Prototype integrates six displays
Nokia recently submitted a patent filing for a smartwatch concept that features modular display components. The application describes a wearable device with up to six displays, each capable of showing separate content as the band is rotated around the wrist.
Geolocation used to improve service
Apple is currently seeking patent protection for technology that is designed to improve speech recognition through location awareness. A Thursday filing titled "Automatic input signal recognition using location based language modeling." describes a system that automatically associates voice input with location-specific language models and geographic information such as nearby businesses and street names.
Google patent application details GPS-based camera settings
Google has filed a patent application with the USPTO for using a GPS to alter the settings on a camera. The abstract in the filing suggests that a weather report based on a specific physical location could give the camera important data to optimize its settings for a photograph or video recording, such as how much ambient light there is to work with, reports Engadget. While it is possible that the method may not make its way into digital cameras, it is possible it could appear in a Google-produced handset, like the X Phone, in the future.
Localizing feedback, distinct cooling system among innovations
A clever way of making sure haptic vibratory feedback is restricted to a specific area, the overall design of the Retina MacBook Pro and the structure-strengthening design of the RMBP's vents have all been given patent protection by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The latter patent complements one already awarded earlier for the asymmetrical fans used in the RMBP to suppress fan noise, while the haptic feedback patent hints at future changes for iOS devices.
Mode automatically reduces screen contents, brightness
Microsoft has filed a patent application for a mode that will make a smartphone less obtrusive in certain situations. The application for "Inconspicuous Mode," filed in July 2011, would reduce the amount of information on screen, as well as lowering sound volumes and altering other phone settings, depending on the environment the phone finds itself in.
Universal connector described matches Lightning
Apple has filed a patent covering the technology behind its Lightning connector cables. The patent is titled "Universal Connector," and it purports to describe "circuits, methods, and apparatus that limit the number of types of connectors needed by an electronic device." The technology is aimed at reducing "the number and types of connector receptacles needed on an electronic device."
Technology similar to optical mice adapted for use in gloves
Google has been granted a patent from the USPTO for glove-based gesture control. Patent number 8,248,364, entitled "Seeing With Your Hand", uses a hand-mounted sensor that records the environment through a detector and can work out what motion occurred. In theory, this would allow for gesture controls on surfaces that do not have a touchscreen.
Flawed patent uses combination of speed and captcha
Research In Motion has been granted a patent to help prevent texting while driving. Approved by the USPTO, the patent halts the creation of outbound messages when it is in motion in a certain range of speed, preventing drivers from being distracted by responding to incoming messages, albeit with a minor flaw.
Concepts based on the technology offered to Real Steel producers
HP has been granted a patent for a see-through display, opening up more possibilities for augmented reality computing. Originally filed in 2006 with the USPTO, the patent describes a way for people to see both an image on-screen and whatever lies behind the monitor itself, using a system of light-reflective slats on a transparent panel, according to the BBC.
USPTO 'ex parte' requests all made last week, involved in current suits
Three anonymous ex parte requests challenging the validity of noteworthy patents held by two tech giants were filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office last week. Two were filed against Apple, while a third challenged a Facebook patent. One was filed versus Apple's patent numbered 7,479,949 for touchscreen interfacing. The second against Apple was patent 7,469,381 in regards to document presentation on a touchscreen display. Facebook's patent involves a dynamic news feed about a user of a social network. The instigators of all three complaints are unknown.
Google patent application suggests ring-based control to Project Glass
Google has applied for a patent on an input system that relies on a finger ring to control for technology such as Project Glass. The application, made public by the USPTO on Tuesday, describes a “wearable marker for passive interaction” in the form of a ring, artificial fingernails or other wearable items that could interact with a head-mounted display, following another recent application for the glasses design.
Zelda creator behing latest Nintendo patent
A newly discovered USPTO patent from Nintendo reveals the video game hardware and software maker may be working on a new tourist-guiding system. Thought up by Shigeru Miyamoto of Legend of Zelda fame, the patent talks about tracking users carrying a portable game console, a DS Lite in this case, by way of overhead infrared transmitters. The console would then communicate with a server that would light up signs built into the building to guide the user.
Future Apple touchscreens may form shapes, textures
A newly-discovered USPTO patent from Apple reveals some interesting technology that could grace future iPhones and iPads. Unlike some of the company's older haptic feedback patents, this one takes things a little further by introducing variable textures and other feedback translating to a user's finger. The patent, called Methods and Systems for Providing Haptic Control, talks of a stacked haptic element set-up.
