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Companies We Follow

Big Banks Get Software Patents Despite Alice

Posted: Friday, Sep 19, 2014 @ 11:36 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Bank of America, Companies We Follow, Financial Services, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, JP Morgan Chase, Patents, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Wells Fargo

Financial services are one of the more interesting areas of innovation which we touch on in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series. Many unique products and services for both individual consumers and business organizations are patent-protected, and a number of American banking institutions are regular applicants at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In our most recent look into the state of financial innovation in America, we sought out the most intriguing patent applications or patents assigned to the Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase Bank and Wells Fargo Bank. What becomes clear is that the Supreme Court decision in Alice v. CLS Bank does not seem to have slowed the allowance of financial services software patents to these and other major banking institutions.

Each of these major banking institutions have increasingly incorporated digital technologies into their financial services offerings, a development we visit in more detail below. All three of these banks have partnered with Apple for the development of the Apple Pay system, allowing iPhone users to conduct transactions directly from their device. The total transaction volume of the six banks in total that are using Apple Pay represents about 83 percent of America’s total credit card transaction volume. In other, more discouraging, technology news related to major American banks, it was recently reported that hackers were able to gain access to dozens of JPMorgan Chase servers, although no theft or fraud has been reported as a result.



Merck Patents Drugs for Metabolic Disorders & Alzheimer’s

Posted: Monday, Sep 15, 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, Merck, Patents, Pharmaceutical, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Merck & Co., Inc., also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme, MSD, is one of the world’s largest developers of pharmaceutical drugs and it is currently headquartered in Whitehouse Station, NJ. Currently, the corporation has nine major drugs in different stages of development which are attracting a lot of investor attention, leading some analysts to believe that Merck’s share prices will rise in the coming months. Merck was recently successful in petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve sales of Belsomra, the first insomnia drug designed to regulate the sleep-wake cycle by modulating the activity of orexin in the brain. The U.S. FDA also gave a fast-track designation in early September to move along development of a Merck antibiotic for hospital-acquired pneumonia.

As readers have probably noticed, we have recently surveyed patents and patent applications of pharmaceutical manufacturers as part of our Companies We Follow series. See Pfizer Focuses Recent Patent Activity on Antibacterial Agents and Eli Lilly Patents Treatments for HIV and Ebola. We’ll be wrapping up this segment focus with a look at Merck’s recent medical innovations, although we will certainly return to pharma and biotech again in the future.



Pfizer Focuses Recent Patent Activity on Antibacterial Agents

Posted: Friday, Sep 12, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Biotechnology, Cancer Research, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Pfizer, Pharmaceutical, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Pfizer, Inc., is a major American developer of pharmaceutical medications and vaccines for a wide spectrum of medical disciplines. The majority of Pfizer’s business is operated in the northeastern United States, where the company has its corporate headquarters in New York City and its research headquarters in Groton, CT. A Pfizer vaccine that helps to protect against clostridium difficile, a potentially life-threatening bowel infection, received a fast-track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late August of this year. The company also recently announced that it has struck a partnership with fellow American pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. to conduct and evaluate a study on a treatment for lung cancer. Although Pfizer’s efforts to acquire British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca were squashed in May, speculation regarding stock movement in recent weeks has led some to believe that Pfizer may try to revisit the negotiations soon.

The Companies We Follow series  is visiting this major manufacturer of medications as we continue our survey of recent innovations in pharmaceutical fields. Patent applications recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show that Pfizer’s recent development goals have focused on a broad spectrum of diseases and disorders. We discuss a trio of patent applications related to treatments involving the nervous system, including a couple of medications treating Alzheimer’s disease along with a host of other ailments. A couple of patent applications are also related to novel treatments for cancer, especially in the area of preventing cancerous growth.



