Today's Date: September 17, 2014 Search | Home | Contact | Services | Patent Attorney | Patent Search | Provisional Patent Application | Patent Application | Software Patent | Confidentiality Agreements


Apple Seeks Patent on Lifestyle Companion Fitness System

Posted: Friday, Jun 13, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
| Tags: , , , ,
Posted in: Apple, Companies We Follow, Electronics, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Mobile Devices, Patents, Smartphones, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

A giant in the world of consumer electronics development, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) of Cupertino, CA, also designs and develops much of the software and online services used by its devices. Recent communication between Apple and its headphone manufacturers suggest that the company may be trying to shift production of headphone jacks to adapt to the company’s Lightning port, an audio data port which could enable better audio specifications and smart headphones in years to come. Apple is also rolling out Swift, a new programming language for iOS and Mac OS X app developers designed to be easier to read and provide instant feedback.

We’re dedicated to providing in-depth analysis of innovations coming from the top developers of consumer electronics in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, and Apple is one corporation we return to again and again. Apple often makes waves in the media for its imaginative inventions expressed in patent applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Today, we’ve dug a little deeper to find other patent applications and recently issued patents which may be of great interest to our readers.

As always, we start with a close look at one featured patent application, and we were intrigued by one technology designed to encourage group completion of fitness activities. This lifestyle companion system can also suggest fitness activities to users based on personal interviews conducted by the system. Other inventions directed at personalized services, including a method of creating avatars reflecting a user’s current emotional state, are also described in a series of patent applications discussed in today’s column.

Apple Seeks Patent on Dynamic Playlist for Digital Content

Posted: Monday, Mar 24, 2014 @ 8:15 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
| Tags: , , , ,
Posted in: Apple, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Mobile Devices, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Few companies we cover here at IPWatchdog have as much sway in the consumer electronics industry as Apple Inc. of Cupertino, CA. This multinational corporation, also heavily involved in the fields of computer software and personal computers, recently released a cheaper version of the iPhone 5C to Chinese and European markets. The company is also at the center of rumors that they may be in production phases for the new generation of iPhone 6 smartphones for release later this year or next. Not only interested in new markets for devices, Apple is also busy developing several revolutionary apps, including one designed to provide basic health and fitness functions for users.

The intriguing software and hardware innovations of this technology giant makes Apple a fun corporation to profile for our Companies We Follow series. We’ve picked out the most interesting patent applications and issued patents published by the USPTO and assigned to this California-based corporation. These inventions run the gamut from digital media systems to hardware improvements for handheld mobile devices.

We begin our look at Apple today by taking an in-depth look at our featured patent application, which describes smarter methods of building playlists for digital content, like songs. This system can dynamically update playlists based on a user’s changing taste or if another user with a compatible device walks into the room. We also picked up on a few other patent applications featuring revolutionary technologies, including one microphone headset component that enables voice processing by sending data signals through an owner’s bones and body tissues.

Spherix Acquires 100 Rockstar Patents

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | Comments Off
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Apple, Companies We Follow, Gene Quinn, Google, IP News, Articles, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung, Sony

Spherix Incorporated (NASDAQ: SPEX), a Tysons Corner, Virginia intellectual property monetization company, recently announced that it has entered into a series of agreements with Rockstar Consortium (US) LP in which Spherix Incorporated acquired over 100 patents and patent applications.  The newly acquired patents cover among other things, numerous aspects of access, switching, routing, optical and voice communication network devices.

In addition to the 100 patents/application acquired will complement the Rockstar patents previously acquired by Spherix and will further support Rockstar’s current licensing efforts. Rockstar will also share usage information with Spherix for the transferred patents, and will assist Spherix in working with the patents’ inventors, to assist Spherix’s commercialization efforts.

Apple Patent Applications Focus on Maps, Navigation Apps

Posted: Friday, Dec 20, 2013 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
| Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Apple, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Apple Inc. of Cupertino, CA, is a major player in the growing global market for handheld mobile devices, and has gained a major share of the market through it’s iPhone and iPad devices. Over the past few years, however, the smartphone market has gotten crowded, and lot of litigation between Apple and one of its main competitors, Samsung. At the same time, a lot of interesting crossovers between Samsung and Apple devices have been being reported by technology publications from around the world. The vituperative relationship between the two companies has gotten even darker in recent days, with Samsung accusing Apple of race-baiting in order to win litigation.

This week on IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we’re taking a close look at both of these manufacturers, starting with Apple. We’ve compiled a great assortment of patent applications and issued patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to give our readers an idea of Apple’s recent developments in the mobile device world.

