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Companies We Follow

GE Seeks Patent on Using Social Media to Detect Power Outages

Posted: Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, General Electric, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Social Media, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

When it comes to global technological innovation, there are few companies in the world that produce the level of intellectual property of General Electric, a multinational conglomerate in energy, technology infrastructure, consumer appliances and more. In the United States, this company is involved with many energy infrastructure projects, including the installation of hundreds of miles of natural gas pipeline across North America/a>. Even though the company is more than 100 years old, General Electric recently beat out many other tech firms at the Shorty Awards, which recognizes excellence in brand use in social media. A major manufacturer itself, General Electric is posed to help usher in a new future of prototyping and factory manufacture through the use of 3D printing.

As we get deeper into the month of April, the Companies We Follow series here at IPWatchdog wanted to take a little time to review the databases of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for inventions from this corporation. Over the past month or two, we’ve found many intriguing patent applications and issued patents describing a wide array of new technologies. We’re noticing some real activity on behalf of GE regarding medical and wind energy generation, among other developments.

Today’s featured patent application would protect a novel system of addressing power outages when a utility network doesn’t receive notification of the event directly from customers. This system allows a utility network to scan social media posts for relevant information about outages, and then turn those posts into instructions for maintenance crews. We also discuss a few inventions related to wind turbines, including a new method for measuring lightning strike damage on wind turbine blades, and a couple of patent applications filed to protect medical monitoring technologies.



AT&T Patents Personalized Information Services System

Posted: Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn & Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: AT&T, Companies We Follow, Gene Quinn, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

The Whitacre Tower in downtown Dallas, TX, is home to the main headquarters for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), a major multinational corporation in the field of telecommunications and our latest featured corporation for IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series. A recent increase in demand for AT&T products and services nationwide has led to the company’s recent announcement that it would hire 3,000 more retail workers in the U.S. over the coming months. Stronger AT&T stock prices may also enable the company to be a bigger player in mergers & acquisitions markets, as this online article published by The Wall Street Journal suggests.

Whenever we check in with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a closer look at AT&T’s recent inventions, we find an intriguing selection of technologies for enhancing the user experience for mobile electronic devices. Today, we’re sharing our favorite patent applications and issued patents from this major developer of telecommunications products and services. As you can see, AT&T is heavily invested in a variety of software related innovations. In this article we particularly focus our selections on a variety of personalized services enabling many real-life benefits to an AT&T device owner.

The featured application is a continuation of a patent application that matured into a patent for AT&T in December 2013, some 9 years after it was first filed. The file history shows that after being unable to convince the patent examiner after several final rejections AT&T appealed to the Board, which in May 2013, reversed the examiners rejections. Obviously, given that AT&T has fought so long and all the way to the Board they must believe this innovation to be of some importance. Indeed, this AT&T innovation offers a very practical service that can be applied to a variety of emergency situations. This technology involves a time-sensitive encoded artifact that is affixed to a person or object which can be scanned to communication important information in response to an emergency event.



Qualcomm Seeks Patent on Managing Carbon Emission Credits

Posted: Sunday, Apr 6, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Green Technology, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Qualcomm, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Few corporations enjoys a better share of the global semiconductor market than Qualcomm Incorporated of San Diego, CA. Perennially near the top of semiconductor manufacturing company, when ranked by annual sales, the technology manufacturer has been getting a great boost by the success of its Snapdragon 801 processor and other components used in Samsung’s Galaxy S5 device. Discounts on faster smartphones in China could greatly increase the presence of Qualcomm’s semiconductor technologies in that country. Qualcomm is also busy developing processors for appliances involved in the growing “Internet of Things,” a concept we’ve discussed previously here on IPWatchdog.

A few months have gone by since our last check, so it’s the perfect time to return to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Database to see what inventions have been assigned to Qualcomm in recent weeks. We’ve noticed patent applications and issued patents galore that chart an intriguing path of technological innovation that may turn into services which are widespread through electronic devices. Here at IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we’ve analyzed what makes these inventions revolutionary and share our favorites with our readers.

Fuel efficiency and carbon reduction from vehicle use are the main thrust of our featured patent application today. This patent application describes a system by which a fuel transaction can be uploaded to a carbon credit management system for applying rewards to vehicle owners. Electronic device owners who are walking around in urban centers may find better mapping applications because of two other recently published Qualcomm applications.



Sony System Improves Video Game Graphic Quality Without Draining Processing Resources

Posted: Saturday, Apr 5, 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, Sony, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Video Games & Online Gaming

The Sony Corporation of Tokyo, Japan, inhabits a very powerful spot in the world of entertainment, whether for film, video games, music or other forms of media. In recent months, this company has had its share of both good and bad news. Incredibly large numbers of pre-orders for Sony’s flagship Xperia Z2 4K-camera smartphone has pushed the general release of this device to retail stores back until May. Just as Sony is making positive strides into the smartphone market, however, layoffs and project delays have been hampering Sony Worldwide Studios, a gaming subsidiary of the Sony Corporation. However, that subsidiary did just recently reveal it’s innovative Project Morpheus technology, a virtual reality headset designed for use with the PlayStation 4.

The novel technologies regarding various aspects of the entertainment world found in Sony’s patent applications and issued patents always provides good material for the Companies We Follow series here at IPWatchdog. Today, we scour the recently published material from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to find out what development goals Sony has been moving towards. We’re not surprised to find video gaming and interactive video systems at the center of many patent applications and issued patents assigned to Sony.

