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U.S. Commerce Department Announces Plan to Accelerate Transition to Private Management of the Domain Name System

Posted: Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 @ 12:19 pm | Written by Howard Hogan & Indraneel Sur | No Comments »
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Posted in: Department of Commerce, Guest Contributors, International, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles

On March 14, 2014, the United States Department of Commerce announced that it is asking the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) to begin discussions on a transition proposal for replacing the Department with a non-governmental entity to serve as steward of the Internet’s Domain Name System (“DNS”).[1] The Department’s announcement (the “Announcement”),[2] and accompanying question-and-answer guidance,[3] signals an effort to accelerate the transition to private-sector leadership of and supervision over the technical coordination of the DNS, which has proceeded sporadically since the late 1990s, when the Executive Branch set privatization as the eventual goal.  The Department said it was acting “[t]o support and enhance the multistakeholder model of Internet policymaking and governance.”  News reports have described speculation that the timing of the Announcement suggested a desire to pare back the U.S. Government’s role in Internet management in the aftermath of publicized disclosures of classified information involving foreign intelligence collection by the National Security Agency.[4]

Also on March 14, ICANN announced that it was “inviting governments, the private sector, civil society, and other Internet organizations from the whole world” to participate in the development of the transition proposal.[5]  ICANN noted that the “responsibilities to be transitioned include the procedural role of administering changes to” the DNS and “to the authoritative root zone file–the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains–as well as serving as the historic steward of the unique identifiers registries for Domain names, IP addresses, and protocol parameters.”



Internet Policy Task Force to Host Multistakeholder Forum on Improving the Operation of the Notice and Takedown System under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Posted: Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 @ 10:24 am | Written by U.S.P.T.O. | No Comments »
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Posted in: Copyright, Department of Commerce, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, USPTO

Washington– The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) will hold the first meeting of the public multistakeholder forum on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system for removing infringing content from the Internet under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) on March 20, 2014 at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The meeting was called for in the Commerce Department’s Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy released last year. The IPTF is a joint effort between the USPTO and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

The goal of the multistakeholder forum is to identify best practices and/or produce voluntary agreements for improving the operation of the DMCA notice and takedown system. The IPTF plans to hold several additional meetings throughout the year. The initial meeting will focus on identifying concrete topics to be addressed by participants, and to discuss and make decisions about the process for the forum’s ongoing work. The IPTF aims to have participation from a wide variety of the notice and takedown system’s current users, including right holders and individual creators, service providers, and any other stakeholders that are directly affected – such as consumer and public interest representatives, technical and engineering experts, and companies in the business of identifying infringing content.



Amazon Patents Focus on Online Shopping Experience

Posted: Saturday, Mar 8, 2014 @ 10:49 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Amazon.com, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

There is no larger online retailer in the world than Amazon.com, an international electronic commerce corporation with its headquarters based in Seattle, WA. After establishing itself as a major Internet service for retail shopping, the company has focused on developing its line of Kindle tablet devices and shipping services in recent years. This company just made major waves in Chinese consumer markets by releasing its Kindle Fire HDX reader in that country for a retail price starting at about $278 USD. In the American market, we’ll likely notice the influence of this company in television over the next year, as Amazon.com gets ready to roll out its TV set top box technology for Internet video content.

Every time we visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to view Amazon’s recently published applications and issued patents, we’re genuinely piqued to learn about this retailer and electronic device manufacturer’s plans for the future of digital content consumption. Today, IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series takes a hard look at the recent innovations coming from Amazon.com and its subsidiaries.

Our look at Amazon’s patented technologies focuses heavily on the shopping experience that online users encounter on their website, or their ability to view content in innovative ways. One patent protects a gaze-based technology for eBook scrolling on a reading device. Another couple of patents we feature protect innovative ways of providing consumer feedback for digital content, such as chapter reviews within an eBook or methods of soliciting feedback from users based on their catalog searches.



Facebook and Twitter: Patent Strategies for Social Media

Posted: Friday, Feb 14, 2014 @ 4:48 pm | Written by Gene Quinn & Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Facebook, Gene Quinn, Guest Contributors, IBM, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Social Media, Social Networking, Steve Brachmann, Twitter

Companies in technology sectors, especially social media companies, have seen some incredible investment through recent initial public offerings (IPOs) of corporate stock. Multi-billion dollar valuations for companies like Facebook, Twitter and more gave investors some excitement, but questions about sustainability, revenue generation and user growth has caused stock prices to dip in recent months.

Many of these companies have valuations that seem to fly in the face of their business models, which harkens back to the days of “irrational exuberance” of the “dot com” era. Still, social media companies can enjoy billions of users, but many of them use their services for free and generate negligible ad revenue for the company providing the platform. Will social media evolve into a money-making proposition or will these companies falter? Time will tell, as it tells with all things.

Against this backdrop and with the full knowledge that higher levels of investment almost universally require significant intellectual property holdings, we thought we’d take some time to look at the current state of the social media industry, including revenue and innovations. To accomplish this task we will also take a closer look at some recent inventions patented by major companies in this field.



