The patent filing activities of eBay are fairly active, the company placing 149th overall in 2014 in terms of patents earned from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with 236 patents in that year, an increase of 15.1 percent over the previous year. So far through 2015, eBay has only earned 106 U.S. patents… In one recently published patent application, eBay is seeking a patent on an interactive fitting room experience at physical retail establishment locations. It claims a system comprising an interface module that displays a user interface, a camera configured to produce an image feed of an individual wearing the garment, a polling module that selects a target audience to poll for feedback related to the image where the target audience is selected based on the use case information and an interface module that displays a feedback interface comprising the feedback data. This system operates through an interactive mirror installed in a fitting room and presents an image for polling to social network contacts or to an anonymous audience.
A digital receipt innovation designed to help Walmart employees conduct better in-store audits after customer checkouts to reduce theft is discussed within U.S. Patent No. 9165276, titled Locating and Organizing Digital Receipt Data for Use in In-Store Audits. It claims a method for reordering digital receipt data for use in an in-store audit involving receiving digital receipt data for a sales transaction conducted at a point-of-sale (POS) system in a store location, generating a digital receipt for the sales transaction including an entry for each purchased item, receiving an indication that the sales transaction will be audited in a store location, referring to audit rules defining an audit priority for each purchased item, reordering the receipt entries of the digital receipt based on the defined audit priority and sending the reordered receipt entries to an auditor mobile device in the store location. This invention intends to improve upon the marginal success in stopping store theft achieved by in-store auditors by presenting auditors with a priority list of which items are most important to audit.
EMV utilizes a computer chip implanted into a card to interact with a card reader at the point-of-sale in retail establishments. The technology is much more secure than typical magnetic stripes as the chip encrypts financial payment data multiple times which communicating with a terminal. Financial services providers all over the world will be replacing magnetic stripe cards with EMV cards to prevent cyber attacks at terminals to stem the growing tide of cyber attacks which had been greatly hurting banks. Following up our recent EMV coverage we took a look at EMV related patents, finding that Mastercard has a dominant position in this field with 25 patents, almost a quarter of all patents related to EMV payments issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Following up behind Mastercard is Japan-based SMK Corporation and Intellectual Ventures Management of Bellevue, WA.
From tech developers trying to take a stand against tech-savvy terrorists to a pair of highly anticipated initial public offerings of stock for tech start-ups, there’s been plenty of news to cover in recent days. We also take a little time to explore research at an American university which has led to the world’s first-ever “freeze ray” laser technology.
As card-present transactions become less susceptible to fraud because of the shift to EMV chip card technologies, it’s expected that more fraud will shift to online platforms where it’s still relatively easy to input fraudulent financial information without being noticed; some reports indicate that online retail fraud in the U.S. alone is expected to rise by 106 percent in three years after October’s EMV liability shift from banks to business owners. One way that businesses conducting sales online can get themselves ready to respond quickly to fraud is through effective planning prior to major sales events like Black Friday or, perhaps more important when thinking about e-commerce, Cyber Monday. If those workers handling fulfillment of online orders are more aware of expected sales projections, it will help them be more aware of clues that the business might be a target for fraud if actual sales figures differ wildly.
A report issued in March of this year found that a full 45 percent of the 119 million people listening to online radio services were tuning into Pandora’s service. Pandora also had the greatest brand awareness, registering with 75 percent of survey respondents. The study also found that 73 percent of people accessing online streaming music services did so through their smartphones. However, in terms of paid subscribers, Pandora has to cede that crown to Spotify, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. In late October, the Spotify app became the top grossing app downloaded from the iPhone App Store. Of Spotify’s 60 million streaming music users, 25 percent of those users pay for the premium music subscription, gaining its 15 millionth paid subscriber just as the 2015 calendar year started. As of March 2014, Pandora only had 3.3 million paid subscribers in its total registered user base of 250 million people.