Better methods for providing high-quality interactive graphics with video games is the focus of today’s featured patent application. This system is designed to improve upon the quality of graphics already available through computing consoles for video gaming without causing an excess drain on graphic processing unit resources. We also discuss some other interesting innovations profiled in other patent applications, including a method for better rotational control over an electronic device’s user interface, as well as easier methods of recording stereoscopic video for 3D movies.



Microsoft Mood Ring? Seeks Patent on Mood Activated Device

Posted: Friday, Apr 4, 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, Microsoft, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

The computing world has been dominated by a handful of corporations over the past few decades, one of the most recognizable being the Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, WA. This company is a major developer of personal computers, computer electronics and computer software used all over the world. In the past few weeks, Microsoft made a major move into computing software for iOS devices by releasing a Microsoft Office app for the iPad. In another move towards creating software for device manufacturers, Microsoft also recently launched its Enterprise Mobility Suite, allowing an organization to administrate network resources among employee devices, whether they’re running on Android, Windows or iOS software. Interestingly, Microsoft may be making a move into the world of wearable technology with its purchase of $150 million worth of related intellectual property from the Osterhout Design Group, a designer of wearable computing technologies for military and governmental organizations.

Here at IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we’re stopping back into the offices of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to uncover the most recent inventions coming out of the facilities of the Microsoft Corporation. Our readers will be interested to find out about the various software technologies being created for both business and personal activities, as well as a few novel pieces of computer hardware.

We start today with a long look at the featured patent application, which describes a hardware device capable of determining a person’s mood from various sensors and inputs. In what you might consider a modern day evolution of the mood-ring, this device is capable of representing a person’s mood and stress levels. The system works by using biometric data signals indicative of mood from a variety of sources, including a heart rate monitor, galvanic skin monitor, camera or microphone.



Patent Business: Litigation, Deals, Licenses & Settlements

Posted: Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Gene Quinn, IBM, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Microsoft, Patent Business & Deals, Patent Litigation, Patents, Qualcomm

Periodically I stumble across a number of items that catch my attention, so I have occasionally published a monthly column that incorporates various items of possible interest. As I was reviewing the wire I noticed that this past week was particularly busy. Obviously, this is not intended to be an exhaustive summary, but rather interesting items that might be worth knowing about in order to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

Without further ado, here are some interesting patent business items from the past week.



Dissecting the Software Patent Amici in Support of CLS Bank

Posted: Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 @ 12:13 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 16 comments
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Computers, Facebook, Gene Quinn, Google, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patentability, Patents, Software, US Supreme Court

There are numerous briefs listed on the ABA’s brief publication webpage for Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank that are filed in support of the respondent, most of which make specious claims about software patents blocking innovation, or which make arguments that claims that specifically recite computers, data storage units, devices and more are somehow abstract and imaginary. These arguments should be easy enough to dispose of as ridiculous on their face, but who knows how the Supreme Court will respond. Still, one would hope that the Supreme Court would notice that neither patents generally or software patents specifically have done anything to block innovation in the smartphone industry.

Whereas the Alice supporters feel that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s issuance of software patents are important for protecting and spurring innovation in many fields, the supporters of CLS Bank have largely responded that software patents hurt innovation. But that can’t be! One of the areas critics always say has been allegedly hamstrung by patents, the smartphones industry, is barely over 6 years old.  Have patents stopped innovation of smartphones? Hardly. In fact, with every new version companies tout just how much more the phones do and how they are so far superior to the previous model. Thus, it is easy to see that those claiming that software patents block innovation simply ignore market reality and how the functionality of current devices (which is thanks to software) match up with previous generations of devices over the last 6 years. Corporate critics must also ignore their own marketing of new smartphones, which directly contradicts the ridiculous claim that software patents are preventing innovation. Still they make these and other specious arguments as if they are true.



Samsung Patents Walking Improvements for Bipedal Robot

Posted: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 @ 11:19 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Computers, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Mobile Devices, Patents, Robotics, Samsung, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Figure 1 from U.S. Patent No. 8,676,381, titled “Humanoid Robot and Walking Control Method Thereof.”

The Samsung Group, a multinational conglomerate that includes the high-profile consumer brand Samsung Electronics, is a major developer of global technologies based in Seoul, South Korea. In the past year, this corporation has made major waves in the consumer electronics field, notably with the release of the Samsung Galaxy. Recently, the company created a lot of buzz because of its new ad campaign for the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro, which includes commercials that lambaste similar devices, like Amazon’s Kindle and the iPad. Samsung also recently announced its pricing structure for this year’s crop of television products, which includes ultra high definition models starting at $2,500. Currently, the company is marketing its latest device, the NX Mini, a phone designed entirely with “selfie” images in mind.

The immense wave of technological innovation that continues to pour out of Samsung makes it a favorite one for us to cover here in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series. Our investigation of Samsung’s recent patent applications and issued patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office showed us some very novel new digital systems for Samsung’s various consumer devices. We wanted to share some of the most intriguing innovations from this company with our readers today.

First, we start by taking a close look at our featured patent application, which describes a system of linking applications on a single electronic device. By linking applications, a user can more easily switch between programs without using a multi-window view, which limits usable space on a touchscreen. Better methods of providing flash storage memory for smartphone devices and reader methods for adding multimedia effects of their choosing to an eBook are reflected in other patent applications we discovered.