The German-based multinational conglomerate Siemens AG is a major developer of electronics for a number of industries, including medical equipment, energy systems, consumer appliances and many diverse areas of electrical engineering. Recently, Siemens was awarded major electrical infrastructure contracts in Brazil, which will be hosting the 2014 World Cup.
As a multinational corporation, Siemens AG is a frequent applicant at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. This week’s Companies We Follow series takes a look at Siemens’ recent applications and patent awards in the fields of consumer and medical electronics. One application we feature involves a safer system of extinguishing fires within a machine dryer. Another application describes a home heat pump that would conserve thermal energy from appliance wastewater. Siemens’ medical subsidiary, Siemens Medical Solutions, has also been awarded a USPTO patent to protect a system of fixing misalignments in angiograms.
Other documents we look at feature improvements to electrical systems. Another application improves smart metering systems that have resulted in improper appliance functioning for dishwashers and washing machines. Lastly, we look at a Siemens patent that improves systems of protecting wind turbine components from lightning strikes.
When it comes to DVR, no one can argue with the convenience of being able to record your favorite shows and watch them later. But when the case of DVR patent infringement came to court, the big lesson was that “later” just isn’t going to work. Earlier this month at the Symposium of SIPO/US Bar Liaison Council with ACPAA held at Cardozo Law School, prominent figures in intellectual property law tackled strategic and ethical issues for patent attorneys in the wake of the TiVo v Echostar case. They came to the conclusion that asserting your rights early and often is the best practice for attorneys faced with injunction cases.
In TiVo v. Echostar, Echostar lost on infringement of TiVo’s patented DVR functionality. Judge Folsom issued an injunction and ordered that Echostar stop offering the service and disable all storage to and playback from the hard disk. Unfortunately for Echostar, they did not appeal the wording of the injunction and took no action against the disablement provision. Instead they designed around it by downloading new code to get the set-top box to operate in a different way, in what appeared to be a pretty clean design-around. TiVo filed a contempt motion. Echostar was sanctioned on the grounds that there were not “colorable differences” and their design-around infringed. The dissent argued that not only were there colorable differences but moreover the differences established non-infringement. After two years of back-and-forth and one too many trips to Judge Folsom, the original 70 million that Echostar had to pay for the initial infringement rose to 300 million because of Echostar doing what they thought would get them out of infringing. (Ultimately, Echostar wound up settling for 500 million.)
On June 4, 2013, President Obama announced a set of 12 initiatives – 7 proposed legislative actions and 5 executive orders – intended to address perceived problems from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs). The announcement quoted aspersions Obama had cast at PAEs earlier in the year: PAEs “don’t actually produce anything themselves;” instead their purpose is “to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.”
Obama’s action plan was heavily influenced by a report, “Patent Assertion and U.S. Innovation,” which was released by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, the National Economic Council, and the Office of Science & Technology Policy. The full text of the report can be readhere.
It is surprising that a report that was prepared by such an august and high-level set of entities could be so blatantly biased and one-sided. The body of the report slams PAEs and points to everything that’s bad about them. It creates an artificial distinction by referring to “good” patent middlemen as “patent intermediaries,” although there is no indication in the report of what are the characteristics of a good “patent intermediary” versus an evil PAE.
Interest in design patents is increasing, in part, because they can be obtained relatively inexpensively and quickly. Dennis Crouch recently reported that from 2010-2012 the majority of design patents issue within 12-months of their filing date (see “Design Patents Are Still Relatively Quick” by Dennis Crouch, Patently-O, January 21, 2012,. In addition, most design patents issue without amendment and with little or no file wrapper estoppel, potentially leading to a “cleaner” patent with potentially fewer issues to be raised in litigation that could negatively affect the scope of the patent. The number of design patent filings has increased approximately 20% since 2009 (Robert Olszewski, “State of the Technology Center,” USPTO Design Day 2013), and, with this increase it is reasonable to expect an increase in design patent enforcement.
Design patent infringement is based on a finding of “substantial similarity” between an accused design and the patented design in the eyes of an “ordinary observer”. This typically involves a more straightforward analysis than utility patent enforcement, particularly given the Federal Circuit’s warning of the dangers of reliance on a detailed verbal claim construction. SeeEgyptian Goddess, Inc. v. Swisa, Inc., 543 F.3d 665, 680 (Fed Cir. 2008) (en banc). Moreover, the potential for disgorgement of the infringer’s profit can motivate a defendant to quickly settle on reasonable terms.
The Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, WA, is a global leader in the development and delivery of computing goods and services. The corporation is a major player in technology markets all over the world, including recent forays into the emerging economies of Southeast Asia. Considered to be a leader in consumer electronics, Microsoft has also been making moves in the world of computer security, resulting in the recent breakup of a botnet hacking ringwhich is believed to have stolen $500 million from user bank accounts.
As a constant developer of new technologies, Microsoft is seen often as an assignee on a great many U.S. Patent & Trademark Office patents and applications every week. This week on Companies We Follow, IPWatchdog is taking a look at this corporation’s more intriguing patents as of late, including many of those that will affect consumer media use.
A few of the patent applications profiled here detail specific improvements to consumer entertainment, especially where movies are concerned. One application would protect a system of rendering video elements as separate from browser elements for easier user customization. Another application describes a more intuitive system of digital recording for live events. A third application in this area improves movie recommendation systems by taking contextual factors into account.
Apple Inc. of Cupertino, CA, has been a regularly featured corporation in our Companies We Follow series. The multinational corporation has been a major name in consumer electronics and computer software, owing largely to the market success of the iPad and the iPhone. Recently, Apple has been making more moves into media application development, as is suggested by recent agreements with Warner Music and others to provide streaming radio services.
This week, we’re featuring a number of interesting new patents and published applications from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that have been assigned to Apple. A few of the applications we’ve chosen to profile include more efficient systems of detecting user inputs. One application describes a system allowing devices to enter a low-power mode based on user gaze detection, conserving battery power. Another application would protect a system for better facial recognition during photo processing of image files.
Other documents assigned to Apple showcase the corporation’s focus on aiding user communication and providing a more user-intuitive device experience. One application featured here was filed to protect a system of analyzing a user’s media preferences for gaming environments, while another improves a user’s ability to share a pinned location on a map with others.
The Boeing Company is an American-based multinational developer and manufacturer of defense and aerospace technology. Long renowned for being a commercial jet designer, the Chicago-based corporation is also heavily involved in the military aircraft, computer systems and munitions industries. Recently, the first major purchase of Boeing’s newest commercial airliner, the 787 Dreamliner, by Singapore Airlines has bolstered the company’s outlook after the jumbo jet liner was plagued with engineering issues over the past year.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is often publishing applications and awarding patents to Boeing for their technological developments for aircraft. This week on IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we take a look at some of Boeing’s most intriguing recent patents and applications. Two patent applications would protect safer on-board plane mechanisms for jam-proof mechanical wing assemblies and leak-proof cryogenic fuel tanks.
Other applications showcase Boeing’s focus on passenger safety. One application released recently describes Boeing’s development of an air filtering system that is responsive to the presence of airborne contagions. Another application describes a sensor system that can provide accurate readings of runway conditions, scanning for potholes or other surface degradation.
General Electric Company, headquartered in Fairfield, CT, is a renowned international conglomerate that is involved with many industries, including energy generation and technology infrastructure. General Electric has been a large player in the wind energy generation industry in the past few years, and IPWatchdog recently profiled this in the Earth Day version of our Companies We Follow column. Recently, news reports have indicated that GE plans to become even more involved in the oil and gas industry, especially with fracking technologies.
The company’s robust research and development is often the subject of patents and patent applications published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. This week, we profile some of General Electric’s most intriguing patent applications, especially those that pertain to smarter electrical and fuel systems.
One application describes a system of using devices to communicate fluctuating electricity costs in the case of a smart electrical grid. Another application would protect a system of monitoring travel conditions that affect fuel efficiency on trains. A third application we cover here describes improvements to wet gas compressors to reduce erosion within the compressor.
Google, Inc., of Mountain View, CA, develops Internet-based products, like its renowned Google Internet search engine and Gmail, an e-mail application, among many others. Google.com is one of the world’s most widely accessed websites every day. Recent corporate moves, including the announcement of Google’s partnership with NASA for the development of quantum computing, have widened the scope of the company’s future.
This week at IPWatchdog, we want to take a look at the Internet and computer technology developer’s recent published documents released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As the developer of the Android mobile device software, Google is heavily involved with mobile device and digital media systems development. Two recent patent applications filed by Google would protect different innovations for Internet audio systems, including a user-responsive start page for a music library and a system of allowing multiple users to rate tracks on a playlist to adjust playback.