Retailers always top the list of seasonal and holiday hiring sprees but one of the largest employer of seasonal workers the past few years doesn’t own a single brick-and-mortar retail establishment. That would be e-commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) of Seattle, WA. In 2014, the Internet retailer announced that it would hire 80,000 seasonal workers during last year’s holiday season. In 2015, Amazon has upped that number to 100,000 workers that it plans to employ on at least a temporary basis. This makes Amazon the single largest employer of seasonal workers during 2015, ahead of United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) and its 95,000 holiday hires.
By the end of 2015, about 40% of all credit and debit card transactions will use EMV cards. To process payments on EMV cards, businesses must upgrade to new card processing or point-of-sale technologies.
At the end of October, the FTC again made a push on Capitol Hill for stronger data privacy standards, this time dealing specifically with the idea of connected cars. In prepared testimony for the hearing, entitled Examining Ways to Improve Vehicle and Roadway Safety, the commission brought up concerns it had with certain provisions of rules currently being drafted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which will require auto manufacturers to outfit their cars with vehicle-to-vehicle communications units in an effort to improve safety on America’s roads. The testimony was presented by Maneesha Mithal, an associate director of the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, during an October 21st hearing of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.
The Internet of Things has been lauded as a potential boon for crop production, including pest control. Automated IoT pest control systems have been developed by Spensa of West Lafayette, IN. Its Z-Trap unit is specifically designed for apple orchards to detect the levels of codling moths, one of the more common North American pests for apple trees. Z-Traps can be monitored remotely from a computer, Android or iPhone. This technology is also being developed to detect for Oriental fruit flies and obliquebanded leafrollers. Pest monitoring systems like this enable farmers to more effectively apply pesticides and hopefully reduce the amount of pesticide used on plants.
The Consultation is part of the Commission’s assessment of the role of online platforms, promised in its Communication on a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe (DSM) dated 6 May 2015. The Consultation covers a range of topics, including several controversial issues concerning transparency of online platforms and the proper extent of the hosting defence under the E-Commerce Directive. Interested parties have until around the end of December 2015 to respond (the exact closing date has not yet been published).
Law firms are coming under growing scrutiny for a lack of effort in addressing hacking concerns or even coming clean with the threats which they have faced. A cybersecurity report released in February of this year by Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) lambasted law firms for being at high risk for cyber intrusions while the industry standard for cybersecurity remains much lower than for other industries. Law firms who deal with incredibly valuable intellectual properties should be acutely aware of the risks that they face from hackers, especially those from overseas. Patented technologies have been the target of international hackers in recent months. Just this May, the U.S. Justice Department charged six Chinese nationals with stealing IP related to wireless technologies developed by a couple of American companies.
Social media has been getting a lot more serious about the business of breaking news to a massive online readership. In the middle of September, Facebook launched a new service called Signal which provides a platform for the discovery and curation of news content in a way that helps journalists see which items are trending. For Google in particular, the news content sector of the Internet is likely one where it hopes to challenge Facebook more vigorously. In July, Facebook pulled ahead of Google as a source of news content for readers obtaining their news online.
Samsung’s smart television technologies, which utilize an IP address to provide additional content to complement typical broadcast television, will get a boost from the innovation described within U.S. Patent No. 9124931, entitled Managing a TV Application for Over-The-Top TV. It discloses a method of displaying content on a television by dynamically determining whether an input source for a TV is set to a virtual input source, validating viewer account credentials, executing a TV application that enables over-the-top (OTT) TV video content delivery using an Internet connection, dynamically displaying content from a last-selected channel or service, enabling normal TV operations including changing channels and automatically the TV application enabling OTT TV video content delivery for the last-selected service when the TV is turned on. This invention enables an Internet television owner to quickly return to the OTT service application, like Netflix or Hulu, which an owner was last watching without having to wait for the app to load.
Territoriality has been a difficult aspect of public international law to apply to the Internet and information technology sectors. It’s a central aspect of the current flap between Google and CNIL, which wants Google to remove listings purged under the right to be forgotten from its main Google.com domain, which Google sees as its American property. Another issue discussed at the conference include the need to finalize safe harbor privacy principles which would establish rules for U.S. or European Union businesses which store customer data, bridging the gap between differences in data privacy standards in the two jurisdictions.