User following engine patent application surfaces
A patent application from Microsoft for customizing a search engine's results has been made public by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The application from 2010 appears to describe a “user-following engine” which monitors the user and people they follow on social networks, altering the experience and results based on user interests, characteristics and mood.
Patent awarded to Nintendo for gameboy emulation
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently awarded Nintendo patent number 8,157,654 for emulating older handheld consoles. Specifically, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance handhelds are targeted for emulation on external "low capability" computing devices such as airline seat-back displays. It's not immediately apparent what Nintendo plans on doing now that the patent has been awarded.
Names could end up on future Android phones
Samsung has filed trademark applications for three more Galaxy device with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Named in the filings were the Galaxy Lift, Galaxy Perx, and Galaxy Sire. As is often the case in its trademark applications, Samsung provided no details about the devices other than they fell under the "Mobile telephones; Smartphones" classification.
Future Apple packaging may have sensors?
A new US patent from Apple suggests the iPhone maker wants to rethink the way products are packaged. Hardly an indication of a product due to ship anytime soon, the patent describes an "electrical trace" molded into or printed onto the packaging. The so-called "active electronic media device packaging" will also require at least one method of wireless power transmission to light up the package.
Filing with USPTO foretell dual-core phone
Last summer, leaks and images of a higher-end dual-core processor Sony phone, the Xperia Duo emerged. At the time, the phone was reported to be on its way for released September, but that did not happen. Recently, however Sony applied for a trademark with the USPTO for the Duo name, hinting that the smartphone could become a reality in the not to distant future.
Tech allows viewer to focus beyond glasses
Microsoft has filed a patent application for a "laser-scanning virtual image display," which is described as a compact display system that can be built into glasses, helmets or goggles. Head-mounted displays are not new, however the patent application describes a method for projector-based presentation rather than placing a small LCD panel directly in front of each eye.
Technology creates tactile ringtones on the skin
Nokia has applied for a US patent that lets a user feel who's calling. The technology can be used in a skin patch adhered to a person's arm or embedded into a tattoo. When called, the system vibrates and uses haptic feedback to indicate whether its an incoming call rather than a text message, or even to identify who is calling.
Nokia patented slide to unlock on iPhone launch
A just-published but long in the making Nokia patent filing has revealed that Nokia has been working on a slide-to-unlock patent of its own. The approach would have users slide an icon on the screen to 'uncover' app icons. By then moving to an unlock area, users would have a two-stage unlock that could launch any app accessible from the home screen.
Creates image on changeable wrap-around film layer
Samsung has applied for a patent with the USPTO for a flexible image display technology. Using it, an individual could easily create a 'skin' on a smartphone or tablet that could change the appearance of the device on demand. Although it might have uses elsewhere, Samsung has specifically limited the scope of its patent application to mobile devices.
Bending/folding displays could hit future devices
Samsung has applied for several patents with the USPTO involving flexible display technology. Using the technology, the company could possible create new designs for smartphones, wearable displays or large-size pull out screens. As often the case with patent applications, there is no certainty as to whether this specific technology will end up in any actual product.
Apple patent would have iTunes-based NFC wallet
A newly granted USPTO patent has lent credence to notions that Apple is looking to implement NFC in iOS. The technique describes a way to define how a payment is made when an iPhone with an NFC chip is brought up to a terminal to pay. It would set rules for the deal, such as payment limits, requiring permission for specific vendors in their online and offline modes, and adding restrictions for buying alcohol or other kinds of goods.
Google patent details gesture-based web searches
Google has filed a new patent with the USPTO that relates to touchscreen-based web searches on mobile devices. Rather than copying and pasting some text into a search engine, the tech will initiate Google web searches when users draw a lower-case 'g' on the screen and then continue on to circle the text or image they want to learn more about. The patent also makes mention of searching other sources such as Yahoo or Wikipedia by tracing the shape of the letter 's' on the screen.
No indication if/when phones will hit market
Samsung has submitted applications for trademarks for four mobile phones with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The company is trying to protect the names Awaken, Axiom, Heir and Rite. Filing for a trademark is a preemptive move, and is no guaranty that phones carrying any of those names will actually make it to the market.
