We found a couple of patent applications involving technologies which present topics of interest to computing device users, including methods for activity planning to see a concert or an event. Another patent application describes a method of providing insight from local experts about an unknown destination. We were also intrigued by a method of presenting digital advertisements to individuals which is designed to encourage retail sales at brick and mortar stores. Google has a very strong patent portfolio and we share a few of its more intriguing recently patented technologies below. A couple of patents regard improvements to digital keyboards used by touch devices, including a keyboard interface that adjusts to minimize typing errors. A couple of other patents relate to improvements to user interfaces, and we explore one patent aimed at reducing latency when loading applications with multiple windows. A couple of other patents relate to improved methods of providing news content to individuals.
To a large extent Apple, Microsoft and many other Silicon Valley innovators went along with the anti-patent rhetoric perfected by the Google machine. The Silicon Valley elite who have been bemoaning the patent system and patent trolls succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, convincing everyone of problems that don’t exist. So successful has this misinformation campaign been that now patents owned by everyone in the high-tech sector are at least worth less, if not completely worthless. By taking a short-sighted view of the litigation problems they were facing they took direct aim on the patent system, their own patent portfolios and the essence of their competitive advantage. Institutional shareholders in any company that has lobbied for patent weakening policies and court rulings should be appalled and may well want to seek out attorneys specializing in shareholder lawsuits.
All of this can really be traced all the way back to the flash of creative genius test by the Supreme Court, which Congress specifically outlawed in the 1952 Patent Act. It is no doubt making a resurgence under slightly different terminology, but make no mistake — Judges are making subjective decisions about innovations in a way that is remarkable similar to how the flash of creative genius test was applied. But today the problem is not only all of the aforementioned, misguided beliefs, but rather we have a general problem with ignorance. It is self evident to anyone who cares to be honest and objective that it takes time and money to innovate; innovation does not simply fall out of the sky or invent itself.
We have thoroughly destroyed the manufacturing capabilities of the United States and in the process decimated middle class America. The Supreme Court is forcing an anti-patent agenda on the courts, which makes it increasingly difficult climate for those in the biotechnology and software industries, two industries that employ large number of Americans and provide extremely high paying jobs. Companies are also simultaneously fleeing the U.S. for corporate tax purposes and/or refusing to repatriate trillions of dollars earned over seas else it would be taxed once again by the IRS. In short, we are shooting ourselves in the foot over and over again, then taking the time to thoughtfully reload and recommence shooting in said foot. There is no real reason for optimism given the political climate in DC and the reality that innovative advances that are now stalled in the patent system have historically carried us out of recessions and onward to prosperity; something that just won’t happen given the current manufacturing, patent and tax policies and laws.
A specialized type of content management system for brokering knowledge between experts and individuals who need various kinds of technical help is the focus of today’s featured patent application. Google is trying to protect a system for requesting know-how from an expert in return for virtual credits. Other patent applications have been filed to protect systems for better ranking of news stories as well as methods for providing contextual definitions of selected text within a document. Google is one of America’s top patent assignees over the past few years, and in recent weeks the company has been issued patents for technologies ranging from music recommendation services to routing systems incorporation public transit options. We were very intrigued by one patent protecting a method of providing advertisements to local devices seeking to drive those browsing the Internet into actual retail stores. Another patent protects methods of applying more relevant ads to web pages using content inferences made from analysis of links contained on the web page.
The halls of the USPTO are largely populated by Google’s recent innovations, as this corporation will regularly receive upwards of 50 patents or more each week…. The featured patent application for today highlights a novel system of using mobile devices to improve something millions of Americans do every day: order out for food. This Internet-based system of ordering enables more precise delivery, better estimation of arrival times as well as secure payments for food and other items. We also profile some patent applications pertaining to speech recognition technologies and online searches for flight itineraries. Google has one of the strongest patent portfolios among American technological firms, and we’ve uncovered a list of recently issued patents from the USPTO that improve the user experience for online and mobile technologies. We discuss three patents that protect new ways of interacting with a smartphone through novel gestures, including a system that can convert words from an image into digital text. We also look into a patent that protects new methods of ranking news stories online for the Google News reader.
A federal jury in the Eastern District of Texas returned a verdict on Saturday, January 18, 2014, following a week-long trial presided over by the Honorable Rodney Gilstrap, that found that Google infringed SimpleAir’s U.S. Patent No. 7,035,914. The services accused of infringing the ‘914 patent were the Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) and Android Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) services. Those services are used by Google to process and send instant notifications for Android applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail. The damages issue will be decided by a separate jury in a second trial limited to the issue of damages. SimpleAir has announced that they will seek damages in excess of $125 million for Google’s infringement in the damages retrial.
This is likely a signal of more patent infringement lawsuits yet to come in the growing patent battle by proxy between Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Samsung, HTC (TPE: 2498) and the companies behind Rockstar, which is a group created by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), BlackBerry Ltd.(NASDAQ: BBRY), Ericsson AB and Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) to acquire patents from Nortel Networks Corp. in 2011.
