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Yahoo! Focuses on Social Platform for Achieving Personal Goals

Posted: Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Cloud Computing, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Social Media, Social Networking, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Yahoo

Headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) is a multinational corporation which has achieved global renown for its suite of Internet software technologies, including e-mail, finance, search engine and other web portal services. The corporation recently announced that the renowned Yahoo! Directory, the hierarchical list of links that was the first Internet product offered by Yahoo!, will be discontinued by the end of the year. Although it is parting with some longtime services, the company has been involved in an incredible amount of acquisitions, having recently its purchase of Luminate, a tech startup which has created an interactive platform for tagging images. Meanwhile, Yahoo! is trying to deal with pressure from certain shareholders to consider a merger with America Online.

Yahoo! may not be responsible for the large amounts of intellectual property development seen with other companies featured in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, but we do always find many intriguing innovations when we look at the corporation’s recently filed patent applications. We were greatly interested in a trio of patent applications which are evidence of Yahoo!’s desire to build a social platform for achieving personal goals, including one application discussing the use of social and economic motivators to achieve goals. Other innovations included online advertisement improvements, including a method for presenting virtual billboards through a digital lens device, and methods for discovering relevant online content.

The patent portfolio of Yahoo! has increased in recent weeks, and we’ve selected a few of these inventions that our readers may enjoy learning more about. One patent protects methods of interacting with search engine results through keyboard inputs, improving on current methods which typically only involve mouse-based inputs. We found more patents regarding online advertising, proving that Yahoo! has a definite focus on helping advertisers sell products and services to users of the company’s Internet technologies. We also discuss a type of social network designed by Yahoo! for use specifically with mobile devices.



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: Companies We Follow, Computers, Google, Guest Contributors, 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.



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: Cloud Computing, Companies We Follow, Computers, Guest Contributors, 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.



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: Cloud Computing, Companies We Follow, Computers, Guest Contributors, 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.



Why Brands Need to Pay Attention to Unregulated Domains

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 @ 1:53 pm | Written by Monica Talley | 4 comments
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Posted in: Guest Contributors, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Technology & Innovation

While much attention has been focused on ICANN’s new gTLD program and the transfer of IANA function to ICANN, a new domain structure positioned outside ICANN’s purview is being developed with the possibility to significantly impact brands and businesses.

The ‘.bit’ domain, a new decentralized domain structure, has secured a small but loyal following, and could one day change the way brands operate online. .bit registrations are not associated with a name, address, or phone number, but are linked to a cryptographic identity, preserving anonymity. Unlike customary domains – such as ‘.com’ – ‘.bit’ cannot be accessed from traditional web browsers or registered using traditional currency. Instead, individuals attempting to gain access to these domains must first download specialized software that allows access to the sites using Windows browsers, and pay for the registration with a crypto currency called Namecoin.



Net Neutrality – What it is and Why it Matters

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Federal Communications Commission, Government, Guest Contributors, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

It’s tough to describe what access to the Internet has meant to our contemporary society, especially in terms of technological progress in our country and across the world. It can easily be said that the spread of Internet-based technologies has revolutionized our society and brought about the birth of what many consider to be the Information Age. Free and open access to a wide array of informational resources and software application through the Internet is now widely used in corporate, governmental and private individual situations to connect people and organizations to valuable communication networks.

It’s this incredible value intrinsic to the Internet that has been central to the debate over net neutrality. What was a fairly esoteric term just a few months ago has lately jumped to the forefront of the American political debate, thanks to newly proposed regulations set forward by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Just several days ago Tech Crunch reported that the FCC had received some 647,000 comments relating to its activities associated with net neutrality, a staggering sum. And thanks to glitches with the comment system, the announced yesterday that it would be extending the deadline to provide comments until midnight on Friday, July 18.

With all this in mind we wanted to take some time to look at this issue, which could affect all users of the Internet, from various angles to give our readers an opportunity to gain a clearer understanding of what’s at stake. At the core of the debate is government oversight of private Internet networks, and whether free access to all online resources is a basic right of all Internet users.



FTC Alleges Amazon Unlawfully Billed Parents for Millions of Dollars in Children’s Unauthorized In-App Charges

Posted: Thursday, Jul 10, 2014 @ 12:56 pm | Written by Federal Trade Commission | Comments Off
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Posted in: Amazon.com, Companies We Follow, Federal Trade Commission, Government, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles

FTC Building, Washington, D.C.

Amazon.com, Inc. has billed parents and other account holders for millions of dollars in unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children, according to a Federal Trade Commission complaint filed today in federal court.

The FTC’s lawsuit seeks a court order requiring refunds to consumers for the unauthorized charges and permanently banning the company from billing parents and other account holders for in-app charges without their consent. According to the complaint, Amazon keeps 30 percent of all in-app charges.

