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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
EDITORIAL NOTE: The black colored text below is taken from an FTC Press Release. I also provide my thoughts and comments in the format of comments from the peanut gallery, or perhaps as a patent attorney equivalent to Mystery Science Theater 3000. In order to differentiate my thoughts/comments from the FTC statement, my comments are italicized, colored, indented and tagged with the IPWatchdog logo.
Aaron’s, Inc., a national, Atlanta-based rent-to-own retailer, has agreed to settle FTC charges that it knowingly played a direct and vital role in its franchisees’ installation and use of software on rental computers that secretly monitored consumers including by taking webcam pictures of them in their homes.
How to Write a Patent Application is a must own for patent attorneys, patent agents and law students alike. A crucial hands-on resource that walks you through every aspect of preparing and filing a patent application, from working with an inventor to patent searches, preparing the patent application, drafting claims and more.
Without hesitation I recommend One Simple Idea and think it should be required reading for any motivated inventor. There is so much to like about the book and so much that I think author Stephen Key nails dead on accurate. The book is educational, information and inspirational. For the $14 cover price it is essential reading.
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