What we found were plenty of interesting inventions regarding consumer Internet technologies that will interest plenty of our readers, so we’ve gathered some of the best patent applications and issued patents assigned to Yahoo! by the USPTO. We start our tour today with a look at a novel system of providing map information to a mobile device user. Using spatial metadata collected from a plurality of smart and “dumb” devices, users can access this system to pull contextual map information about individual buildings. We also discuss a couple of patent applications directed towards systems of collecting contact information for a user’s profile as well as a couple of systems for mood analysis. Communication technologies are protected in a number of Yahoo! patents that we decided to look at today. These include a messaging service that incorporates online gaming activity as well as a system of better prioritizing and organizing received digital messages. We were also impressed by a couple of issued patents that protect better image recognition and news authority ranking systems.
We’re going in-depth to explore a patent application that would notify mobile device users of nearby events. These events would be collected from social media applications and filtered based on a user’s interest and proximity to the user, helping that person find interesting events that they were unaware of. Also, a couple of patent applications describe improvements to social networks available through Yahoo!, both on an individual and a group basis. The patent holdings of Yahoo! encompass a wide array of web services, especially those that are related to the website’s search engine. One recently issued patent protects a system of removing spam websites from search engine results, while another discusses a method of improving the accuracy of color-based searches. Collaboration on eBook documents and better notification systems for fantasy sports players are also on focus in a few other issued patents we’re exploring here.
This is an interesting development, and one that seems to make sense from both perspectives. When giant corporations are suing each other it is because they are in immature markets, such as we see with the enormous patent litigation surrounding various smart phones, tablet devices and the operating systems that power them. Lawsuits are the mark of an immature market because in the end no one really ever wins, that is except for the lawyers. The patent litigators make out handsomely, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. My patent attorney brethren thank you immensely I’m sure, and I am hardly going to take issue with capitalism at work. If you want to sue someone and you have the funds to hire an attorney then have at it!
With the advent and rise of the Internet, digital property rights have become an increasingly hot-topic in the Board rooms and Executive Offices of major companies, particularly those in the hi-tech industry. Much like the information protected under intellectual property rights, digital products provide their creators with certain protections under the law. The problems and legal challenges facing major companies like Yahoo and Facebook will help better define the laws surrounding digital property rights, and likely present opportunities as well as a whole host of new legal questions.
But how exactly do patents do all of these wonderful things for companies? Unlike trademarks and copyrights, patents are incredibly difficult to acquire. But a patent, once acquired, grants the holder a fairly long monopoly over their creation. No other individual or corporation can use the patent holder’s creation without negotiating a license (or some other arrangement). Thus, patent holders have a huge advantage over the competition via exclusive use or a profit from licensing. Because, the technology companies heavily market new and cutting-edge products, there is a constant need to acquire new patents to stay ahead of competitors.
The meat of the litigation revolves around patents. For decades patents have been a significant part of intellectual property law, but in recent years they have proven problematic in the development of new software and the technological innovations. Patents will now be at the heart of a cold war between two of the biggest tech companies in the world. Yahoo, which owns about 1,000 patents, is suing Facebook over 10 patent infringements ranging from Internet advertising methods and privacy controls. One of the patents is described as “optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage.” Yahoo had warned Facebook that they would sue if the social network did not agree to license the patents in question, saying that multiple other major companies had complied. Yahoo was true to their word, and called Facebook’s bluff.
Frustration with registration and login isn’t limited to mobile devices, of course. As the web has become more participatory and an integral component of our lives, the average web user has accumulated dozens of accounts at different websites — each with a distinct username and password to remember. Even more problematic, many people try to cope with this problem by recycling the same password across multiple sites, thereby jeopardizing their online security. Social login alleviates this “password fatigue” problem and offers up benefits both for online users and online businesses and other websites.
The focus of the litigation now shifts to the Patent Office. How Allen’s patent claims will fare in that forum is unknown, but certainly his odds of maximizing the monetary value of his patent portfolio are diminished. Reexamination has been ordered by the PTO for all four Allen patents, and in one (the ‘314 patent), a non-final rejection has issued. Had Allen chosen a different court and his cases not been stayed, his patents would still be in reexamination. Yet, his court trials would likely be completed before the reexaminations, with obvious advantages for him.
If the remainder of her decision is any evidence as to what she was thinking, it seems pretty clear to me that if she were forced to have addressed that issue she would have said that as a result of Twombly and Iqbal the model patent infringement complaint no longer satisfies the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. She also found unpersuasive the argument that since Twombly and Iqbal are not patent infringement cases they offer no appropriate guidance or insight.
On Friday, August 27, 2010, Interval Research Corporation brought a patent infringement lawsuit against a who’s who of tech companies in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle, specifically suing AOL, Inc., Apple, Inc., eBay, Inc., Facebook, Inc., Google Inc., Netflix, Inc., Office Depot, Inc., OfficeMax Inc., Staples, Inc., Yahoo! Inc. and YouTube, LLC.…
It is great to know that settlement has been achieved, and incredibly newsworthy to learn that the victorious party was “pleased with the outcome.” But really, sometimes I do stumble across rather interesting press releases that are newsworthy. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to write about everything I would like to. So I thought I might start a News & Notes column that collects some interesting news items that could be of interest, but which probably don’t warrant detailed treatment or analysis. With that in mind… here goes…
The victories selected represent a diverse array of wins, which a press release announcing the Top 10 list says is due to “the differing objectives of IP litigation today.” These victories range from multimillion-dollar jury verdicts, including the biggest patent award ever, which was won by Johnson & Johnson’s Centocor Ortho Biotech unit against Abbott Laboratories, to the i4i injunction win blocking the distribution of Microsoft Word editions having a popular XML feature.
On January 1, 2009, a patent application published on a Yahoo! Inc. invention related to Search Engine Optimization. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it is typically referred to, refers to actions by a web site to improve its presence and positioning for relevant search queries. With the amount of information available online being so large engaging in SEO activities to make it more…