Frankly, the term patent troll has evolved to mean nothing more than this: You are a patent owner who is suing me. Essentially, whether one is a patent troll is in the eye of the beholder. If I’m on the receiving end of a patent lawsuit then you are a patent troll, regardless of whether you are an innovator, regardless of whether you are an operating company, regardless of how you acquired the patents. But why then isn’t Google rightfully considered a patent troll… Lets be clear, acquiring patents, in and of itself, cannot make you a patent troll, period! To the extent Google is properly characterized as an adjudicated patent troll it is because they engaged in abusive behavior. As Mueller explained: “found to have breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing flowing from Motorola’s FRAND licensing pledges to standard-setting organizations.” It is bad action that makes one a patent troll, nothing else…
Even as more of us are becoming acquainted with the idea of the cloud, many of us are still woefully ignorant of what the term actually means. For example, a survey by cloud software developer Citrix Systems showed that 54 percent of respondents did not believe that they used cloud-based computing, even though 95 percent of them actually did. Almost as many respondents confused the cloud metaphor, believing that stormy weather could actually interfere with cloud systems. Cloud computing is set to take a much more prominent role in our technologically savvy society. Providing advanced computing applications through networking channels severely reduces the IT needs of homes and businesses who want to use more powerful software programs without installing them on a client computer. With more than $131 billion in economic activity for the cloud computing sector in 2013, more business infrastructure and software services should be taking to the cloud than ever before.
So can we stop pretending that Google isn’t like every other user of the patent system? They are not Snow White. They are not the Mother Teresa of patents. Google seeks broad, sometimes nearly ridiculously broad, patent claims must like everyone else. Yet to listen to them they would have you, and Members of Congress and the media, believe that they are the only altruistic actor and impartial voice in the patent debate. They criticize other companies, but their own practices are no different. I have no problem with Google seeking this or any other patent, but can we stop pretending that Google is somehow different than other technology companies and a true defender of a patent-less world? They pursue patents of all varieties that they think they can obtain, including patents on an electronic skin tattoo capable of being applied to the throat region of the body of a wearer.
We profile one patent application that seeks to converge content from social networks with the news feed that a person sees when browsing a news aggregator service. Google wants to patent a system that analyzes a user’s social media feeds to pull up relevant media or comments that may enhance the value of browsing through news stories. Other patent applications protect better routing systems, both for public transportation as well as personal vehicles, and one discusses an interesting system of providing instant text translations between two foreign parties on one tablet computer. In the section regarding the patents issued recently to Google, we’ve found a few interesting improvements to online digital technologies, especially those meant to help digital rights owners and legal teams. One patent protects a system of identifying a copyrighted composition by analyzing the melody of a live recording, while another provides a more cost-effective process of electronic discovery of legal documents. More routing services are protected by other Google patents that we discuss here, showing Google is actively seeking to expand its holdings in online mapping applications.
Tech sector giants have been crying and moaning about how the patent system has run amok and needs to be scaled back, and continually beg for patent reform that would gut the patent system and weaken patent rights… Even mighty Microsoft couldn’t maintain their monopoly, and only the foolish would anticipate Google, Facebook and other tech giants to be on top indefinitely. That isn’t how the tech sector works, or is intended to work. But if a vibrant, robust and strong patent system is not there for start-ups today they will never become the giant, innovation shifting, growth companies of the future. That would be terrible for the economy, lead to stagnant innovation and guarantee that slothful, giant companies that have lost the ability to innovate would remain dominant rather than going the way of the dinosaur.
Notwithstanding Google’s Jekyll and Hyde approach to patents, Figure 14 together with the associated textual discussion is extremely interesting because it shows rather conclusively that “software” isn’t really all that “soft.” Even many so-called math experts and mathematicians refuse to acknowledge what is really happening on the basic level within a computer when “soft”—ware is being used, instead preferring to pretend that it has to do with basic math rather than manipulation of logic gates and switches. We can complain and lament their lack of understanding if it makes us feel better, but in the meantime we need to realize that their ignorance with respect to what is really occurring is having an enormously negative impact on the future of software patentability.
A few of the patent applications from Google we’re looking at today focus on improvements to mobile devices of various kinds. One patent application would protect a system of improving security measures for a portable device based on the device’s actual location. Another application would aid the image capture process on a mobile device based on the user’s field of vision. Other patent documents we feature discuss improvements created by applied computer analysis of various network data. One patent application filed by Google would allow users to monetize pictures that they share on social networks. We also explore a patent application that gives advertisers better insight into the demographics of a certain television show’s audience. But the reference that was by far the most eye-catching was an issued patent that gives Google the right to protect a system of paying tax for the recipient of a gift card, instead of that tax being applied to the recipient’s purchases.