Canon’s immense amount of activity in the world of U.S. patents makes them a great business to feature in our Companies We Follow series here on IPWatchdog. As always, we scan the recent publications of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, including both patent applications and issued patents, to share our favorite collection of inventions from each corporation we profile. In our new format, we’re able to delve deeply into Canon’s most recent innovations, which represent a great deal of research and development in medical imaging, business administration, photography and videography.
The patent applications we discuss today feature a wide range of video technologies, including one patent application which would protect the real-time application of graphics commands for instantaneous video editing. Printing technologies are also discussed, including one method of improving color analysis during printing to provide feedback about printer operations. We also discuss a trio of patent applications directed at photoacoustic imaging inventions, including two which are specifically developed for the diagnostic imaging of tumors.
Issued patents are the true measure of any company’s intellectual property strength, and Canon’s patenting activities are among the strongest of any corporation operating in today’s world. Digital camera innovations are protected in a couple of patents we explore, including a flash device camera accessory which offers a much longer service life than previous models. We noticed an interesting foray into the world of business documentation services, including one method for allowing multiple clients to interact with a document without being required to install a reader application.
Canon’s Recent Innovations: From Video Editing to Medical Imaging
Patent applications published by the USPTO always give us a good idea of the most recent innovations that have been developed by the corporations covered in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series. Canon is responsible for much of the global development in imaging and optical technologies, and we found a couple of patent applications filed to protect improved devices in these fields. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140199085, which is titled Image Forming Apparatus and Colorimetric Apparatus, would protect a printing apparatus which contains a colorimetric unit and a recording material; the colorimetric unit is designed to measure colors printed by the apparatus and provide feedback to the printer pertaining to image forming conditions. This apparatus is designed so that less contamination from paper dust or other environmental pollutants is able to affect the operation of the colorimetric sensor. A unique video editing technology may also be protected for Canon through the filing of U.S. Patent Application No. 20140198115, entitled Image Processing Apparatus and Control Method Thereof. This patent application would protect an apparatus with a graphics drawing command and further processing features which allow for the real time editing of moving graphics, including superimposition or resolution-conversion techniques.
Canon is also a major developer of medical technologies, and we found a trio of inventions involving photoacoustic technologies, or technologies which can measure electromagnetic energy through acoustic detection, which may have applications in healthcare. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140196544, filed under the title Object Information Acquiring Apparatus, expresses improvements to medical devices used for photoimaging of cancerous tumors within the body through photoacoustic techniques. The device discussed within this patent would be able to provide more precise feedback on oxygen saturation levels within the body, an important indicator which can differentiate a malignant tumor from a benign tumor. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140194724, which is titled Photoacoustic Measuring Apparatus, is directed at a photoacoustic technology designed for use in mammography procedures used to detect breast tumors. The apparatus discussed within this patent application would be better capable of uniformly irradiate the surface of a living body for more accurate photoacoustic measurements.
Medical applications are also discussed for the photoacoustic innovation described within U.S. Patent Application No. 20140192828, entitled Tunable Laser and Photoacoustic Device Including the Same. This tunable laser-emitting device can provide photoacoustic analysis while reducing the cost of the components involved in the device, including birefringent plates.
We were intrigued with the applications of one Canon innovation which may signal the company’s intentions of competing in electronics markets in developing countries. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140198337, which is titled Power Supply Apparatus and Image Forming Apparatus, would protect a power supply for an image forming apparatus which better compensates for electrical grid issues which are prevalent in nations with developing infrastructures. This power supply has been designed with overvoltage protection that protects electronic components from damaging surges in electrical voltage caused by poor electrical grid management.
We also noticed one Canon patent application filed with the USPTO which discusses an ink which can create images which can achieve incredible characteristics. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140192111, titled Ink, Ink Jet, and Ink Jet Recording Method, would protect an ink for ink jet printers which includes a pigment comprised of a phosphonic acid. This ink can create images which are resistant to color bleeding and white blur effects, have excellent optical density and provide resistance against sticking to the recording head.
Issued Patents of Note: Better Digital Cameras and Business Documentation
Although issued patents are typically examined by USPTO employees for a year or a period of years before being granted, making them a little less representative of a company’s latest developments, we always make sure to cover any intriguing additions to a company’s patent portfolio here on IPWatchdog. Canon is a giant in the world of intellectual property, having earned the 3rd-most U.S. patent grants among any patenting entities in 2013 with a total of 3,285 patents that year. Digital camera professionals and hobbyists may be intrigued to learn about a bevy of upgrades to video and image capture systems developed by Canon. We also profile a couple of patents designed to improve business documentation processes.
The improvement of electronic tools for providing sharper camera focus was featured in a number of patents which we explored today. U.S. Patent No. 8780251, which is titled Image Capture with Focus Adjustment, protects an image capture device capable of collecting near-field light information through optical tools. This system allows a digital imaging apparatus to create sharper images which includes image analysis of directional lighting distribution and other factors that can reduce the fuzziness of images. An improved flash drive accessory for digital cameras was also recently protected for the company through U.S. Patent No. 8781315, titled Camera Accessory Device That is Removably Attached to Camera-Side Accessory Shoe. This accessory device is capable of making an electrical connection with a camera which does not scratch the accessory shoe through repetitious connection of the accessory, which can cause the electrical contacts to fail.
Interestingly, we found a much wider amount of patented inventions which relate to the field of video imaging and display. An automated switch function for sharing video from a camera to a display is protected through the recently issued U.S. Patent No. 8780274, entitled Display Apparatus, Control Method for Display Apparatus, and Computer Program. This patent covers a display technique which can present a video on a display over a wireless interface in a way that reflects a user’s intention without the user having to manually make the display switch. A video display technology that improves on inconsistencies in choosing a proper video resolution for a display is protected through U.S. Patent No. 8780270, titled Video Display Apparatus, Video Output Apparatus, Control Methods Thereof, and Video Display System. This patent protects a video display apparatus with a transmitting unit which can inform the display which resolution to choose compatible with the number of pixels in the video signal. We also saw a novel method for the reduction in the deterioration of correction precision video capture devices laid out in U.S. Patent No. 8780228, which is titled Image Capture Apparatus and Control Method Thereof. This technology improves the performance of line-sequential scanning image sensors in a lens and prevents against aberrations and incorrect image density gradients, which reduce image quality.
Finally, we wanted to explore a couple of innovations which caught our eyes during our most recent foray into Canon’s patented technologies; these include some interesting business solutions which should aid in tracking important documentation. U.S. Patent No. 8782517, entitled Document Management System and Document Management Method Which Enables a Document Operating Using a Short Cut Template, protects a client device connected to a document management server and a method designed to aid in the management of documents among multiple client devices. This invention is directed at helping users more readily find a document through a search query on a document server even if another user may have changed a filename or some other preferences. Streamlining of the workflow necessary to approve a business form may be available to Canon’s business clients, as expressed in U.S. Patent No. 8782747, issued under the title Information Processing Apparatus and Information Processing Method. This allows important authentic steps in business form approval, such as drafting, approval and settlement, to be managed by multiple client devices without requiring a form reading application to be installed on each separate device.