Johnson & Johnson: Innovating Skin Care and Contact Lens

By Steve Brachmann
May 22, 2014

Johnson & Johnson headquarters in New Brunswick, NJ.

Today we are profiling Johnson & Johnson for our Companies We Follow series. Headquartered in New Brunswick, NJ, this corporation has been seeing good revenue growth, based mainly on the performance of its pharmaceutical products such as Tylenol, Zyrtec and Motrin. Recently, the company announced the construction of a new life-sciences incubator in San Francisco which can house up to 50 start-ups in the fields of oncology, neuroscience, infectious disease control and more. The company has forecasted increased overall revenues for its 2014 fiscal year, likely within 4.5 percent and 5.5. percent.

Today, we’re profiling many of the innovations developed by Johnson & Johnson in recent months. As with every Companies We Follow article, we’ve scoured the databases of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to find the most intriguing patent applications and issued patents assigned to our featured company. What we’re seeing today is a preponderance of research and development in the fields of skin and optical care.

Our featured patent application today describes a system meant to enable consumers to better find skin care products and assess the probable results of use. This Internet-based recommendation system involves multiple filtering methods for helping the system more accurately provide product recommendation based on consumer needs. We’ve also explored some intriguing innovations in contact lenses and skin care products, including multiple skin treatments for oily skin that reduce skin dehydration.

Of the many patents issued recently to Johnson & Johnson, most have been assigned to its visual care subsidiary to protect more improvements to visual aids. A trio of patents we cover today involve various contact lens upgrades, including one patent protecting a more comfortable contact lens which incorporates electronic elements. A system for detecting and treating pre-emerging pimples, as well as a one-piece housing with inserts for various personal care treatments, are also protected in other patents that we discuss below.

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Intelligent Performance-Based Product Recommendation System
U.S. Patent Application No. 20140136362

Consumers often make buying decisions regarding personal care products based on a brand’s perceived efficacy, much of which is made up of a person’s experience using a product from a particular manufacturer. Information for making buying decisions can be obtained from subjective data, such as product reviews from other customers, or objective data such as product ingredients.

Some commercially available products, like skin care ointments, may only be able to provide results after a long period of use. In these cases, it becomes difficult for an individual to properly judge the effectiveness of a product, especially if he or she doesn’t properly remember the skin condition or other issue experienced when first using the product. Whether consumers misjudge the product negatively or positively, it impacts their ability to obtain the actual product results that they want.

In January 2014, Johnson & Johnson filed this patent application with the USPTO to protect an Internet-based system for product recommendations that is designed to provide a user with more information relevant to their needs. The individualized system for product recommendation relies much more on product performance and performance-based learning techniques rather than the consumer selection patterns involving rated reviews and other aspects which might not reflect how useful a product will be to a different user.

This system of data processing involves a neural network that can create relationship models between customer descriptors that indicate the product they want and product reviews from other customers who were also searching for the same items. The system uses multiple filtering techniques, such as collaborative filtering to find products rated highly by similar users, as well as content-based filtering which only focuses on the search input that a customer submits.

As Claim 1 states, Johnson & Johnson wants the right to protect:

“A method for improving product recommendation quality, the method comprising: generating a plurality of individualized product recommendations for a given concern with an intelligent performance-based product recommendation engine; receiving feedback from a plurality of consumers on use of products to treat the concern; and re-training the product recommendation engine based on the feedback received.”

 

Other Patent Applications

From U.S. Patent Application No. 20140118683, titled “Contact Lens with Improved Fitting Characteristics.”

A developer of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, Johnson & Johnson develops a long line of consumer goods for health and cosmetics. Many popular brands are included among this company’s subsidiaries, including Tylenol, Neutrogena, Acuvue and Clean & Clear. Our recent search of J&J’s latest innovations showed us a great deal of unique inventions in the area of skin care. Skin products for stripping unwanted oil from the skin are discussed in U.S. Patent Application No. 20140134219, entitled Skin Care Compositions Containing Cotton and Citrus-Derived Materials. This composition uses cellulose particles like those found in citrus, sugar beet, mango, apple or tomato pulps to clean oil from a person’s skin without causing dehydration. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140134218, which is titled Rinse-Off Skin Care Compositions Containing Cellulosic Materials, describe a similar composition for skin care which prevents dehydration. This patent application would protect a rinse-off cleanser containing hydrophobic, linear cellulose particles along with saponified fat and surfactant cleansing agents.

One of Johnson & Johnson’s major subsidiary companies involved in intellectual property development is Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. A couple of inventions involving visual aids are featured in another couple of patent applications that we wanted to share today. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140118683, filed under the title Contact Lens with Improved Fitting Characteristics, would protect the manufacture of a novel contact lens design with an altered outer edge planarity. This system allows the creation of personalized contact lenses that provide improved vision enhancement and comfort for an individual customer. Photochromic lenses that can change color when absorbing light are described within U.S. Patent Application No. 20140098339, titled Pupil-Only Photochromic Contact Lenses Displaying Desirable Optics and Comfort. These lenses improve upon the comfort of earlier photochromic lenses which are able to confine color reactions to the central pupil region, which is cosmetically preferable for consumers.

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Issued Patents of Note

From U.S. Patent No. 8721074, titled “Electrical Interconnects in an Electronic Contact Lens.”

Although Johnson & Johnson may not produce the level of intellectual property development seen by many other of the Companies We Follow here on IPWatchdog, our recent patent search found a fair amount of inventions assigned to this corporation in recent months. Much like our latest coverage of Johnson & Johnson’s patented technologies, we’re seeing an overwhelming amount of innovation related to optical care.

The application of active electronic elements to consumer contact lenses is protected by the recently issued U.S. Patent No. 8721074, which is titled Electrical Interconnects in an Electronic Contact Lens. This invention involves electronic components implanted on the non-planar substrate of a comfortable and safe contact lens which can enhance vision or provide medical professionals with important biological data. U.S. Patent No. 8690319, issued under the title Ophthalmic Lenses for Prevention of Myopia Progression, protects a contact lens that can slow the progression of myopia. The multifocal lenses are constructed with a center for distance vision as well as other optic zones for the correction of the physical aberration of an individual consumer’s eyes. A process for creating contact lenses that more properly contour to a wearer’s eyes are the focus of U.S. Patent No. 8668331, entitled Method for Designing Non-Round Soft Contact Lenses. This non-round contact lens is designed for greater stability within a wearer’s eye when worn, helping to prevent mis-orientation of the lens during use.

We wanted to close up our discussion of J&J’s recently awarded intellectual properties with a close look at a couple of intriguing technologies that look to improve various aspects of the personal care products sold by this corporation. A process of determining that an individual will experience acne and treating it prior to breaking out is protected by U.S. Patent No. 8725236, titled Method for Demonstrating Pre-Emergent Pimples. The system utilizes an imaging system capable of detecting the presence of pre-emergent pimples and involves the application of anti-acne treatment compositions to prevent pimples from forming. Finally, U.S. Patent No. 8661650, which is titled Methods of Making an Electromechanical Personal Care Device, protects new methods of creating a personal care device comprised of a one-piece handheld housing to which unitary inserts can be attached. These inserts can be used for various personal care techniques, including exfoliation, microdermabrasion or massage.

The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a freelance journalist located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He writes about technology and innovation. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients and is available for research projects and freelance work.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

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