At the center of each lawsuit is the assertion of a single patent covering personal data collection technology integrated into a series of smartwatches. The patent-in-suit asserted by Sportsbrain against each of these defendants is U.S. Patent No. 7,454,002, titled Integrating Personal Data Capturing Functionality into a Portable Computing Device and a Wireless Communication Device and issued to Sportbrain in November 2008… Each of the suits filed by Sportsbrain identifies a specific product and companion apps which work in tandem to collect personal data and provide feedback to wearers.
Disruptive innovation, like what we are seeing in the health care industry, often causes disruption elsewhere, and the legal landscape is no exception. The life cycle of digital health products and services — from conception to promotion — presents a unique set of legal challenges, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the matrix of issues facing these products. As a lawyer, these are the kind of projects that remind us of law school exams — lots of issues and, often, no clearly defined answers or solutions… This article explores some of those tools and why one might choose to pursue one or, in the more probable case, some combination of them.
While the Snapdragon Wear 2100 was designed mainly for smartwatch devices, the company has more recently unveiled a new semiconductor chip product for targeted-purpose wearables. The Snapdragon Wear 1100, announced in late May, has an even smaller form factor than the Wear 2100, coming in at 79 mm2 as compared to the 100 mm2 size of Qualcomm’s flagship wearable processor. The Wear 1100 syncs with the GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and Galileo satellite constellations for highly accurate location tracking. Qualcomm suggests that the processor is well suited for devices with more targeted functionality than smartwatches, such as location trackers for the young and elderly, fitness trackers, smart headsets and other wearable accessories.
In 2015, Samsung took home the second-greatest number of patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with 5,072 U.S. patents, which trailed only perennial patent giant IBM (NYSE:IBM) in terms of patents earned last year. That amount represents a slight uptick for Samsung from 2014, when the company took in 4,936 U.S. patents. Through the first month and a half of 2016, Samsung has earned 955 U.S. patents, a torrid pace of innovation that would easily eclipse Samsung’s 2015 patent totals if this pace holds. The patent portfolio analysis tools available through Innography show us that these recently issued patents are focused fairly evenly in the sectors of semiconductor devices, electronic devices, control units, memory devices and display units.
If the allegations in the Valencell complaint against Apple proves to be true, the dispute between Valencell and Apple yet another example of a small company that was lead astray by a larger company pretending to want to license their technology only to get a better look so they could shamelessly copy without regard to whether they infringed any existing patents. Indeed, the complaint says that would be in keeping with Apple’s long standing policy, quoting Steve Jobs as having said that Apple has “always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” See Complaint paragraph 14.
On November 2, 2015, San Francisco-based Fitbit Inc. filed a Section 337 complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against AliphCom (d/b/a Jawbone) and BodyMedia, Inc. (Investigation No. ITC-337-3096). In a parallel proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Case No. 1:15-CV-00990, Fitbit alleged infringement of three patents assigned to Fitbit—namely, U.S. Patent Nos. 8,920,332 (titled Wearable Heart Rate Monitor); 8,868,377 (titled Portable Monitoring Devices and Methods of Operating Same); and 9,089,760 (titled System and Method for Activating a Device Based on a Record of Physical Activity). According to the district court complaint, Jawbone’s products associated with components of its UP series of trackers indirectly infringe the patents-at-issue. Fitbit hopes that it will be successful in preventing the import and sale in America of wearable activity tracking devices sold by Jawbone by requesting the ITC to issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order.
Innovation in the automotive sector was a huge story, both for the types of technologies being developed and the companies pursuing the R&D in that field. Drones and robotics also played a role in other top patent applications which we’re profiling today. Rounding out our list of top 2015 innovations includes an emotion analysis system for financial security, wireless charging schemes, low-power communications for wearable devices and a greenhouse window that can generate electricity while improving crop yield.
Many of the patents we noticed in our recent survey of BofA technologies are related to enhanced security methods for financial transactions, such as the innovation protected by U.S. Patent No. 9218596, entitled Method and Apparatus for Providing Real Time Mutable Credit Card Information. It discloses a smartcard apparatus having a microprocessor chip, a button, a dynamic transaction authorization number and a Bluetooth low energy device (BLE) that works to transmit an instruction to a smartphone for a request for a dynamic transaction authorization number when the button is depressed and receive the number from the smartphone; the smartcard further has a battery and a dynamic magnetic strip comprising a digital representation of the dynamic authorization number. This technology is designed to enhance security measures in smartcards having magnetic strips without requiring a banking institution to issue new cards. Enhanced security for banking transactions taking place on cloud infrastructures is featured within U.S. Patent No. 9184918, entitled Trusted Hardware for Attesting to Authenticity in a Cloud Environment. I
Sony is one of the giants of the patenting world and in 2014, it placed 4th among all companies receiving patent grants from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, earning 3,214 U.S. patents that year. This was despite the fact that Sony was only one of two members of the top 10 who received fewer patents in 2014 than it did in 2013. The patent portfolio analysis tools at Innography are showing us that Sony has earned 2,489 U.S. patents so far in 2015, so it’s likely that Sony’s 2015 patent totals will dip again. According to 2015 patent data, much of Sony’s research and development has focused on processing of information and images, along with control units and solid state imaging. head mounted displaySony’s focus on developing head-mounted devices for virtual reality systems has resulted in a couple of recently issued patents…
Technology is in a constant state of evolution, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is no exception. The top five emerging markets for the IoT – medical, fitness wearables, industrial, automotive, and smart homes – are driven by patented IP, much of which is being applied in IoT inventions. The patents for the five technology areas of the IoT – Things, networking, computing and storage, services and analytics – differ in content and maturity. The bottom line is that the technologies at the beginning of this system, Things, and at the end of this system, analytics, are the newest. The technologies in between, networking, computing and storage, and services, are established, but will evolve and scale for IoT. It is in these “in between” areas that we see the most dominance of mature companies.
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.
Microsoft is often found soaring high atop the intellectual property world in terms of the patents it’s issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In 2014, the company was 5th overall in the world for U.S. patent grants with 2,983 patents that year, a 6 percent increase from the previous year’s totals. In the three months leading up to this writing, Microsoft has earned 597 U.S. patents, a slow quarterly pace compared to last year but still one that would likely put the company in the top 10 most innovative organizations this year.
In 2014, Samsung Electronics was second overall among companies receiving U.S. patents with approximately 13.5 patents every day over the course of a year. While much of Samsung’s recently acquired portfolio relates to semiconductor and memory devices, they are also a big player in wearable technologies. In fact, Samsung is the top filer of patent applications related to wearable technologies, accounting for about four percent of the 41,301 patents making up the wearables field according to a study by Lux Research of Boston, MA.
The next few months will be important ones for the coming smartwatch revolution. April 24th marks the date that the first Apple Watches will be available for retail sale in America and Apple expects to sell up to 4 million units of the product by the end of June. The arrival of the Apple Watch should be a sizable step forward in terms of state-of-the-art technologies for the smart watch, but it will be impossible to declare a victor until after Samsung has had a chance to release its next-generation digital timepiece, but it will be interesting to watch them duke it out this year.
Google’s self-driving car development has advanced so far beyond what our country’s laws are currently able to regulate that the technology has hit some legal stumbling blocks. As a result, Google has been focusing recently Google First Quarter 2015 Text Clusteron inventing pedestrian safety systems to be incorporated with its self-driving car, even receiving a patent for an airbag that would protect pedestrians in a collision. The company even has its focus on surgical robotics, recently announcing a partnership with Johnson & Johnson to develop surgical robots that would assist human surgeons.