The American auto industry has dealt with trying times recently, most notably with the announcement of Detroit’s Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy. The state of Michigan is home to the group of auto manufacturers known as the Big Three: General Motors in Detroit, MI; Chrysler in nearby Auburn Hills, MI; and Ford, headquartered in Dearborn, a close suburb of Detroit.
However, these companies have been reporting strong gains in the face of larger economic problems plaguing their region. General Motors, having spent a year away from Super Bowl advertising, will be returning to that very recognizable collection of major marketing campaigns during the 2014 game. Current estimates are pricing a 30-second commercial spot at $4 million, up from $3.8 the year prior. Ford has also been showing off its corporate strength, especially in the European market, where a bounceback from corporate losses sustained last year has been increasing hopes for the company.
Today at IPWatchdog in the Companies We Follow Series, we’re looking at the Big Three to see what developmental goals these companies are planning for the future. Many deal with better systems of obtaining vehicle repairs. Ford has been issued a patent pertaining to online service scheduling for vehicle repair. As well, General Motors has filed a patent application for a system of vehicle repair that provides better resources than a typical service manual.
AT&T is a major American telecommunications corporation headquartered in Dallas, TX. The company is a major developer of mobile telephone services for consumers all across the world. Recently, Engadget reported that AT&T would be bringing its high-speed LTE service for 4G phones to 50 markets in the coming weeks, including Fairbanks, AK; Fargo, ND; and Amarillo, TX.
The research and development activities of this corporation can give us an exciting look into the future of smartphones and mobile wireless technologies. Today on IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we return to explore recent issued patents and patent applications filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Many of these documents that we look through today deal with mobile wireless technology and media presentations. One patent application describes a system of analyzing a person’s geographical location to create a map detailing wireless coverage in the area. Another patent application provides for a system of developing three dimensional media content for images or video. Also, one patent issued by the USPTO protects a system of enhancing phone calls between business acquaintances by providing local news and weather information.
Qualcomm Incorporated is a San Diego-based manufacturer of semiconductors often found in iPhones and similar devices. Qualcomm is also one of America’s leading technology innovators. As you will see below, Qualcomm’s innovation is not limited to semiconductors; they engage in a wide range of innovation and have an aggressive patent protection plan that routinely sees them in the top 10 in number of international patent applications filed. See 2012 top filers page 3.
Today in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we’re returning to take a look at one of the nation’s most successful technology developers. Three Qualcomm patent applications and issued patents published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office recently have focused heavily on mobile device improvements. Two applications pertain to device cameras: one would protect a system of automatic picture taking at events, and another would improve location mapping services based on recognizable venue features. A third patent application we explore here would allow mobile device users to send text messages to 911 or other emergency service providers.
On Monday, August 5, 2013, the the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), a nonprofit association of academic technology transfer professionals, released the highlights of the AUTM U.S. Licensing Activity Survey: FY2012. The AUTM survey shares quantitative information about licensing activities at U.S. universities, hospitals and research institutions.The full report is scheduled for release at the end of the year.
The highlights of the survey reveal that University licensing and startup activity continued to see a robust increase during fiscal year 2012.
Institutions responding to the survey reported $36.8 billion in net product sales from licensed technologies in fiscal year 2012. In addition, startup companies formed by 70 institutions employed 15,741 full-time employees. This was the second year in which AUTM asked questions specifically targeted at ascertaining the economic impact of academic technology transfer.
For many summer weather enthusiasts, this time of year is the best for getting out on the water and surfing the largest waves they can find. Surfboards have been around since the 1940s and have grown in popularity as a summer pastime in coastal areas.
Today in IPWatchdog’s Summer 2013 Fun series, in honor of the ongoing U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California, we’re featuring some of the most interesting new patent applications and issued patents related to surfing. Some of these newly devised innovations are designed to help a surfer save their physical energy. One patent application describes a new powered surfboard with a detachable chair for riding far out into a body of water. Another issued patent protects an attachable hard edge that can improve the performance of inflatable surfboards, which are easier to transport. A new four-pointed tail design from a patent application would improve a surfer’s speed and control on the water.
Toyota Motor Corporation, headquartered in Toyota, Japan, is an industry leader for research and development in the automotive industry. The multinational corporation has a strong American presence as well; the Toyota Technical Center is located in Ann Arbor, MI. Recently, the Technical Center held a ceremony to celebrate the corporation’s top inventors for the past year.
