United States Patent and Trademark Office Stories March 9, 2015

Former Google executive Michelle Lee to become head of U.S. Patent Office

According to a new report out of Reuters, former Google executive Michelle Lee will become the head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The position, the U.S. Senate says, has been vacant for more than two years. President Barack Obama was responsible for choosing Michelle Lee to head the patent office, with his choice also having been recently approved by the full Senate.

United States Patent and Trademark Office Stories December 18, 2013

Google increases commitment to defending open-source software projects from patent trolls

Google’s Open Source Blog advises that Google has moved from an associate to a full board member of the Open Invention Network, an organisation designed to cross-licence Linux patents to reduce the risk of being sued by patent trolls.

Open-source software like Linux has spurred huge innovation in cloud computing, the mobile web, and the Internet in general. Linux now powers nearly all the world’s supercomputers, runs the International Space Station, and forms the core of Android. But as open source has proliferated, so have the threats against it, particularly using patents. That’s why we’re expanding our participation in Open Invention Network (OIN), becoming the organization’s first new full board member since 2007.

Companies that join the network are guaranteed protection from being sued by other members, provided that they make the same promise. Google will now sit alongside IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony on the board.

Google’s former head of patents, Michelle Lee, was recently named as the new interim head of the US Patent & Trademark Office, promising faster processing of applications and ‘higher quality’ patents – diplomatic language for greater barriers to patent trolls.

United States Patent and Trademark Office Stories December 12, 2013

Google’s former head of patents Michelle Lee has been named as the interim head of the USPTO, starting work there on 13th January, reports Yahoo! Finance.

Although technically Lee is deputy director, the agency hasn’t had a director since David Kappos left back in February, meaning that Lee will be running the show for the immediate future at least.

The appointment is an interesting choice given Google’s vocal criticism of patent trolls …  expand full story

United States Patent and Trademark Office Stories October 23, 2012

Apple’s rubber banding patent used in Samsung trial declared invalid

A report from FossPatents today (via MacRumors) covering a Samsung filing with U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh shows the United States Patent and Trademark Office has declared 20 claims related to Apple’s rubber-banding patent invalid. One of the claims was even used against Samsung as part of Apple’s $1 billion victory in a California court in August:

While this non-final decision is not binding, there is a possibility that Judge Koh will be persuaded by this to grant Samsung’s Rule 50 (“overrule-the-jury”) motion to the extent it relates to the ‘381 patent. Even if Judge Koh is hesitant to overrule the jury on this and skeptical of a non-final action, the reexamination process will continue during the Federal Circuit appellate proceedings, so if the non-final findings concerning claim 19 are affirmed in subsequent Office actions, they will have more weight. And even after the appeals process, a subsequent final rejection of the relevant patent claim would make the patent unenforceable going forward.

The report noted an anonymous third-party challenged the validity of the patent earlier this year requesting a reexamination (Google looks up into space, begins whistling):

In late May, Scott Daniels, the author of the WHDA Reexamination Alert blog, discovered some new anonymous attacks on this patent and another famous Apple patent. I reported and commented on these findings. At the time I already listed the prior art references on which that ex parte reexamination request was based.

United States Patent and Trademark Office Stories October 3, 2012

Another day, another patent filing. Better yet—another watch patent.

Between the Pebble, Sony, Nike, and even Apple’s spin on the wearable Nano, there are plenty of smart watches going around these days. Google—however—wants to kick it up a notch. A new patent surfaced recently that depicts a Mountain View-branded wristwatch with Google Glass-like capabilities.

The timepiece, according to design filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, features a transparent display that doubles as a second screen when flipped up from the base. The displays give access to Google apps, such as Gmail and Maps, and they provide real-time data for directions, notifications, products, etc.

Yes, this also means Google would have another platform for serving up ads. Enter the Google Glass similarities. The patent filing indicated the smart watch could track users’ surroundings, and it would then offer related products, points of interest, information, or practically anything else aggregated and related to the watch’s GPS coordinates.

expand full story

Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

United States Patent and Trademark Office Stories July 13, 2012

Today, Patent Bolt covered a newly published Google patent application that details what appears to be a hybrid notebook/tablet design. We noted recently it would not be too shocking to see more Google-made hardware following the company jumping into end-to-end manufacturing of its new U.S.-made Nexus Q hardware. With that in mind, it is certainly interesting to see innovative notebook designs are at least being conceptualized at Google.

As noted in the report, aspects of the patent application cover a notebook device with virtual keyboard and trackpad in place of a traditional physical keyboard. While the patent covers a wide variety of possible configurations, some highlights include: expand full story

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