by its decision to end sales of laptop computers in European markets. In America, consumers will be able to purchase the Samsung Gear S smartwatch device, which offers 3G connectivity, sometime this fall.

Samsung, and especially it’s subsidiary Samsung Electronics Co., is responsible for an incredible amount of innovation. IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series turns now to scope out the recent technological developments expressed in recent patent filings assigned to Samsung and published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Recent patent applications show a focus on developing an array of mobile technologies. Below, we’ve shared technologies for adjusting device displays for left-handed users and improving the quality of experience when sharing content between devices. We also noticed an application disclosing an intriguing method for helping patients make better purchase decisions regarding health management devices.



Foxconn Innovation: Cleaning Robots, Fool-Proofing Manufacturing and Rotating Notebook Screens

Posted: Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Cameras, Companies We Follow, Electronics, Guest Contributors, Hon Hai / Foxconn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Robotics, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

The Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., also known as Foxconn Technology Group, is headquartered in New Taipei, Taiwan. The electronics contract manufacturing company creates parts for many of the world’s most popular electronic products which are often sold under other brand names. Although headquartered in Taiwan, Foxconn operates manufacturing facilities all over the world, including a factory in São Paulo, Brazil, where workers have recently returned after a five-day strike. The corporation has been under scrutiny for many worker’s rights issues in recent years, although there is some speculation that the company may be attempting, albeit imperfectly, to encourage democratization and trade unions among its workers. Although the company has experienced sliding profit margins in recent years, CEO Terry Gou has said that he expects annual revenue growth of 10 percent to 15 percent for Foxconn over the next five years.

In recent months, IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series has opened its focus to include the research and development activities of this electronics manufacturer. Although much of the company’s work is contracted from other companies, recent patent applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show that Hon Hai Precision invents a surprising amount of its own technologies. Improvements to cleaning robots and smart television sets are discussed in a couple of patents we explore below. A couple of patent applications also discuss hardware improvements to notebook computer screens that allow them to rotate or be positioned in other ways.

Foxconn enjoys a very diverse patent portfolio as well, to judge by the patents recently issued to the Taiwanese corporation by the USPTO. A few patents protect intriguing improvements to audio/video telecommunication systems, including an image capture device for video telephones with an adjustable field of view. Unmanned technologies, including robotic arms and unmanned aerial vehicles, are the focal point of a few other patents that we shared today. Other patents assigned to Hon Hai Precision also show development in the fields of fiber optics transmissions and printing devices.



Silicon Valley’s Anti-Patent Propaganda: Success at What Cost?

Posted: Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 23 comments
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Posted in: Anti-patent Nonsense, Apple, Companies We Follow, Gene Quinn, Google, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Microsoft, Patent Litigation, Patent Trolls, Patents

One of the real problems with the debate over patent litigation abuse is that it hasn’t focused on litigation abuse at all. Instead, the debate has focused on attempts to characterize patent owners with pejorative labels, such as calling anyone who has the audacity to seek to enforce their rights a “patent troll.” Unfortunately, the term “patent troll” has evolved to mean “anyone who sues me alleging patent infringement.” This has lead the media, the public and Members of Congress to incorrectly believe that there is a “patent troll problem,” which has influenced decision-makers all the way from Capitol Hill to the United States Supreme Court, who increasingly seems to be deciding patent cases with one eye firmly on what is a completely non-existent problem.

You have probably heard the narrative start something like this: there is an explosion of patent litigation. The objective reality, however, is that there has not been an explosion of patent litigation. The Government Accountability Office, after an exhaustive review of patent litigation, concluded that there was no patent litigation crisis. The same GAO report also found that 80% of the patent lawsuits filed are brought by operating companies suing other operating companies. Thus, those who profess there to be rampant problems associated with patent trolls and non-practicing entities suing for patent infringement are simply telling a tale that the factual data doesn’t support.

More recently Lex Machina has come forward with some eye opening statistics as well. A recent report from Lex Machina concludes: “Plaintiffs filed 329 new federal patent cases in September 2014, a 40% decrease from the 549 cases filed in September 2013.” Indeed, if you dive deeper into the 2013 and 2014 statistics you see that through the first nine months of 2013 there were 4,548 patent infringement lawsuits filed, but during the first nine months of 2014 there were only 3,887 patent infringement lawsuits filed, which represents a 15% reduction in patent litigation in 2014 compared with 2013. Furthermore, in 7 of the 9 months during 2014 there have been fewer patent infringement lawsuits filed during 2014 than during 2013. The statistics and independent GAO report just do not support a narrative that proclaims there to be a run away problem with patent litigation run amok.



Toshiba Patents: From Memory Devices to Smarter Retail Stores and Seawater Desalination

Posted: Thursday, Oct 9, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Printers, Semiconductors, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Toshiba

The Toshiba Corporation (TOSBF) of Tokyo, Japan, is an electronics and technology conglomerate that is responsible for a great deal of global innovation in semiconductors and computing solutions. Currently, the corporation is in a major restructuring phase for its personal computer division, which Toshiba recently accelerated by reducing its global PC workforce by 20 percent, or about 900 workers. Although Toshiba’s restructuring will create more focus on business-to-business services, the recent release of the Toshiba Encore Mini shows that the company is not abandoning consumer markets. Toshiba’s data analytics technologies will also be used as part of a partnership with Johns Hopkins University for using data analysis to adjust and improve cancer treatments.

Today’s Companies We Follow column focuses on Toshiba innovations which have been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We found a wide assortment of novel technologies expressed in recent patent applications filed by the company. A couple of patent applications would protect technologies for identifying people captured within video feeds. We share a trio of patent applications discussing improvements to memory devices, especially flash memory devices. A number of intriguing technologies which we share below are also related to brick and mortar retail environments, including one patent application discussing a method of providing entertainment content to retail workers to keep them more productive.