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The Walt Disney Company – An Innovative and Creative Pioneer

Posted: Saturday, Dec 20, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Authors, Companies We Follow, Computers, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, The Walt Disney Company, Video

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) is a multinational mass media corporation headquartered in Burbank, CA, and is one of the few companies in the world that could be considered beloved by its customers. Disney has thrived for decades on offering family friendly experiences at its many amusement parks and in movie theaters across the globe. So far, 2014 has been a banner year for the company thanks in large part to box office successes from films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America 2 and Frozen; a resulting rise in dividends extending from this success is seen as a sign of increased corporate strength for Disney. In 2015, Disney’s movie business is expected to reap even more from what are expected to be great returns from the next movie installments of The Avengers and Star Wars, both of which are coming out next year. Disney is also heavily into the development of video games, which we’ll discuss in more detail below, as is evidenced by the recent announcement of a Disney research initiative completed in partnership with the Institute of Technology Zürich for better quality in eye capture for building digital face models in video games.

Disney may not be as prolific in patenting activities as many other corporations featured in the Companies We Follow series, but the company did place 211th overall during 2013 in terms of U.S. patents received by entities worldwide; statistics released by the Intellectual Property Owners Association show that Disney earned 137 patents that year, almost 25 percent more than they received the year prior.

Surprising to some may be that the effects of the Supreme Court ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank has negatively impacted the patent holdings of Disney as a series of patents protecting lip-sync animation technologies were declared invalid in September by a U.S. district judge in California, which found that the patents only protected an abstract set of rules. Over the years, Disney has patented a wide array of technologies, from drink dispensers to amusement rides with spinning passenger cars to irrigation control systems. But they do have a variety of software related innovations that have been patented, so like everyone else in the space they are not immune to the uncertainty created by the Supreme Court.



Video Conferencing and Software Dominate Cisco Patent Activity

Posted: Friday, Dec 19, 2014 @ 7:30 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Authors, Cisco Systems, Companies We Follow, Computers, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), of San Jose, CA, is a dominant force in the market of developing and commercializing computer networking solutions for many types of organizations. The month of December marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of this company first founded in San Francisco, from which Cisco derives its name. Cisco offers plenty of evidence that intellectual property protection is not mutually exclusive with open source ideals, such as its recent decision to expand the resources freely available through its OpenSOC (Security Operation Center) project, which utilizes Big Data techniques to enhance security analytics. Cisco has faced plenty of competition over the past few months from Microsoft in the area of enterprise collaboration infrastructure, although third quarter data available from both companies showed that Cisco has lately widened its lead in this market.

We often feature Cisco here on the Companies We Follow series and our latest search of patent applications filed by this company showed us a great amount of research into video communications. One patent application we feature discusses a method for automatically recognizing videoconferencing callers. Improved collaboration systems, including those which can alert online collaborators to an emergency situation being experienced by a person on the other end of a communication link, are discussed in a couple of other applications. We also discuss one filing for a technology that provides local content of interest in response to global searches for information.

The patenting activities of Cisco are very strong and the past few weeks saw the addition of many valuable patents to this company’s portfolio. Videoconferencing technologies, including technologies for better eye contact or subject mobility during video calls, are discussed in a collection of patents we’ve shared below. Methods of providing callers with a default language of their choice while visiting foreign countries, as well as security features to be implemented by smart electrical grids, are also explored in more detail.



USPTO, NIST on Front Lines of Cybersecurity Partnership

Posted: Thursday, Nov 20, 2014 @ 12:16 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 5 comments
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Posted in: Authors, Cloud Computing, Computers, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Security & Identity Theft, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Throughout 2014, stories of major data breaches and hacking incidents have dominated the mainstream media. Customers of major corporations like Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Neiman Marcus have been the targets of malware, phishing schemes and other malicious acts of cyber crime within the past year. As a result, hackers have gained access to private information pertaining to tens of millions of financial accounts. Here at IPWatchdog, we’ve provided some coverage of this growing threat to the technological infrastructures of companies and organizations all over the world.

Instances of cyber crime have been rising and the associated costs have exploded. Cyber crime has increased 10.4 percent this year over totals posted during 2013 according to the Ponemon Institute, an independent data protection research firm. By far, the United States bears the greatest brunt of the cost of cyber crime; American businesses lost a total of $12.69 billion so far this year as a result of computer crime.. Exact financial costs for each organization affected are tough to tally, but a PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that the average monetary loss among companies that could report financial statistics was about $415,000 per organization. Two-thirds of the companies surveyed weren’t able to estimate their losses in clear financial terms. Worldwide, cyber crime costs about $445 billion to the global economy every year, a figure that represents about one percent of annual income all over the globe. Again, it’s difficult to determine the exact financial cost of cyber crimes, and other estimates have varied as widely as just over $100 billion to about $1 trillion.