Google is also focused on improving online search methods, as is evidenced by another patent application for a system of searching social media pages for individuals or groups. And another final patent application would protect a more secure system of offering digital media excerpts to potential customers which would prevent stealing.
A patent recently awarded by the USPTO to Google that caught our eye also protects another new search system that would provide for logo recognition.
Cisco Systems, Inc., headquartered in San Jose, CA, is a developer and manufacturer of Internet networking technologies, typically for business and corporate solutions. Recently, Cisco has been getting involved with cloud-based applications and services for Internet connectivity. Corporate actions in past weeks, including their acquisition of Ubiquisys, a developer of small-cell technologies for intelligent 3G mobile network connections, is evidence of this new focus.
This week in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we take a closer look at the Internet networking hardware developer’s recent innovations. Video conferencing has been a topic of interest for Cisco’s research and development teams, as two U.S. Patent & Trademark Office patent documents describe. One document, a patent application would protect a simpler system of establishing video conferencing connection. An US patent gives Cisco the right to protect a system of gauging member participation levels to make sure meeting members are paying attention.
Business marketing is a big topic in the digital world, and another Cisco patent application seeks to utilize a wide scope of user social interactions to build consumer profiles for smarter advertising. Other patent applications would protect systems of attaching metadata to media sessions for creating a diagnostic session log, and another protects methods of storing Bluetooth connections for quicker device authentication in call center systems.
Research In Motion Limited of Waterloo in Canada’s Ontario province has been a beleaguered brand in recent years. RIM’s flagship product, the BlackBerry, was a dominant mobile phone early in the 2000s, but advances to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android system earned both of those manufacturers a greater share of the market. Recently, RIM has been redeveloping its line of products and seeking new markets, especially with the company’s recent unveiling of the Q5, a low-cost device running the BlackBerry 10 operating system that will be available in Latin America, Asia and other emerging markets.
As a developer of mobile communication technologies, RIM is a common name each week at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. IPWatchdog is giving the creator of the BlackBerry a close look this week, covering some of the most interesting USPTO patent applications and patent awards published this month for the company.
Research In Motion’s development of better mobile devices is on display in a number of intriguing documents. One application released recently outlines RIM’s development of a mobile device with a flexible display that can be bent up to 180 degrees. Another patent application discusses new tunable capacitors using microwaves for better radio impedance matching. An official patent awarded to the company this week protects an accelerometer component that improves list scrolling within applications.
RIM is also focused on computer systems design providing user feedback. Two applications that give us a closer look at this research and development involve a custom system of building user word lists for predictive text models, as well as location-specific search engines parameters that a user can set manually.
Since its inception in 2007, Intellectual Property Exchange International, Inc. (IPXI) has positioned itself as a market-based alternative to the current bilateral and litigation models for licensing and investing in intellectual property. Now, the world’s first financial exchange for licensing and trading IP rights has grown from a concept to a reality, with real investors, members and offerings for listing on the Exchange. IPXI is funded by strategic investors which include the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), the world’s largest options exchange, and Koninklijke Philips N.V. (Philips), the world leader in healthcare, lifestyle and lighting. In addition, IPXI has grown its membership to more than 50 organizations, including major IP owners such as Philips, Ford, Hewlett-Packard, Panasonic, Columbia Technology Ventures, Sony, the Regents of the University of California and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N. A.
Today, IPXI is announcing a signature event to begin marketing the first Unit License Right™ (ULR™) contract offering to be listed on the Exchange. This first-of-its-kind offering will enable operating companies, investors and other market participants to buy and sell ULR contracts covering a portfolio of more than 600 assets, including 225 granted patents worldwide, related to organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology for display screen applications. The portfolio is the result of nearly 20 years of research in the field by Koninklijke Philips N.V. (Philips), the global leader in health care, lifestyle and lighting. IPXI will conduct two public web-based presentations, the first of which will be on June 5, 2013, at 10 a.m. CT, that will unveil the OLED ULR contract offering, present important offering details and mark the start of the marketing campaign for the ULR contracts. Those interested in participating in the webinar can register here. Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions and comments prior to the webinar at email@example.com and during the webinar through the webinar platform, which will be addressed as time permits following the presentation.
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. The treatise is continuously updated to address relevant Federal Circuit and Supreme Court decision impacting patent drafting.
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