August 29, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Google Inc. was issued a patent on Tuesday covering technology allowing for automatic recognition of large objects in videos without any need for a user’s assistance, pointing the way to possible new online video applications on YouTube or elsewhere.

U.S. Patent Number 8,254,699, titled “Automatic large scale video object recognition,” involves an object recognition system that performs a number of rounds of dimensionality reduction and consistency learning on visual content items such as videos and still images. This results in a set of “feature vectors” that accurately predict the presence of a visual object represented by a given name within a visual content item.

The feature vectors are stored in association with the object name which they represent and with an indication of the number of rounds of dimensionality reduction and consistency learning that produced them. Consistency learning involves comparing a feature vector to other feature vectors, such as those for the same object name, and those for different object names, and calculating a score based on the comparisons.

The feature vectors and the indication can be used for various purposes, such as quickly determining a visual content item containing a visual representation of a given object name, according to the patent description.

“Currently, automated recognition within a digital video of images of real-world objects of interest to a user, such as people, animals, automobiles, consumer products, buildings, and the like, is a difficult problem,” the patent description says. “The use of unsupervised learning techniques, in which the explicit input of human operators is not required to learn to recognize objects, has not yet been achieved for large-scale image recognition systems.”

“Conventional systems rely on direct human input to provide object exemplars explicitly labeled as representing the object, such as a set of images known to include, for example, dogs, based on prior human examination,” the patent description says. “However, such human input is expensive, time-consuming, and cannot scale up to handle very large data sets comprising hundreds of thousands of objects and millions of images.”

This is particularly a problem in the context of video hosting systems, such as Google Video or YouTube, in which users submit millions of videos, each containing numerous distinct visual objects over the length of the video, according to the patent.

Inventors Ming Zhao of San Jose, California and Jay Yagnik of Mountain View, California filed the application for the patent in February 2009.

August 27, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Friday issued a mixed ruling upholding a $100 million damage award against Verizon Communications Inc. in a patent dispute with ActiveVideo Networks Inc. over video on demand technology.

ActiveVideo asserted U.S. Patent Numbers 5,550,578, 6,205,582, 6,034,678, and 6,100,883 against Verizon at trial, alleging that Verizon’s video on demand feature of the Verizon FiOS-TV system infringed.

The ’578, ’678, and ’883 patents share a common specification and generally disclose and claim interactive television systems and methods for delivering interactive television to subscribers, according to the Federal Circuit.

The ’582 patent generally discloses an interactive television system where the headend processing center includes a frame server component and a plurality of individually assignable processors, which communicate with assigned home interface controllers.

Verizon asserted counterclaims that ActiveVideo infringed U.S. Patent Numbers 6,169,542 and 7,561,214, as well as U.S. Patent Number 6,381,748, which was held invalid by the district court prior to trial. The three Verizon patents generally disclose systems and methods related to interactive television features, including internet access, two-dimensional channel navigation, and advertising.

After a three-week trial, the jury found that the parties infringed each others’ patents and awarded ActiveVideo $115,000,000 and Verizon $16,000 in damages.

After trial, the district court entered a permanent injunction against Verizon, established a sunset royalty for Verizon’s continued infringement until the injunction was to take effect, and denied Verizon’s motions for JMOL or new trial on infringement, damages, and invalidity. Verizon and ActiveVideo then cross appealed to the Federal Circuit.

The Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s judgment of infringement against Verizon as to the ActiveVideo ’582 patent. The appeals court vacated and remanded the district court’s grant of summary judgment of invalidity as to the Verizon ’748 patent.

The district court’s entry of a permanent injunction was reversed, while its imposition of a sunset royalty was affirmed. The district court’s judgment of infringement with respect to the ActiveVideo ’578, ’678, and ’883 patents is affirmed.

The Federal Circuit affirmed the damages award in full, saying Verizon has not argued either before the district court or on appeal that a finding of non-infringement of the ’582 patent should result in a reduction of damages.The district court’s judgment in all other respects was affirmed.

August 22, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – The U.S. International Trade Commission on Tuesday launched a Section 337 investigation into certain wireless consumer electronics devices and components to determine whether devices imported into the U.S. by Amazon.com, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Nintendo Co. and others violate three companies’ patent rights regarding high speed microprocessors.