Oracle Seeks to Patent Defenses Against Search Engine Tracking

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 @ 10:26 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Oracle, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

The Oracle Corporation, based in Redwood City, CA, is a major developer of software solutions for use in organizations. Its products include customer relationship management, database management and supply chain management software, as well as computer hardware, including servers. Oracle’s cloud-based services are enabling some colleges to provide extensive application suites online that create Internet access to a wide range of student services. A major American corporation, Oracle’s presence is growing in many regions of the world, like India, who about two-thirds of domestic corporations anticipate migrating many business services and activities to the cloud.

Companies We Follow has returned once again to the California headquarters of this major corporate software and hardware developer to get a quick look at its recent innovations. The patent applications and issued patents published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that are assigned to Oracle can give us an idea of the near future of enterprise software solutions.

We’re featuring one patent application today that discusses some very interesting improvements to online privacy while using search engines. This system creates data that obfuscates the search query submitted by a user so that it cannot be tracked by a third party, while still providing relevant search results. Other patent applications describing business software innovations include a method of generating consumer decision trees based on in-store transaction records, and a way to prevent others from copying the text of sensitive electronic documents.

The issued patents assigned recently to Oracle highlight some interesting intellectual property holdings that further advance the corporation’s goal in providing inclusive software solutions for businesses. Business connected to a distributed pool of network resources shared with others will benefit from an electronic resource broker agent protected in one patent.



The Future of TV: Internet Television Tech on the Rise

Posted: Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014 @ 9:02 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Amazon.com, AT&T, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, Intel, Internet, Internet Television, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Recently on IPWatchdog, we featured a series of AT&T patents in our Companies We Follow series that protect various technologies for Internet protocol television, or IPTV. More and more, we’ve been noticing various television technologies relying on Internet transmission that have been protected by patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This prompted us to take a closer look at the current state of Internet Television technologies in America and the surrounding world.

A few U.S. cable television providers, such as Comcast’s AnyPlay and AT&T’s U-verse, already offer Internet television technologies. Globally, there were about 66 million IPTV subscribers as of June 2012, and that amount is expected to rise to 102 million by 2018. Domestically, the IPTV market has seen some interesting movement lately; as we noted in our recent Companies We Follow column on the Intel Corporation, which also featured patents protecting IPTV tech, the corporation recently agreed to sell it’s OnCue IPTV business and associated technology holdings to Verizon Communications. In turn, Verizon plans to develop IPTV consumer packages within the United States. Amazon.com is also reportedly shopping for content for its own Internet TV service.

IPTV is much different than the digital video accessed by millions of users on YouTube or other video streaming websites, but it shares a lot of the same ubiquitous, pervasive nature. A single subscription can be accessed by multiple television sets within a home, and Internet-based transmission allows for web-based applications to enhance a viewer’s experience. Our goal today is to explore the the current state of IPTV and Internet television technologies globally, as well as what the near future holds for these entertainment systems.



How to Respond to Cyber Attacks on Your Business

Posted: Monday, Jan 27, 2014 @ 10:51 am | Written by Gene Quinn & Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Business, Gene Quinn, Guest Contributors, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

In December of 2013, it was discovered that the major American retailer Target was, aptly enough, the target of a major hacking event that resulted in the breach of personal information for anywhere from 70 million to 110 million customers. Although credit card information was not obtained in each case, it does make nearly 100 million people more susceptible to identity theft.

The cyber attack was accomplished by hacking into Target’s point-of-sale devices to install a program that records data from credit cards swiped through an infected device. This information is then sent to a remote server so others can access the data. And Target isn’t the only major corporation to deal with a recent hacking scandal; in recent days, luxury retail company Neiman Marcus announced that they were dealing with a very similar situation involving the theft of customer information.

Statistics show that hacking activities across the globe have been ramping up at a feverish clip the past few years, and we’re seeing plenty of evidence that small and mid-sized businesses have to be on their guard more than ever to prevent an attack. Still, a survey conducted by Ernst & Young found that 96% of executives don’t believe their business is prepared to handle a cyber attack. Appreciation of vulnerability is, of course, an important first step, but what can you do to prevent an attack? What should you do when an attack has occurred? Every business needs to think through these issues before there is a problem.



Amazon.com: New Ways to Put Consumers in Touch with Media

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 @ 1:05 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 2 comments
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Posted in: Amazon.com, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

The online retailing giant Amazon.com is an American corporation that is headquartered in Seattle, WA. With Black Friday later this week, we at IPWatchdog wanted to take a closer look at one of the companies that has drastically changed the current reality of retail. As parents all over the country get ready to find gifts for their children, Amazon might earn a better market share with recent reports that it’s toys are cheaper than those found on Wal-Mart’s online store. Recent reports from The Seattle Times indicate that the corporation is looking to increase its leased spacing within Seattle by 20 percent, or about 275,000 square feet.

Holding the rights to more than 1,200 patents, Amazon is definitely a company to profile in our Companies We Follow series. It’s never too long before a new patent application or issued patent is published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which is assigned to the company. As you can see, Amazon is busy finding new and more effective ways of putting consumers in touch with useful multimedia.

Today’s featured patent application would protect a software widget for handheld electronic devices that allows playback of Amazon digital files. This widget would save system resources that typically get drained when users open multiple applications for video and audio playback or eBook reading. A couple of other patent applications discuss improved delivery systems for physical copies of media, including a system of creating custom shipping containers. Another patent application allows handheld electronic devices to conserve energy typically used by touchscreen operations.