Items tagged with Patent

Just in time for the gift-giving season, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted two patents to Apple - one of which was filed way back in 2008. The first patent is number 8,614,693, titled "Touch and hover signal drift compensation". While its name is pretty self-explanatory, the technology behind it is anything but. The ultimate idea here is that a display, either on a phone or some other device, could detect when a finger is hovering over the device, either as an action itself, or as a preface to tapping on something. With something like this, there are an enormous amount of... Read more...
Beware, wait staffs everywhere--part of your job is about to be obviated by Google. Of course, it’s an annoying part of your job--the one where you have to split up a bill for a group of patrons. Indeed, six Googlers have filed a patent for a “computer-implemented method” (presumably an Android app of some sort) for dividing up group expenses, such as a restaurant bill. The abstract of the patent filing is the best part, as only a skilled attorney could summarize such a simple idea thusly: A group including plurality of users is established. A transaction record is maintained... Read more...
The last thing that would ever come to mind when thinking of "sports" is "Google", but with a newly-granted patent, it looks as though the company hopes to change that. Filed in March of 2007, Google's patent looks to improve how sports fans deal with team information online. After perusing the entire mind-numbing patent, I can't say with absolute certainty exactly what Google plans to do with it, but chances are, the company's keeping things vague on purpose. What I gained from reading through the patent is that Google has plans to release a sports feature that ties in with a social network -... Read more...
Back in May, the US Patent and Trademark Office approved an interesting Apple patent, one that will allow (if Apple does in fact implement it, which is likely) the iPhone to automatically adjust its volume based on its proximity to your face. There are many reasons why that could prove to be a useful feature, and it's now become clear that Apple had no intention of stopping there with this basic premise. Today, we can see that Apple had actually applied for a similar patent mere months before the aforementioned one was approved; this time, it involves earbuds. According to the patent, volume would... Read more...
When it comes to Street View, Google has created something special. The company has provided ground-level imagery of highways and byways across a huge portion of the motorized world, enabling anyone with a Web browser and an Internet connection to see what the locals see while driving. It's an impressive feat, and a daunting task to map out. But in some areas, Google has longed to provide Street View imagery in places where motorcars aren't allowed. For those scenarios, it has used a backpack-type apparatus that straps onto a human test subject. At the top is an array of cameras and a logging device,... Read more...
Do you have a fair bit of "sway" among your group of colleagues? Do you have hundreds or even thousands of "followers" on various social networks? Are you the CEO, founder or Senior Editor of your organization? If so, Yahoo! has devised a way to target you with higher-priced advertising. Don't you feel special? Filed in late 2011 but finally published just this week, Yahoo!'s patent could scan social networks and other locations to give you an "authority" score - the higher it is, the higher the price advertisers will have to potentially pay to target you. A CEO of a company may be targeted with... Read more...
Imagine whipping out your Android phone and getting past the lock screen by making a funny face rather than connecting a series of dots with your finger. Facial recognition is the key to making that happen, and it appears Google is on it, as evidenced by the fact that it filed a patent for detecting facial gestures when determining whether or not to deny authentication to a computing device. It's true that a similar technology already exists in Android 4.1/4.2 Jelly Bean, which has users blink to unlock the device. The problem there is that it's relatively easy to thwart by taking an image of the... Read more...
TiVo has won more than its share of patent disputes pertaining to its DVR technology over the last few years, winning settlements from AT&T ($215 million), Dish Network and EchoStar ($500 million total), and Verizon ($250.4 million). The latest companies to lose against TiVo are Cisco and Google-owned Motorola Mobility. (Motorola made lots of set-top boxes for the likes of Time Warner Cable.) According to BusinessWeek, Cisco and Google (which inherited Motorola’s legal troubles when it bought the company) will have to fork over a combined total of $490 million to TiVo, with Cisco being... Read more...
Flexible, bendable display technology spend a lot of time in the headlines these days, and even Apple is getting swept by the fad, though not in the traditional sense. Rather than focus on display technologies that can fold, roll, or wrap around an object, one of Apple's newest patents is for a flex screen feature with force detection that it wants to tie directly to an application, such as GarageBand. Patently Apple discovered the interesting patent application, which if granted and built upon, would eventually allow users to, say, press piano keys harder or softer depending on the sound they're... Read more...
Apple has made its bed, and now it’s lying it in. The bed in this case is the decision to compete in the marketplace through litigation, particularly as it pertains to patent violations. Since heading down that path, Apple has certainly won some major victories, but it has also spent a huge amount of resources in the courts instead of, for example, on R&D. According to FOSS Patents, Apple has amended one of its lawsuits to add the Samsung Galaxy S4; essentially, Apple views the S4 as more of the same in terms of Samsung devices that infringe on five of its patents, including those related... Read more...
Battery technology is one of the things holding back further innovation in the mobile space; batteries have certainly improved over the last few years, but they can barely keep pace with the power demands of increasingly power mobile devices. For example, many people can’t make it through a whole day with their smartphones or tablets without having to plug them in. Further, for as small as batteries have become, they still hog an unfortunate amount of space inside a mobile device chassis. Apple is looking to address that issue somewhat by filing for a patent for a curved battery designed... Read more...
Even though Google is a bastion of open source technologies (a statement some may disagree with), the company holds a king’s ransom in patents, and therefore, the power to sue the bejesus out of other people and companies should it see fit. (The search giant also has the deep pockets necessary to outlast most anyone in a patent dispute.) Hoarding patents has become something of an arms race, with many companies acquiring patents defensively in the event that another entity decides to try and sue them. Today, Google announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge, which is designed to... Read more...
Speaking of Apple getting sued by people, it appears as though THX Ltd., which was founded by none other than George Lucas, is bringing a lawsuit against Apple for allegedly violating a 2008 patent for narrow profile speaker technology. The offending devices in which Apple used the technology include a big chunk of its product lineup, including iPhones (iPhone 4 and later), iPads, and iMacs. The patent description of the technology reads in part, “A narrow profile speaker unit comprises at least one speaker outputting sound towards an internal surface and through a duct with an output terminus,... Read more...
From the "About Time" files comes a new bill that's aimed at protecting companies from one of their biggest fears: patent trolls. Called the "SHIELD Act of 2013" (no, not this SHIELD, but rather "Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes"), this bill would require those accusing of patent infringement to handle the legal fees of the defendants should they lose the court battle. Inside the bill is the definition of a "non-practicing entity", which could be applied to the accuser if they are A) not the original inventor of the patent and B) have not made any real contribution to make... Read more...
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