The products at issue in the investigation are consumer electronic devices with wireless capabilities, such as electronic tablets, smartphones, e-readers, mobile hotspots, broadband wireless modems, and handheld game consoles, the ITC said.

The probe is based on a complaint filed by Technology Properties Ltd. LLC and Phoenix Digital Solutions LLC of Cupertino, California, and Patriot Scientific Corp. of Carlsbad, CA, on July 24. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain wireless consumer electronics devices and components that infringe a patent asserted by the complainants. The three complainants have requested that the USITC issue an exclusion order and cease and desist orders.

The other companies involved in the investigation include Acer Inc., Barnes & Noble, Garmin Ltd., HTC Corp., Huawei Technologies Co., Kyocera Corp., Novatel Wireless Inc., Sierra Wireless Inc. and ZTE Corp.

The ITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case, the Commission said. According to standard procedure for 337 investigations, the ITC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the ITC’s six administrative law judges who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337, but that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission.

The patent at issue, U.S. Patent Number 5,809,336, is titled “High performance microprocessor having variable speed system clock.” The microprocessor system includes an integrated circuit having a central processing unit and a ring oscillator variable speed system clock for clocking the microprocessor, according to the patent abstract.

The objective of the invention was to provide a high speed microprocessor with a reduced pin count and cost compared to conventional microprocessors, according to the patent summary.

Inventors Charles H. Moore of Woodside, California, and Russell H. Fish III of Mountain View, California were awarded the patent, which was assigned to Patriot Scientific on September 15, 1998 after filing their application on June 7, 1995.

August 16, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Although Lululemon Athletica has built a reputation based on the promotion of the peaceful practice of yoga, it recently showed the world that it is ready to fight if necessary. The yoga and athletic apparel manufacturer proved this point when it initiated a lawsuit against clothing giants Calvin Klein and G-III Apparel Group, over the design of its pricey yoga pants. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware, accuses both Klein and G-III of infringing on three separate patents related to its high-tech yoga pants. Lululemon is seeking an injunction to prevent further sales of the infringing products, as well as damages from lost profits, a reasonable royalty award, disgorgement of Calvin Klein profits, and court related costs.

In its court documents, Lululemon alleges that Calvin Klein’s “Performance” brand incorporates the same waistband and other design elements as Lululemon’s patented pants. In particular, Lululemon produces an “Astro” line of yoga pants and crop pants with a signature overlapping style waistband. The pants are made from Lululemon’s trademarked Luon fabric and incorporate the unique patented waistband. The waistband in question is v-shaped and formed by angular pieces of cloth that can be rolled so that the pants sit higher or lower on the waist. Lululemon is claiming Calvin Klein produces pants with the same waistline style at a significantly reduced price.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. is based in Vancouver, Canada and was founded in 1998. The brand was created in response to increased female participation in sports and a rise in the popularity of yoga. To extend its support of yoga as a healthful and beneficial practice, every Lululemon Athletica offers free yoga classes. The company offers health benefits and growth opportunities to its employees and customers at store locations. In addition to its elevated standards in business practices, treatment of employees and attention to customer satisfaction, the apparel company has a reputation for making high quality and expensive yoga pants with sophisticated designs and high-tech materials. Additionally, the Vancouver based apparel manufacturer has become well known for its use of unique fabric choices, proprietary blend of signature fabrics, moisture wicking and 4-way stretch material. Lululemon currently holds at least 14 separate U.S. patents for its athletic apparel and specific design elements.

G-III Apparel Group Ltd. was founded in 1956, and has grown into a major designer and manufacturer of outerwear, apparel, sportswear, handbags and luggage. Through a series of licensing agreements, G-III currently produces products under the following brand names: Jones New York, Sean John, Timberland, Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Ellen Tracy, Tommy Hilfiger and many more.

The famous designer with the same name founded Calvin Klein in 1968. Based in the fashion Mecca of New York City, the clothing house was sold to Philips Van Heusen in 2002 and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of PVH.