Today’s featured patent application describes a system of collecting movement data from mobile devices so as to better compile real-time traffic data for mobile users. This data collection would not interfere with normal use and provides a vast improvement on current methods of providing traffic data. We’ve also noticed a few other patent applications detailing mapping application improvements as well as a method for setting quiet hours on a device to prevent notification sounds at inopportune moments.

The Hidden Agenda Behind Patent Reform

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 6, 2013 @ 7:45 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 16 comments
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Apple, Gene Quinn, Google, IBM, IP News, Articles, Microsoft, Patent Reform, Patents, Qualcomm, US Economy

Tech sector giants have been crying and moaning about how the patent system has run amok and needs to be scaled back, and continually beg for patent reform that would gut the patent system and weaken patent rights. Immediately after successfully lobbying for the America Invents Act (AIA), they are back at it again supporting new legislation aimed at making it more difficult to enforce patent rights pending in Congress. If they prevail with the passage of the Innovation Act, they will be back at it again no doubt. The longer term goal is to strip the International Trade Commission of its patent jurisdiction, which would make it impossible to stop the importation of infringing goods prior to entering the country. See Will the ITC Lose Its Patent Jurisdiction and Are Some Patent Holders More Equal Than Others?

The grumbling of the tech giants is increasingly being picked up by patent abolitionists who say “see, even Microsoft thinks there should be no patents,” which only adds to the hysteria. Of course, Microsoft is one of the top patenting companies year after year and they aggressively pursue software patens themselves. So while some of Microsoft’s public statements suggest that they do not like software patents, they aggressively seek them and then aggressively pursue licensing strategies. So it seems that Microsoft may talk a good game about software patents being undesirable and a real scourge, but when push comes to shove they will get as many patents as they can. Quite curious if you ask me!

So why do the tech giants want to make it hard for small businesses and individuals to get patents? Do you remember when “Wang” was synonymous with “computer,” or at least “word processor”? Perhaps not, but once upon a time it was indeed. The story of Wang is the story of technology companies generally speaking. What has always been true is that technology companies that reach the top are only passing through on their way down; to be replaced by smaller, leaner companies that pursue appropriate strategies and have solid and expandable innovations in demand.

Even mighty Microsoft couldn’t maintain their monopoly, and only the foolish would anticipate Google, Facebook and other tech giants to be on top indefinitely. That isn’t how the tech sector works, or is intended to work. But if a vibrant, robust and strong patent system is not there for start-ups today they will never become the giant, innovation shifting, growth companies of the future. That would be terrible for the economy, lead to stagnant innovation and guarantee that slothful, giant companies that have lost the ability to innovate would remain dominant rather than going the way of the dinosaur.

Apple Seeks Patent on iPhone No-contact Mode

Posted: Friday, Nov 1, 2013 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
| Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Apple, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Apple Inc. of Cupertino, CA, is synonymous with consumer devices, and it currently holds a great market position within the electronic device industry thanks to two incredibly popular product lines, the iPhone and the iPad. Recently, Apple announced the the development of the iPad Air, an electronic tablet that some feel is a harbinger of the development of an iPad Pro version for business applications. Apple is also a well-known influencer in the music industry, thanks to its development of audio recording software. Many industry speculators expect Apple to come out with a 65-inch ultra high-definition television set that incorporates wireless connectivity with other device.

This week in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we’re going back to California to highlight some of the more interesting patent applications and issued patents assigned to Apple from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As always, Apple has plenty in play here, and it’s easy to see the corporation’s focus on its line of handheld devices, including tablets and smartphones.

Our featured patent application today will be music to the ears of many iPhone owners by keeping that device silent at important times. This application would protect a system of designating parameters that would prevent a message notification to be forwarded to a device owner, such as sleep hours or if the phone is in a designated meeting room. Other patent applications discuss a construction method for iPads that better prevents light leakage, a task progress indicator that can convey rich details about a task as well as a method of embedding memorabilia from an author’s book signing into an electronic book file.

Apple, Samsung Get to Keep Financial Documents Confidential

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 4 comments
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Apple, Companies We Follow, Federal Circuit, Gene Quinn, IP News, Articles, Patent Litigation, Patents, Samsung

Last week the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in the latest appeal in the Apple/Samsung epic patent battle. See Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. (Fed. Cir., August 23, 2013). In this situation the parties really were not fighting against each other; instead finding themselves arguing on the same side against the decision of the district court to allow sensitive information to be publicly available.

On August 9, 2012, Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a decision that denied in part the parties’ motion to seal certain filings. In general, Judge Koh sealed information about the parties’ production and supply capacities, confidential source code, third-party market research reports, and the pricing terms of licensing agreements. However, Judge Koh ordered unsealed documents disclosing the parties’ product-specific profits, profit margins, unit sales, revenues, and costs, as well as Apple’s own proprietary market research reports and customer surveys and the non-price terms of licensing agreements.

