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.
In a few weeks the United States Supreme Court will hold oral arguments in Alice v. CLS Bank. At stake in this case is the future of software patents. Half of the Federal Circuit de facto ruled that software is patent ineligible. Of course they could not come right out and say that because it would contradict both settled Supreme Court precedent and patent laws enacted by Congress and codified in Title 35 of the United States Code. Nevertheless, the undeniable position of half of the Federal Circuit was that software is not patent eligible because to these Judges none of the claiming techniques that are used to write software patent claims result in patent eligible subject matter being claimed.
In preparation for the oral arguments we are shifting through the briefs. I have already written about the IBM brief, see Supreme Court “Abstract Idea Doctrine” is Unworkable. We plan multiple articles leading up to the oral argument that discusses the various briefs filed, and complete coverage of the oral arguments. Today, however, I write about the brief of the United States Government filed by the Solicitor General, which is simply disingenuous.
Truthfully, to call the Solicitor’s brief disingenuous is being charitable. The logic, if you can call it that, necessary for the Solicitor’s arguments to be correct is extraordinarily tortured, not to mention circular and dependent upon itself for support. The premise of the argument made by the Government is simply false. The Solicitor tells the Supreme Court that the patent claims in question are to an abstract idea, which is flat wrong. But in a bizarre twist the Solicitor pivots to then say that what is covered is not an abstract idea but it is not necessary for there to be an abstract idea protected in order for the claim to be patent ineligible as an abstract idea. Sadly, I’m not making this up.
Almost a quarter of all European patent filings originate from the US
US patent filings in Europe grew by 2.8% to highest figure ever
General Electric and Qualcomm biggest patent filers from the US
US companies strongest in medical technology and IT sector
EPO President Benoît Battistelli: “Europe is a premier hub of innovation.”
Brussels, 6 March 2014 – Patent filings at the European Patent Office (EPO) hit a new record in 2013, with applications coming from the US growing by 2.8% (2012: +5.1%). Last year US companies deposited 64 967, or 24.5%, of all European patent filings (2012: 63 198), which confirms the US as the No. 1 among all countries at the EPO, ahead of Japan (52 437; +1.2%) and Germany (32 022, -5.4%). It is the highest number of patents ever filed by US companies within one year at the EPO.
In the last decade, European patent filings originating in the US grew an average 2.2% per year. Since 2004 the number of US patent filings in Europe has risen by more than 20%.
Headquartered in Benton Charter Township, MI, the Whirlpool Corporation is a major American manufacturer whose appliance products can be seen in homes across the nation. It is the largest appliance manufacturer in the world, although some recent reports indicate that intense competition from firms abroad check this corporation’s progress in that regard. Whirlpool has been considering whether or not to file trade complaints against foreign firms selling unfairly priced goods in America, according to this article from The Wall Street Journal.
Green and sustainable technologies for home appliances continue to be a major focus for the Whirlpool Corporation’s research and development activities. In today’s Companies We Follow column, we’re strolling through the databases of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to give you the scoop on the latest improvements to the world’s consumer appliances, including those that relate to energy conservation and increased efficiency.
Today, we start off by looking at a patent application that would protect a system that could improve energy efficiency overall for appliances within a home. This type of smart metering system would take into account environmental factors, like temperature, that could affect the functioning ability of an appliance. Also, we saw some inventions related to better gas pressure calibration for cooking ranges, as well as one patent application describing a dishwasher capable of producing ozone gas for increased sanitation.
The USPTO announces two public hearings in March 2014 to receive feedback about proposed rules concerning the ownership of patents and applications (aka “attributable ownership proposed rules”). The public is invited to attend the hearings in person or via Webcast. Additionally, the public is invited to give testimony in person at the hearings and/or to submit written comments about the proposed rules. The deadline for requesting to give testimony has been extended to Wednesday, March 12, 2014, and the deadline for submitting written comments has been extended until Thursday, April 24, 2014.
The attributable ownership proposed rules require that the attributable owner, including the ultimate parent entity, be identified during the pendency of a patent application and at specified times during the life of a patent. More details about the attributable ownership proposed rules are available here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-01-24/pdf/2014-01195.pdf
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking to hire patent examiners for the Denver Satellite Office. There are openings currently for patent examiners with a computer engineering background, patent examiners with an electrical engineering background and patent examiners with a mechanical engineering background. For more information see USAjobs.gov.
On Friday March 7, 2014 and Saturday March 8, 2014, the USPTO will host a career fair at the Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center downtown at 650 15th Street. The Office will hold ongoing information sessions and then meet with individuals who meet the basic Patent Examiner position requirements. Those who qualify will be encouraged to apply via USAJobs. Candidates cannot be officially considered for open positions without submitting a complete application.
Those wishing to attend the March 7 or March 8 career fair should register in advance because space is limited, particularly for the direct informational meetings with USPTO personnel. Walk-ins will be allowed to participate if space is available. To register CLICK HERE.
This month’s column is based on my remarks to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) at their annual meeting in San Francisco.
First of all, congratulations! You made TheWashington Post and they even spelled your name correctly. Unfortunately, AUTM was specifically called out in an article titled Patent Trolls Have a Surprising Ally: Universities.The name of another article appearing at the same time Patenting University Research Has Been a Dismal Failure, Enabling Patent Trolls: It’s Time to Stop while long winded speaks for itself. And two innocuous sounding reports from the Brookings Institution Building an Innovation Based Economy and University Start-Ups: Critical for Tech Transfer say that Congress should amend the Bayh-Dole Act to give the federal government control over whether you can grant exclusive licenses, that you have been unsuccessful as most technology transfer offices are not self-supporting, that your business orientation conflicts with the mission of a university and your alleged model of “licensing to the highest bidder” has failed. The New York Times accurately summarized the intended message in its headline Patenting Their Discoveries Does Not Pay Off for Most Universities.
For a profession that keeps a low profile and goes out of its way not to antagonize people, you may wonder what in the world’s going on that you are gaining such notoriety. The answer is that you are in the sights of several groups who do not wish you well. Some want to weaken the patent system for their short term benefit, some believe society would be better off if inventions were freely available without patents; some don’t think it’s moral for universities to work with industry, and others believe they should determine who reaps the rewards of innovation. While operating on diverse belief systems, they all have one thing in common: they don’t like you.
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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