Google tries for Android unlock by voice, icons
Google is now known to have been actively seeking patents on unlock techniques that would help avoid the legal clashes with Apple that have hurt Motorola and others. The patent filing for an "Input to Locked Computing Device" includes multiple possible techniques to get access to an Android phone. One of the core techniques would be a reverse of the ring unlock technique in HTC's Sense 3.0: users would drag an app icon to a screen area that then launches the app.
Application initially submitted in 2010
Sony has filed a patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a tablet-like game controller. The Position-Dependent Gaming, 3D Controller, and Handheld as a Remote in many ways conceptually resembles Nintendo's
Wii U's tablet-like game controller. Sony actually began the application process for the technology in July 2010, almost a year before Nintendo showed the system.
Apple gets closer to using macroscalar name
Apple late last week quietly filed for a US trademark that shows it possibly getting closer to having its own chip architecture. After having slowly filed trademarks in countries outside the US, such as Trinidad and Tobago, the joint USPTO and Hong Kong application caught by Patently Apple suggests that Apple has been continuing development on a project it could be willing to show soon. Mentions of work had started as early as 2004.
USPTO rules last of 3 core Rambus patents invalid
Rambus' litigation campaign suffered a possibly fatal setback Friday after the USPTO pushed word that it had invalidated the final patent out of three the company has been using to sue a large part of the technology industry. Having quietly made the decision on Tuesday, the patent office's appeals board left Rambus without any of the patents it has been using to sue NVIDIA, Hynix, HP, and others. The first two had been scrapped in September.
Another patent may hint at a quiet acquisition
Apple has been awarded a patent for its implementation of Siri, crediting original Siri inventor Thomas Gruber and others with the technology, which covers both its original format and its current Apple-enhanced incarnation. The company was also granted two patents related to battery technology, including a certification on non-rectangular battery shapes that may herald future devices. There's also a hint that Apple has quietly bought another company.
52 patents published in the last week alone
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued some 52 patents to Apple in the course of the last seven days, including 22 awarded on January 10th, an additional eight awarded on the 12th and a further 22 patents today. One of the most interesting is a "smart garment" patent that may foretell an expansion of the Nike+iPod line, along with a patent that hints at a future Apple TV. Others of note include a longer "trackbar" for notebooks with secondary zones, and what may end up being another Apple attempt at a headset for the iPhone.
USPTO gives Google a break on key patent
The US Patent and Trademark Office gave Google a rare break late last week in further scaling back Oracle's limited patent claims in a lawsuit over Android's code. A total of 17 of the 21 claims of the patent were rejected, including one claim that Oracle had been leveling against Google. Oracle has until February 20 to challenge the rejection.
Google patents its own Android unlocking gesture
Google has followed Apple's footsteps in getting a patent at the USPTO for the unlocking gesture for touchscreen smartphones running its Android operating system. While Apple has patented a slide to unlock gesture, Google uses a more involved pattern. The patent is called Touch Gesture Actions From A Device's Lock Screen.
Steve Jobs credited as one of the designers
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent for the striking exterior of Apple's Upper West Side store in New York City, just over a year after the patent was first filed. The patent recognizes the unique design of the store, and credits the late Steve Jobs as one of the designers. The Upper West Side store, not to be confused with the iconic glass "cube" of the Fifth Avenue store, features a large glass storefront, along with a curved glass atrium-style roof.
Apple multi-touch may be victim of its own success
Apple was handed a rare loss with the US Patent & Trademark Office in a refusal to grant the company a trademark on the term "Multi-touch" in a decision reached by the Appeals Board on September 23rd, upholding the initial refusal earlier this year, reports MacRumors. Perhaps ironically, both the initial decision and the appeal based their refusal on the widespread adoption of the term throughout the industry -- an adoption Apple itself fostered with its early success.
Unmeasured costs could be much higher
Three Boston University researchers have put a price tag on the cost of patent trolling in the US. The amount is a staggering $500 billion since 1990. In the past four years, the cost has averaged about $83 billion annually, amounting to more than 25 percent of US R&D spent over the time period.
Laws expected to mitigate patent trolling
After passing a Senate vote by a margin of 89-9, the America Invents Act has become law after receiving a signature from President Obama. The legislation is hailed as the first major reform of the patent system in decades, bringing a wide range of changes, including a first-to-file system, that have been commonplace in many other countries for years.