Amazon offers many children’s apps in its appstore for download to mobile devices such as the Kindle Fire. In its complaint, the FTC alleges that Amazon violated the FTC Act by billing parents and other Amazon account holders for charges incurred by their children without the permission of the parent or other account holder. Amazon’s setup allowed children playing these kids’ games to spend unlimited amounts of money to pay for virtual items within the apps such as “coins,” “stars,” and “acorns” without parental involvement.



SCOTUS: Streaming TV Over Internet is Copyright Infringement

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 @ 12:08 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 14 comments
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Posted in: Copyright, Gene Quinn, Government, Internet, Internet Television, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Technology & Innovation, US Supreme Court

Justice Stephen Breyer

Earlier today the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., a case that required the Court to determine whether Aereo infringed copyrights of the plaintiffs by selling its subscribers a service that allowed them to watch television programs over the Internet at about the same time as the programs broadcasted the programs over the air. In a 6 to 3 decision authored by Justice Stephen Breyer the Court found that Aereo’s actions did constitute copyright infringement. A dissent was written by Justice Scalia and joined by Justices Thomas and Alito.

Using an all too familiar “logical” construct, the Supreme Court determined that what Aereo did was not a public performance within the meaning of the Copyright Act, but was still infringement because it was a public performance. This construct, which often appears in patent cases, is logically absurd, but without anyone to review the Court’s decisions they seem completely comfortable rendering internally inconsistent and logically flawed decisions, particularly when dealing with intellectual property.

The Supreme Court likely struggles with intellectual property because the Court is simply not comfortable with technology. In the past I have made much of the fact that the Supreme Court does not use e-mail, I’ve also pointed to the fact that during the KSR oral arguments Justice Scalia called the entire area of patent law “gobbledegook.” But we don’t even need to go beyond the text of the written decision to understand the Court’s true naiveté. Indeed, at one point in his opinion Justice Breyer asked why the facts actually matter.

Breyer asked: “why should any of these technological differences matter?” Aside from the fact that intellectual property issues are by their very nature extraordinarily dependent upon technology, technological reality matters because under our system of law cases are supposed to be decided based on fact, not myth or superstition.



Narrow Internet Personal Jurisdiction Leads to Trademark Infringement Case Dismissed

Posted: Monday, Jun 9, 2014 @ 6:12 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | Comments Off
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Posted in: Gene Quinn, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Trademark

The United States Federal District Court for the District of Nevada has dismissed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a foreign Internet poker site in a ruling that signals a rather substantial win for Internet businesses at large. The decision narrows the types of contacts that would confer general jurisdiction against foreign companies. The case is Best Odds Corp. vs iBus Media Limited, docket number 2:13-cv-020080RCJ-VCF.

Nevada-based online poker news site Best Odds Corp. sued the Isle of Man-based iBus Media Holdings for infringement of its MacPoker ® trademark, claiming that the Nevada courts had general jurisdiction over iBus Media’s poker news sites. Best Odds pointed to the defendants’ media kit, which alleged a significant U.S. presence. The court disagreed that these promotional statements conferred general jurisdiction over iBus Media.

In a June 4, 2014, ruling Judge Robert C. Jones granted iBus Media Holdings’ motion for dismissal of Best Odds Corp.’s trademark infringement lawsuit. Judge Jones said the plaintiff failed to make a case that Nevada courts had general jurisdiction over the foreign-based iBus Media, citing the Supreme Court’s recent Daimler AG v. Bauman decision, which Jones said “clarified that the reach of general jurisdiction is narrower than had been supposed in lower courts for many years.”



Yahoo Seeks Patent on Method of Recommending Advertising Services

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 4, 2014 @ 11:31 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Mobile Devices, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Yahoo

Yahoo! Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, is one of the most recognizable names in the area of American computing corporations. The company’s flagship website, with its various search engine, mapping, news, finance and social media software tools, services millions of Internet users every day. This summer, the company may be looking to ramp up its activity in video sharing services; there has been a lot of talk in various technology publications surrounding the company’s plans to unveil an online video service to rival YouTube in terms of better ad rates and contracts for content creators. The upcoming IPO for Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, of which Yahoo! owns a minority stake, may net the corporation $10 billion to $15 billion.

The Companies We Follow series here at IPWatchdog has focused on this multinational corporation a couple of times in the past, and we’re returning again for another look at some intriguing developments in Internet-based technologies. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is regularly issuing patents to as well as publishing patent applications filed by Yahoo! every week. What we found in our most recent search includes some incredible innovations which a variety of businesses and individuals will likely soon be able to use through Yahoo!’s online website.

We start today’s check into Yahoo!’s innovations with an in-depth look at one patent application describing an online marketplace for advertising services which can be bought for business purposes. This marketplace enables advertising services to bid for rates and can analyze consumer interactions with a business website to suggest effecting online marketing tools. Other patent applications describe various other software tools for business purposes, including one system for providing advertisements which are optimized for mobile device screens.