Hitachi Patents: Big Data, Identity Authentication and Tsunami Protection

Posted: Tuesday, Sep 9, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Automotive, Companies We Follow, Electronics, Energy, Guest Contributors, Hitachi, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Security & Identity Theft, Steve Brachmann, Storage Systems & Devices, Technology & Innovation

Hitachi, Ltd., based in Tokyo, Japan, is an electronics and engineering conglomerate and the parent company of the Hitachi Group. Hitachi is involved in an incredibly diverse collection of business segments, including social infrastructure, power systems and digital media. Hitachi’s subsidiaries have been very active in recent days, including Hitachi Data Systems, which recently acquired the data protection firm Sepaton, Inc., a company from Marlborough, MA, which holds a patent portfolio related to data management. Hitachi Metals Ltd. just spent $1.3 billion on acquiring the Wisconsin-based Waupaca Foundry, Inc., the largest purchase completed by that subsidiary. The parent Hitachi company also entered into an agreement with three American universities to develop uses of radioactive waste material from nuclear power plants as fuel.

Many of the patent applications published recently by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and assigned to Hitachi involve various aspects of data storage and systems for data management, including a method for energy-efficient cooling of data center equipment. Hitachi is also involved in the development of automotive services, and we’ve included one patent application describing a vehicle information system that can improve pedestrian and bicyclist crossings. Other patent applications that intrigued us today include one waterproof panel for protecting a building against a tsunami influx and an identification system that can authenticate a person based on the blood vessel pattern in their finger.



Eli Lilly Patents Treatment for HIV and Ebola Virus

Posted: Monday, Sep 8, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Biotechnology, Companies We Follow, Eli Lilly, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Pharmaceutical, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, Eli Lilly and Company is an American pharmaceutical developer and manufacturer which has existed since 1876. The corporation is heavily involved in creating medications for a wide spectrum of health conditions and it sells those treatments all over the world. Recently, a psoriasis treatment called ixekizumab created by Eli Lilly showed positive results in Phase 3 studies, leading company representatives to indicate that the drug would be submitted to regulatory authorities by the first half of 2015. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lately granted tentative approval to an insulin injection developed in part by Eli Lilly. Other recent Eli Lilly operations have led many to speculate that the corporation will make major inroads into biotech and autoimmune disease treatments over the coming years.

Here at IPWatchdog, we wanted to take some time in our Companies We Follow schedule to take a closer look at the incredible world of innovation in pharmaceuticals. In our perusal of Eli Lilly patent applications recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, we got a close look at many of the medications created in recent months by this company. Leukemia, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are all addressed by innovative compounds which we explore in detail below. We also feature a trio of patent application related to improvements to injector pens for self-administration of medications. But perhaps most exciting is the patent that covers antibodies that could be used to treat the Ebola virus.



Spotlight on Panasonic U.S. Patents: From Semiconductors to Complex Computer-Implemented Systems

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 3, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Electronics, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Medical Devices & Methods, Panasonic, Patents, Semiconductors, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Last week we profiled recently published  patent applications owned by Panasonic. In today’s edition of the Companies We Follow series, we’re wrapping up our in-depth coverage of Panasonic, one of the many major electronics developers found throughout the country of Japan. This company has been issued dozens of patents in recent weeks from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In our new format, we’re taking an extended look at the patents recently issued to this company to gain an even wider view of the type of inventions this corporation has been successful in protecting.

As you will see below, our recent survey of Panasonic patents shows us a great deal of innovation in all electronic fields, from the basic foundation of the semiconductor through complex computer-implemented systems designed to aid human functioning. Although Panasonic may be moving away from manufacturing the semiconductors and integrated circuits which it has designed, many of the issued patents shared below support the fact that this company is still heavily entrenched in this field.



Panasonic Patent Application Review: Portable Devices, Manufacturing Advancements and Behavior Analysis

Posted: Monday, Aug 25, 2014 @ 3:49 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Electronics, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Panasonic, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

From U.S. Patent Application No. 20140226294, titled “Display Device.”

In our latest installment of the Companies We Follow series here at IPWatchdog, we want to take an in-depth look at an indisputable giant in the field of electronics development and manufacturing over the past few decades. The Panasonic Corporation of Osaka, Japan, is a brand well-known to consumers of electronics all over the world.