Lex Machina shows patent lawsuits spiking
Patent lawsuit analyst group Lex Machina has published a study showing a huge spike in patent lawsuits, especially in mobile, in the past few years. Since 2006, the number of mobile-focused patent lawsuits filed has gone up 25 percent every year. As of August this year, eight percent, or 24, of the 294 patent lawsuits filed in the month related to smartphones or similar technology.
Senate clears America Invents Act
The US Senate passed in an 89 to 9 vote a bill originally put through Congress that could theoretically curb patent troll lawsuits. It will let the USPTO get more control over its fees and reduce the instances of its budget being diverted somewhere else. The bi-partisan vote was made with the hope of recruiting more examiners and modernizing equipment, both to speed up the process and to prevent overly broad patents from slipping through and being used to sue for dubious reasons.
Early stage in releasing new smartphone or tablet
HTC has filed for trademark protection for two names with the USPTO. The company submitted two applications each for Enamor and Rhyme. If granted, the names could be used on either a mobile phone or tablet, HTC said in its categorizations.
Google asks USPTO to invalidate Lodsys patents
Google has at last taken steps to try and protect Android developers from the wide-ranging Lodsys lawsuit, the company's general counsel Kent Walker stated Saturday. The company has asked the USPTO to reexamine the validity of two patents for in-app purchases that "should never have been issued," according to Walker. The approach described to Wired would either narrow the scope of the complaints or invalidate the patents entirely, likely forcing Lodsys to either limit the reach of lawsuits or toss them out entirely.
NTP gets USPTO review of patents in key cases
Patent licensing house NTP on Monday won a ruling (below) that would give it a chance at continuing its wireless e-mail patent lawsuits against several major companies. The Washington, DC Federal Court of Appeals said the US Patent and Trademark Office should review the validity of seven of the eight patents in the cases, which targeted Apple, Google, Microsoft, and major US carriers, among others. Officials decided that interpretations might be too broad.
Apple patent details physical gestures for inputs
Another Apple patent filing with the USPTO has surfaced, this one titled Intuitive, Gesture-based Communications with Physics Metaphors. It details using physical gesture that are similar to real-world actions to communicate between devices. Specifically, the concept tackles file storage and transfer commands.
Apple, Google want Interval patents reviewed first
Apple and Google in a court filing on Wednesday argued that a freeze on Interval's lawsuit should continue. The two wanted no further developments until the USPTO determined whether or not Interval's patents were completely original or if some or all of the patents might have been preceded by earlier works. Judge Pechman had been concerned that the definition of the patents, if upheld, could change the nature of any trial.
Legislation aims to reduce application backlog
The US House of Representatives is considering new legislation that aims to reform current laws surrounding the patent system. The proposals, which are included in the America Invents Act, are designed to reduce the backlog in patent applications, bring the United States' filing methods in line with those of other countries, and help discourage patent trolls from taking advantage of the current laws to abuse the system.
Four more patents still subject to review
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) dealt Oracle another blow in its legal battle with Google over Java use the Android OS. Oracle has asked the USPTO to reexamine seven patents, that the company holds regarding Java, and verify their validity. The patent office has ruled that 17 out of 21 claims in one patent are not enforceable.
T-Mobile SnapPad trademark and domain appear
T-Mobile has signaled plans for another tablet in its mix with registrations for a name in less than a week. Both a USPTO trademark for "SnapPad" and several domain name registrations, such as SnapPad.biz and multiple variants such as T-MobileSnapPad.com and .net. The trademark only indicates that it's for "tablet computers."
Microsoft wields Amazon store vs Apple trademark
Microsoft in a response to the USPTO (below) on Tuesday cited the just launched Amazon Appstore as evidence that Apple couldn't maintain "app store" as a trademark. It used the launch last Tuesday as evidence that there was a "competitive need" from companies to use the concept of an app store generically. About 17 stores were already using it where Apple had claimed that use beyond its own shop was virtually non-existent, Microsoft said, and those that hadn't had primarily been intimidated into avoiding the name.
Apple lawsuit hits Amazon over App Store name
A court revealed on Monday that Apple had sued Amazon for allegedly infringing on a trademark with the Amazon Appstore. The iPhone maker claimed that the start of developer support for the Android shop was a misuse of the App Store name. Apple said it had asked Amazon three times to stop using the name without a "substantive response" before turning to the lawsuit.