The corporation and its subsidiaries were awarded 1,491 patents in 2012, the most for any automobile manufacturer according to the Intellectual Property Owners Association. Of particular note were inventors Minjuan Zhang, a manager at the Toyota Research Institute NA, and Charan Lota, manager at the Toyota Technical Center. Both of these inventors earned, separately, their 20th issued patents during 2012.
Today in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we’re taking a look at recent Toyota patents to celebrate this incredible output of technological innovation from the Japanese car maker. Two patents we feature here include Zhang and Lota as part of the development team. One patent protects a new multi-layer exterior for vehicles that reflects a wider range of light, providing a vehicle better protection from damaging sunlight rays. Another patent protects a smart calendar system that can inform onboard GPS routing based on regular errands.
The hotter months have arrived, which means that it’s the time of the year that we feel solar energy the most. In fact, the heat and longer days make it perfect to enjoy some of the better things that Mother Nature has to offer.
Inventors have been filing for patents regarding solar powered items for at least several decades. Patents issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office during the early ‘80s show how inventors have used solar energy to power lighting systems (US Patent No. 4,384,317) and even for the propulsion of aircraft through the sky(US Patent No. 4,415,133). In the 1990s, more interesting applications for solar energy use in outdoor entertainment can be seen, such as this patent protecting a solar-powered hot dog cooker (US Patent No. 5,054,467).
Today at IPWatchdog, as we continue our Summer 2013 series, we take a look at some of the patents and applications regarding the application of solar energy to improve outdoor summer activities. A few patent applications give us an insight to some of the intriguing uses of solar energy we might see someday in our own backyards. One application describes an umbrella table capable of storing electricity and sending it to electrical outlets on the table. Another application is for a grill canopy with solar-powered lighting displaying downward from the fabric top. A third application would protect a solar powered outdoor lamp with a more stable base for non-permeable ground settings.
Earlier today Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) released the rankings for the 2013 Global Innovation Index. Switzerland and Sweden remain #1 and #2 respectively, but the United States jumped 5 places to #5.
According to the report, the United States benefited from a strong education base, with many top-ranked universities. Additionally, over the last year the U.S. has seen significant increases in software spending and employment in knowledge-intensive industries. The U.S. was last in the top 5 of the Global Innovation Index in 2009, when it placed #1.
There was also good news for innovation in general, which is alive and well despite the global economic crisis, which drags on. The report explains that “[r]esearch and development spending levels are surpassing 2008 levels in most countries and successful local hubs are thriving.”
The Zup™ is perhaps the most cool and innovative wake board you have ever seen. There are a number of other patent applications pending, trademark applications pending and ongoing research and development for future products. The Zup™ is special because literally anyone can ride the board and participate in the fun. I knew that Glen was onto something when he showed me a video of an early prototype in use years ago. There was a giant fellow — 6’8″ and easily 290 pounds — who managed to get up on the board with ease. I thought to myself, “that shouldn’t happen!” Being a big guy myself I understand how difficult, if not nearly impossible, it is to get up on a traditional wake board. In that same video I also saw an elderly grandmother get up on the board. Neither size nor upper body strength mattered. It was then I knew Glen had something special.
Glen will easily be one of my most successful clients ever when all is said and done and we are telling our stories at our retirement parties. An inventor on several patents prior to his entry into the wake board market, Glen has simply done everything right along the way. He has listened to advice and has surrounded himself with an all-star advisory group of industry insiders who are very optimistic about the likely future success. Thus, this is a story of growing success, but also one of perseverance and commitment. It illustrates the importance of moving forward with a patent position to secure rights that can be build upon, and how critical it is to surround yourself with people knowledgeable about the industry. As Glen explains below in our interview he managed to connect with several key industry leaders who helped open doors for the Zup™ and who are on his advisory board.
To all the journalists, reporters, mainstream technology and business bloggers, and other well meaning but seriously misinformed writers:
PLEASE DO NOT SPEAK ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MATTERS THAT YOU DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND!
Before you decide to bash the United States patent systemor teach Patents 101 in 300 words or less, please acknowledge your limited knowledge of the subject matter. Please tell your audience that your article is only part of a much larger story that can’t be covered in a single column or blog post. Above all, please do not encourage them to take actions that could have serious legal consequences.
You are telling an incomplete story.
What you don’t know, and what you aren’t reporting on, is an important piece that’s missing from mainstream media coverage of today’s intellectual property issues. And that is a problem.