Recently, Panasonic created a little stir in the alternative energy industry by announcing a partnership with Tesla Motors to contribute to that company’s Gigafactory operations, producing many of the lithium-ion cells needed for Tesla’s electric vehicle batteries. Panasonic is trying to make forays into developing markets, notably through the release of its Eluga U smartphone in Indian markets. Panasonic has faced tough economic times in recent months, but many believe the corporation is reorganizing its operations to focus on products with a higher profit margin, thus improving its prospects. Interestingly, Panasonic has also shown a recent interest in agriculture and its technology is being used to support Singapore’s first indoor vegetable farm licensed to operate in that country.

There can be no doubt that Panasonic has lately been an intellectual property giant; in 2013, the company was issued 2,601 U.S. patent grants from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the 6th-most among any global entity seeking U.S. patents that year. We want to be thorough in our investigation of a company’s recent research and development operations, so today we’ll be focusing strictly on patent applications published recently by the USPTO. Although these applications do not indicate that a company has earned the right to protect an invention, they have been filed more recently than issued patents and are therefore a better indication of a corporation’s recent developments.



HP Patents: Social Network Sharing and Forensics Technologies

Posted: Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 @ 9:44 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Computers, Guest Contributors, HP, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Social Media, Social Networking, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

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.



Epson’s Patents: Plenty of Printing Tech and a Couple of Robots

Posted: Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Printers, Robotics, Seiko Epson, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

From U.S. Patent Application No. 20140214202, titled “Robot Control Method, Robot Control Device, Robot, and Robot System.”

In the world of printing technology, there are few companies who enjoy the market leading position of the Seiko Epson Corporation of Nagano, Japan. From inkjet and laser printers to projectors and computing hardware, Epson’s products also encompass image forming and display technologies. As we’ll discuss more in today’s column, Epson has been pursuing a fair amount of research and development in the field of wearable technology, like glasses with computing components. This corporation’s operations in India have earned the company the top spot in terms of projector sales in this major growing market. Epson’s has also recently been involved with the development of printing systems for improving work processes at small businesses, even delis and diners.

Epson is a company that we’ve taken some time to examine in past columns published in our Companies We Follow series. Recently, the president of the Seiko Epson Corporation, Minoru Usui, was quoted in comments about his commitment to developing intellectual property and how it protects the corporation’s financial success. We’re always excited to discover innovations from a company dedicated to increasing the strength of their patent portfolio, and we found plenty of patent applications and issued patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office related to Epson’s core printing business, as well as some intriguing side pursuits.



LG Patents – Digital Broadcast Services to Voice Recognition Technologies

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014 @ 11:25 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 2 comments
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Consumer Products, Electronics, Guest Contributors, Household Tech, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, LG Electronics, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

LG Electronics of Seoul, South Korea, is a multinational corporation in the world of electronics development and manufacturing with operations in mobile communications, energy solutions, home entertainment and home appliances. In recent days, the corporation has been experiencing a lot of financial success, and its $411.8 billion in net income during the 2nd quarter of 2014 is more than twice what the company earned in the same period last year. The 14.5 million smartphone units sold by the company during this period, including 900,000 units of LG’s flagship G3 smartphone, is cited as a major reason for this increase. LG successfully won an appeal recently in a $910 million patent infringement lawsuit brought forth by Multimedia Patent Trust over video compression technologies. In home appliances, news reports from global publications are indicating that LG is focused on developing a line of smart home appliances which use the LG HomeChat system.

Here at IPWatchdog, we haven’t featured LG Electronics all that often in our Companies We Follow series, but they inhabit a very strong position in terms of global intellectual property development which deserves to be covered. As always, we’ve collected an intriguing collection of patent applications and recently issued patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which are assigned to LG. We found a variety of innovations related to mobile electronic devices and a couple involving some intriguing home appliances.

Today, we’ve explored a couple of patent applications related to improved methods for businesses that are trying to reach mobile users within a close proximity, including one technology for directly communicating proximity-based services to mobile device owners as well as methods for communicating those proximity-based services to groups. Another patent application discusses an improved LED lighting apparatus for better diffusion of light on an LCD screen. We also noticed a patent application related to an improved method of manufacturing solar cells.