In her ruling Judge Koh ordered the parties to take an immediate appeal to the Federal Circuit, which occurred on August 13, 2012. The Federal Circuit consolidated the appeal by Apple and the appeal by Samsung, designating Apple as the appellant and Samsung as the cross-appellant. On August 15, 2012, the district court granted a stay pending the final resolution, thus the August 9, 2012 order that sensitive financial information would be made publicly available has been stayed pending disposition of the appeal.

The Power of Portfolio: Strong Design Patents III

Posted: Friday, Aug 23, 2013 @ 12:59 pm | Written by Mark Nowotarski | 4 comments
| Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Apple, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Mark Nowotarski, Patents

Editor’s note:  This is the third in a four part series on Strong Design Patents

MacWorld Conference & Expo 2007, San Francisco. Steve Jobs presents Apple’s phone.

In this series, we are looking at Apple’s design patents and their strategies for using them to protect the iPhone from being copied.  In the first two articles, we looked at The Power of The Broken Line, and The Power of Color.  In this article we are looking at the The Power of Portfolio.  In the patent industry, a “portfolio” is a grouping of patents that each protect different aspects of the same invention.   Patents are like shingles on a roof, there needs to be some overlap between them to provide complete protection.

On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world.  It was an historic event.  He was immensely proud of what Apple had accomplished and he made it clear he was going to defend it.  Steve was passionate about both style and technology, so when he said “Boy have we patented it” he meant both design and utility patents.  We are focusing on design.

Apple Seeks Patent on Suggested Search Rankings Based on Social Network Contacts

Posted: Sunday, Aug 4, 2013 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
| Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Apple, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Over the past few decades, few companies have been so associated with American technological innovation as Apple Inc. of Cupertino, CA. In recent days, however, this personal electronics corporation has encountered some setbacks to their business. Along with further allegations of safety and workers’ pay violations at Apple’s Chinese supplier plants, the digital financial news website Fiscal Insider reported that Samsung has recently surpassed Apple in profits from mobile device sales in late July.

This week, as IPWatchdog returns to its Companies We Follow series, we check in with Apple Inc. to get an idea of what newly developed systems they hope will help them retain their lead in the electronics industry. Many of the recently published documents from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, including both patent applications and issued patents, relate to software system improvements that Apple has developed. One patent application for a voice assistant that can analyze contextual data is specifically for mobile device applications. Two other applications are for more general computer systems: one which protects a system of suggesting search result rankings for online shopping based on a person’s social network contacts; another would protect a cleaner user interface for browser windows with multiple open web pages.

Apple is also interested in improving the hardware systems involved in their devices. One patent issued by the USPTO protects a removable hard drive for small form factor desktop computers that helps reduce the overall weight of the entire computer. A final patent application we feature today describes a system of accurately calibrating a mobile device’s magnetometer in response to interference from other electromagnetic fields.

Strong Design Patents: The Power of The Broken Line

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 @ 5:08 pm | Written by Mark Nowotarski | 2 comments
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Apple, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Mark Nowotarski, Patent Basics, Patents

Design matters.  For example, the success of Apple Computer’s products is due not only to their technical capabilities, but also to their aesthetic design, which Apple has justifiably protected with a substantial portfolio of design patents.  Recently, Apple’s iPhone design patents and other intellectual property were under scrutiny in comparison with the Samsung Galaxy family of phones.  However, because of the strategy Apple utilized when filing these patents, their counsel at trial was able to obtain a jury award of over $1 billion, $980 million of which could be attributed to infringement of the design patents[i].

In this four part series, titled Strong Design Patents, we will look at Apple’s design patents to see how to build a strong design patent portfolio.  In this first article, we will look at “The Power of The Broken Line,” then “The Power of Color”, followed by “The Power of the Portfolio”, and lastly, “The Power of Policing”.

Design patents are deceptively simple.  They are merely drawings or photographs of an object.  They protect against someone else making a similar looking object.  Infringement is determined by comparing the accused object against the figures in the patent.  If the accused object is sufficiently similar to the figures so that a typical observer using normal care would confuse the two, then the accused object infringes the patent.  The damages for infringement are either the lost profits of the patent holder, a reasonable royalty the patent owner would have received for a license to the patent or all of the profits the infringer made by selling the infringing devices, whichever is greater.  It doesn’t matter how much of the value of the accused object can be attributed to the design.  If the accused object infringes, the patent owner is entitled to the full damages.