August 8, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – This entry has been moved here

July 26, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – After a protracted legal battle, Apple announced this week that it has secured an injunction in a German Court against Samsung to prevent further distribution of its Galaxy Tab 7.7. Much to the delight of Apple, the result of the injunction is a ban on all sales of its competitor’s tablet in the European Union. The German Court rejected Samsung’s argument that the ban should only be applicable to German markets, and not the entire European Union. In anticipation of the wide reach of the ban, products have already been pulled from stores in Germany.

According to reports, the German court determined that Apple’s South Korean competitor copied its 2004 product designs. However, regardless of the final outcome of the EU patent infringement action, all is not lost for Samsung. German courts neglected to direct a full ban on sales of the redesigned Galaxy Tab 10 and allowed it to continue being sold in Germany. A redesigned tablet case likely saved the latest version of the product from also being banned.

Despite this recent ruling, Samsung continues to insist that its product, the Galaxy 10, does not infringe on Apple’s patents or violate laws of unfair competition. Apple’s most significant competitor argues that innovation and progress in the industry will be severely restricted if Apple is continually allowed to win legal claims based what it considers generic design patents. It is also important to note that Samsung recently won a similar case in the United Kingdom. Unlike the courts in Germany, the UK courts ruled that the Galaxy Tab 7.7 did not infringe on Apple’s patents. To the surprise of many who were watching the case, the judge stated in his decision that Samsung could not have copied the Apple patents because the Samsung products were “not as cool” as the iPad. In the ruling, Apple was also ordered to publicly state on its website that Samsung was not guilty of infringing on its patents.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Samsung and Apple continue to battle over intellectual property. Preliminary injunctions against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus are currently pending. Both parties eagerly await the outcome of upcoming rulings, as they will likely dictate the degree of success each will have in the very hot tablet marketplace in the upcoming months.

July 19, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Some might call this a year of innovation for Apple, as the pace of new and improved products seems to be increasing. New smartphones, head-mounted computer display devices, a sophisticated new stylus, and new technology abounds as the California company further increases its market share and pushes its stock price even higher.

Smartphone cases were one of the more recent innovations that were both functional, practical, and allowed users to express their personalities with a variety of colors and designs. Apple’s most recent contribution to its patent portfolio is a noise-canceling iPhone case. The newest patent involves a “windscreen”, designed to reduce distracting background sounds that are usually picked up by the device’s microphone and result in decreased sound quality. The patent is also good for all portable electronic devices that enable two-way conversations in real time.

Originally filed January 11, 2011, patent application number 20120177239 shows a diagram with a windscreen over the microphone, which is specially designed to reduce wind noise, air blasts and any other noise that may negatively affect call quality. The patent includes a diagram that shows a “windscreen” sealed across the opening of the case, aligned with the device’s microphone port.

The new product would effectively allow intelligible speech despite background noise and without requiring the user to increase call or voice volume. According to the patent application, the case will be formed from plastic, acrylic, polycarbonate, silicon, or rubber. The screen will likely be of mesh, foam or a feather-like material. And like the current products, the new noise-reduction cases will be available in different colors and designs. A release date for the new iPhone case has not been determined yet. However, judging by the shape of the case in the diagram, it appears that iPhones will remain the same size and shape or the new case will be released prior to any changes down the road for iPhone designs.

July 18, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Everyone knows someone who owns a videogame system or someone that is anxiously waiting for the latest great thing in that industry. According to recently published patent documents, Microsoft’s latest patent for a scaleable console would allow consumers to customize their Xbox.

Much like what PC gamers can do with desktop computers, the new patent would allow users to add or remove components, creating a video gaming system to suit individual needs. Under the recently published patent application, Microsoft described a basic platform that would be offered with hardware resources to scale up or down according to needs of the user. In addition, the product would have two smaller gaming consoles combined for single use that can be upgraded with an optional third console to assist the other two.

Xbox fans who are clamoring for new products are already wondering what the practical application is for the newest Xbox rendition. Microsoft answers many of these questions in its patent documents which show that the new product will be capable of running apps and opening a strategy guide simultaneously while playing games. Under the new patent, one hardware component would handle the game while another would deal with the apps and other functions. According to Microsoft, this new form of “communication fabric” allows maneuvers and links the console properties, while performing the critical regulation of bandwidth. As such, each hardware component is regulated so as to not unnecessarily leech system resources from critical components.