In this current tenor of the global discussion on cybersecurity, multiple U.S. governmental agencies are joining with academic institutions and industry leaders to develop more proactive measures of handling and responding to cybersecurity risks. On Friday, November 14th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hosted the nation’s first Cybersecurity Partnership meeting at the USPTO’s Silicon Valley office in Menlo Park, CA. A full day of events brought together officials from the PTO, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and a variety of other stakeholders in cybersecurity development to talk about ongoing efforts to strengthen the cybersecurity response of American businesses and governmental agencies to the growing threat of computer crime. We were able to catch some of the day’s proceedings through a webcast provided by the PTO.



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: Authors, Companies We Follow, Computers, Google, 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: Authors, Companies We Follow, Computers, 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.



IBM Computing Patents: Smarter E-mail to Blocking Commercials

Posted: Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014 @ 4:12 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Authors, Cloud Computing, Companies We Follow, Computers, IBM, Internet, Patents, Social Networking, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Several days ago we profiled recent IBM patent applications. For this follow-up article we’ve gone through scores of patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to find you the latest and greatest in recently patented computing innovations.

The corporation has a proud history in intellectual property development, as is evidenced by the more than 60,000 patent plaques displayed at IBM’s headquarters in Armonk, NY. IBM (NASDAQ: IBM) is also proactive in the its scrutiny of intellectual property protection, as is evidenced by its recent decision to petition the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to declare invalid a series of patents in telecommunications fields held by Intellectual Ventures Management.

Today’s column focuses solely on the inventions recently added to IBM’s patent portfolio; everything you see below represents a technology for which IBM has been issued a U.S. patent grant from late August and into September 2014. Telecommunications innovations are included among this, specifically systems for e-mail organization and telephone call filtering. We share a trio of patents protecting computer languages and networking technologies. Social networking analysis technologies and a couple of inventions related to accessibility programs for computer users with impairments are also featured. Television viewers may be intrigued as well to learn about the novel technique for blocking unwanted commercial content protected by another IBM patent that we explored today.

For more about IBM patents and patent applications please see Companies We Follow: IBM.



IBM Patent Applications: Business, Medical Data Analysis

Posted: Sunday, Oct 5, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 9 comments
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Posted in: Authors, Cancer Research, Companies We Follow, Computers, IBM, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Medical Devices & Methods, Patents, Software, Steve Brachmann

There is no corporation with a wider breadth of development in intellectual properties than the International Business Machines Corporation of Armonk, NY. Long associated as a developer of business technologies, IBM has recently announced a free tool for businesses who want to upload data to Watson Analytics to receive predictive insights. The company is increasing its presence in Indian markets by partnering with dozens of startups, including one trying to develop data technologies to predict instances of crime before they occur. IBM is also involved in efforts to develop more effective health care technologies, as is evidenced by the recent decision by Texas-based biosciences company Caris Life Sciences to use IBM technology to accelerate molecular profiling services for cancer patients.

In this edition of the Companies We Follow series, we’ve surveyed the recently published patent applications which have been filed by IBM with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All in all, we found a wide assortment of data analysis technologies for business, medical and consumer fields which may likely their way into the corporation’s intellectual property portfolio in the months to come.

We start off with a look at a few inventions for software development projects, specifically for the management of artifacts connected to software development files by applications within development platforms. We discuss a trio of patent applications related to helping businesses make sense of immense data sets, including visualization methods and techniques for answering natural language questions. IBM’s patent applications involve more medical technologies, including a system for determining fraud within health care claims. We also profile one patent application describing a unique method for swaying the voting tendencies of a group of participants within an electronically hosted conference.



Microsoft Patents Business Data Services, Anti-Phishing Scanners and Tailored Web Services

Posted: Saturday, Oct 4, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 2 comments
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Posted in: Authors, Cloud Computing, Companies We Follow, Computers, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Microsoft, Patents, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Video Games & Online Gaming

One of the leading American corporations in the field of computer technology development is the Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, WA. Many media sources have been most recently buzzing about the company’s recent $2.5 billion purchase of Swedish game developer Mojang, the creator of the wildly popular Minecraft game. The world were introduced to details about the Windows 10 operating system at a Microsoft event in San Francisco on September 30. Microsoft is also expanding its offerings in computing hardware with its Universal Mobile Keyboard for Android, iOS and Windows devices.

We often return to Microsoft during the course of our Companies We Follow series here at IPWatchdog to profile the most intriguing inventions developed by a giant of American technological development. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published dozens of recently filed patent applications assigned to this company. We noticed a great deal of research and development in the field of cloud computing, as well as an intriguing assortment of filings related to video gaming. Two of these involve the use of a physical activity monitoring device worn by a player for personal training or gameplay.

Microsoft has one of the most powerful patent portfolios in the world and the past few weeks have not shown any signs of slow activity here. One patent protects a system enabling mobile device users to quickly share video and audio content across short-range networks, like Bluetooth. A couple of software solutions for business issues are included, such as one patent protecting a method of syncing data from a recovery machine more quickly in response to a network failure. The prevention of phishing scams and methods of tailoring web services to the preferences of a group are also explored below.



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: Authors, Companies We Follow, Computers, 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.