In addition to a new look and hardware composition, the newest version of the Xbox could be subsidized with monthly payments and yearly updates, eliminating backwards compatibility issues. And although the patent application was only recently filed in 2010, parents and video game enthusiasts are fervently hoping the product will make its way into the marketplace in time for Christmas 2012.

July 16, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Qualcomm owns thousands of patents and has dozens more in development to add to its significant patent portfolio. Additionally, as a leader in mobile technologies and chip manufacturing, Qualcomm has long captured a significant market share by ensuring that its products are embedded in the top computers, phones and other hand-held devices.

However, its mobile technologies have become more and more important in its company growth plan. Mobile technologies account for 90% of Qualcomm’s patent licensing revenues and a large chunk of the company’s revenue on the whole. Moreover, Qualcomm’s patents are becoming increasingly significant as the use of 3G and 4G networks proliferate. Consequently, the San Diego based communications specialist and chip manufacturer recently determined that its current business structure did not adequately support the desired direction of its development and sales. As such, Qualcomm announced that it has plans to restructure its business operations. That reorganization includes the addition of new units to handle its chip business, effectively separating that part of its business from its key mobile communications and other intellectual property.

This is not to say that Qualcomm’s chip development is not also an integral part of its business. Apple is one of Qualcomm’s biggest customers using Qualcomm’s baseband chips in its tremendously popular iPhones and iPads. Additionally, the Snapdragon chip for smart phones and tablets is being used in Google’s Android and future laptops supporting Microsoft’s Windows RT Operating Systems. Qualcomm is highly motivated to continue its growth in the chip manufacturing field, thus the separation of its critical portions of business are expected to yield positive results almost immediately. To that end, Qualcomm expects that it’s reshuffling of business operations will allow products and services to be delivered more quickly and efficiently.

The tech behemoth also anticipates that separation of its open-source contributions from its 3G/4G patents will allow for greater efforts to increase market shares in both areas. Qualcomm is one of the more prolific and aggressive patent licensing companies with a significant patent portfolio. However, the nature of its internal organization did not allow for as much development in open-source software as many other top companies in the industry. It is anticipated that the recent reorganization will allow for greater contributions to open-source communities, as well as concurrent patent development. Patents are not necessary for contribution, but the restructure will now allow Qualcomm to compete with IBM and other significant open-source contributors without weakening the company’s market share.

July 6, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Almost everyone knows someone who has accidentally dropped their phone in water and then been forced to deal with the unhappy repercussions. Most people first attempt to dry out the device before resorting to customer service just purchasing a new phone.

With an eye toward this problem, Apple announced this week that it has received a patent for its liquid contact indicator technology. Patent 8,210,032 was awarded for Apple’s technology that can quickly determine whether or not a device has been submerged in liquid. The tiny electronic device, intended for use by customer service representatives, is placed inside the product and provides a visual indicator when a product is dropped into water or any other liquid. The liquid indicator technology included in Apple’s new patent is particularly helpful because water damage is one of the top reasons for product malfunction. Because it is sometimes difficult to determine the exact reason for product malfunction by a simple physical examination or a quick phone call, verification of water exposure is an essential troubleshooting feature. The instantaneous verification of a blinking red light can assist customer service representatives to quickly ascertain the exact nature of the problem, provide more efficient trouble-shooting and help in warranty claim assessment.

Despite the fact that the patent for its water detection device was filed in 2010 and awarded only recently, Apple has included some form of the technology in products since the inception of the iPhone. The water detection technology is particularly important because Apple’s iPhone warranty specifically excludes water damage. Apple’s iPhones currently have a small button that shows red when a device is dropped in water, thus giving customer service representatives the instant ability to ascertain specific details about product malfunction. Consequently, by instantly eliminating the warranty claims of any consumer who has dropped their device in water, the company can save thousands of dollars in insurance claims and countless hours of wasted customer service representative troubleshooting.

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