SCOTUS Rules Alice Software Claims Patent Ineligible

Posted: Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 @ 10:54 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 216 comments
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Posted in: Computers, Gene Quinn, Government, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patentability, Patents, Software, Technology & Innovation, US Supreme Court

Justice Thomas

UPDATE 2: June 19, 2014 at 6:44 pm ET.

On Thursday, June 19, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in Alice v. CLS Bank. In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Thomas the Supreme Court held that because the claims are drawn to a patent-ineligible abstract idea, they are not eligible for a patent under Section 101.

In what can only be described as an intellectually bankrupt opinion, the Supreme Court never once used the word “software” in its decision. This is breathtaking given that the Supreme Court decision in Alice will render many hundreds of thousands of software patents completely useless. While the Supreme Court obviously didn’t want to make this decision about software, the holding does make it about software because each of the ways software has been claimed were ruled to result in patent ineligible claims. On first read I don’t see how any software patent claims written as method or systems claims can survive challenge. For example, these claims to IBM’s Watson computer, which is really akin to the first generation omnipotent Star Trek computer, seem to be quite clearly patent ineligible. See Is IBM’s Watson Still Patent Eligible. It is impossible to see how the Watson claims remain patent eligible in light of this ruling and how the Alice claims were written. The only potential solace for IBM and others would be if the Federal Circuit narrowly interprets this decision noticing that the Supreme Court seemed almost preoccupied by the fact that the patent claims covered a financial process. Still, the structure of the claims are nearly identical, with Alice’s claims actually having more recited structure, if anything.

More difficult to understand is how the Court could issue a decision that doesn’t even use the word software. Software is clearly patent eligible if you read the patent statute. Software is mentioned throughout the statute. It was specifically mentioned in the America Invents Act in 2011. Tax strategies are not patent eligible in and of themselves, but the AIA says that software is not patent ineligible just because it incorporates a tax strategy. This is the type of analysis the Supreme Court engaged in the Bilski decision finding that business methods are patentable.



IBM Seeks Patent on Automatically Determining Content Security

Posted: Thursday, Jun 5, 2014 @ 10:49 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
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Posted in: Authors, Cloud Computing, Companies We Follow, Computers, IBM, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Headquartered in Armonk, NY, the International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM, is a major force in the fields of manufacturing computing hardware and software, and also offers hosting and consultation services for those industries. This company has been a huge player in the area of cloud computing, and IBM recently announced the launch of Experience One, a marketing service designed to help businesses better reach consumers using the cloud. The corporation also recently opened a $17-million data center in Bogota, Columbia, which will provide cloud and Big Data services to companies within various Columbian industrial sectors. Recently, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ended an investigation of IBM’s cloud computing revenues and found no wrongdoing in the way it reports cloud computing sales.

We’re back for our first profile of IBM in a few months here at IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, and as per usual, we’re finding it almost impossible to keep up with the corporation’s recent innovations. IBM is the source of the highest level of patent filings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We hope that today’s profile of this American multinational corporation can give our readers even just a small glimpse at this company’s intellectual property goals.

IBM is renowned for its development of supercomputing programs, which is the focus of today’s featured patent application. This filed application describes a system of analyzing digital content in various forms in order to automatically determine the appropriate security level for that content, eliminating the need for network users to manually apply security measures on their own. We also found a couple of technologies for migrating consumer services to cloud-based environments, and a unique method of determining broken lamps in public lighting systems by utilizing satellite images.



IBM Inventors Join Hall of Fame for Pioneering Programmable Computing

Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 @ 11:37 am | Written by Gene Quinn | Comments Off
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Computers, Famous Inventors, Gene Quinn, IBM, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Software, Software Patent Basics, Technology & Innovation

Pictured (from left) Francis Hamilton (IBM engineer), Clair Lake (IBM engineer) Howard Aiken (Harvard professor) and Benjamin Durfee (IBM engineer) — 2014 National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees for their invention of the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC)

Later this evening the National Inventors Hall of Fame will induct three IBM (NYSE: IBM) engineers for their invention of the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC), which was developed more than 70 years ago to rapidly and accurately perform complex mathematical calculations. The ASCC was a precursor to today’s cognitive computing systems like IBM Watson, which rapidly analyze data and learn and interact naturally with people. The ASCC ushered in the programmable computing era, which would ultimately provide the ability to put a man on the moon and to make the Internet a reality.

IBM inventors Benjamin Durfee, Francis Hamilton and Clair Lake, as well as Harvard professor and co-inventor Howard Aiken, will be posthumously honored by the Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the home of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The National Inventors Hall of Fame, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recognizing and honoring invention and creativity, as well as honoring the men and women responsible for the great technological advances that make human, social and economic progress possible.

Durfee, Hamilton, Lake and Aiken will be inducted for their invention disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 2,616,626, which is simply titled Calculator. The patent application was filed on February 8, 1945, but did not issue until November 4, 1952. The invention described in the ‘626 patent was the first automatic digital calculator able to retain mathematical rules in its memory and not require reprogramming to solve a new set of problems. It represented a significant advance. Because reprogramming was not necessary, the invention was a powerful improvement, offering far greater speed in performing a host of complex mathematical calculations.