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NEWS
Created 13 July 2020
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TOKYO (Reuters) - As face coverings become the norm amid the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese startup Donut Robotics has developed an internet-connected “smart mask” that can transmit messages and translate from Japanese into eight other languages. The white plastic “c-mask” fits over standard face masks and connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone and tablet application that can transcribe speech into text messages, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer’s voice. “We worked hard for years to develop a robot and we have used that technology to create a product that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped society,” said Taisuke Ono, the chief executive of Donut Robotics. Donut Robotics’ first 5,000 c-masks will be shipped to buyers in Japan starting in September, with Ono looking to sell in China, the United States and Europe too. There has been strong interest, he said. (Read more at Reuters)
Created 26 June 2020
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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of X newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's patent relating to a mixed reality headset with a Dynamic Focus 3D Display. While Conventional VR systems project left and right images onto screens that are viewed by a subject, Apple new way uses a direct retinal projector system that scans the images, pixel by pixel, directly onto the subject's retinas.

According to Apple, conventional virtual reality and augmented reality systems may suffer from accommodation-convergence mismatch problems that cause eyestrain, headaches, and/or nausea. Accommodation-convergence mismatch arises when a VR or AR system effectively confuses the brain of a user by generating scene content that does not match the depth expected by the brain based on the stereo convergence of the two eyes of the user. (Read more at patentlyapple)

Created 26 June 2020
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by Sean ChanJun 8, 2020 

Samsung, Apple and a host of other companies are currently working on AR devices that could connect to a smartphone or any other device and act as a second interactive screen for the user.

It looks like Samsung might finally found a way to make AR glasses feasible for consumers as the company has filed a new patent detailing how an AR glass may work. According to the patent (via WindowsUnited) published on June 4, 2020, Samsung is working on AR glasses that will connect to another device to project virtual displays.

Created 19 June 2020
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The uniqueness of the utility model patent system in China lies in its readiness to obtain, and its strong enforcement. Utility models have many advantages in acquiring rights. For example, the cost of applying for a utility model patent is remarkably lower than that of an invention patent; and the prosecution term of a utility model is very short – a UM application can usually be granted within one year with more than 80% of granting rate. A utility model patent also has a lower inventiveness requirement than that of an invention. Facing the same prior art, an invention patent may be invalidated while a utility model with the same claims may be maintained.

With respect to enforcement, the patentee of a UM patent is entitled to file an infringement lawsuit directly after issue of the patent.
According to the litigation system of China, even if the utility model patent is finally invalidated, and thus failed in the infringement case, the losing patentee does not need to compensate the loss of the winning defendant unless the patentee is proved to have sued in bad faith. In the present judicial practice in China, since the recognition of bad faith is very strict, only a few cases have determined that the plaintiff patentee sued in bad faith.
For the reasons mentioned above, and taking over two million UM patent applications that were filed in 2018 into consideration, a considerable amount of utility model patent applications are granted without substantive examination (inventiveness exam) and, in particular, independent claims of many utility model patents are unreasonably broad, even covering prior art. As such, manufacturing enterprises face high patent risks in their operations.

(Read more at VantageAsia)

Created 17 June 2020
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“The study noted that the United States remains the world ‘patent superpower’, but East Asia has developed by ‘leaps and bounds’ in the last 10 years.”

Independent foundation Bertelsmann Stiftung published a study titled “World class patents in cutting-edge technologies – The innovation power of East Asia, North America and Europe,” which examined how individual countries have advanced in the development and filing of “world class patents” between 2000 and 2019.

While the study showed that North America and Europe have the highest patent efficiencies, it noted that East Asia has “exhibited an unparalleled inventive spirit” and has increased its innovation power in many cutting edge-technologies, such as energy, nutrition, infrastructure, industry and environment.

The United States is the world’s top innovation center “by far” and holds the largest number of world class patents, which cover 50 of the 58 technologies reviewed in the study.

The study noted concerns that Europe is falling behind because digitalization is progressing slowly in Europe “at a time when the fourth industrial revolution is about to fundamentally change the traditional forms of economic activity.”

Read more at IPWatchdog.

Created 17 June 2020
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The European Commission’s top IP official has predicted the establishment of a unitary patent system in Europe “before the end of next year”. (Source WIPR)
Created 16 June 2020
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Apple has been granted a patent for new technology which will help make taking group selfies easier during the era of social distancing. The patent, approved by the U.S. Trade and Patent Office, covers iPhone camera software that would create "synthetic group selfies," allowing a single user to initiate a virtual group photo combining images of people in different locations. Although the timing suggests the patent was in response to the coronavirus, Apple filed for the patent in 2018. The company was granted rights to the new technology on June 2. It remains unclear whether Apple will use the patent, although the product might roll out sooner than later if state-mandated social distancing continues throughout the year. (Source: Washington Examiner)
Created 16 June 2020
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Agritech businesses will be considering how best to protect their rights following a recent ruling that plants and animals produced by traditional breeding methods cannot be patented. (Read more at Pinsent Masons)
Created 16 June 2020
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Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is a system of cooperation between patent offices. By agreement between the offices and on request of a patent applicant, the work product of one patent office that has already allowed the application or given a positive International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRP) (the Office of Earlier Examination "OEE") is used in the examination of the patent application of the same family in another patent office (the Office of Later Examination "OLE"), provided that the applicant presents only the allowable claims in the OLE application.
Created 16 June 2020
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Scott Massey, who co-founded Heliponix with Ivan Ball while they were both undergraduate students at Perdue University as a way for consumers to safely and efficiently grow aeroponic produce in their homes, explains that securing patent protection is an essential first step because every time entrepreneurs share their idea they risk exposure to copycats. Similarly, he says, patents can speed fundraising and growth by reassuring investors and other potential business partners. (Read more at Foodnavigator)
Created 25 May 2020
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Apple’s Messages app will one day let us edit our conversations after we’ve sent the message, if a newly-released patent becomes reality. (Read more on Forbes)
Created 25 May 2020
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The idea of using solar panels to give electric cars a little extra boost is nothing new. In fact, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has a solar roof that helps to run its electronics, and can give it a couple of extra miles of driving range each day. Solar panels aren’t efficient enough at this point to fully charge up an electric car, but the more surface area a solar panel takes up, the more energy it can capture. If you could have a car completely covered with solar panels, it might produce a few more miles a day worth of power, if not more. Recently, Ford Global Technologies filed a patent application for a unique kind of solar charging panel that basically blankets a car when parked. (Read more)

Ford solar

Created 25 May 2020
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Patents on plants and animals derived from conventional breeding can be fully prohibited in Europe. This is the result of a verdict published by the Enlarged Board of Appeal, the highest legal body of the European Patent Office (EPO). (Article in EUBusiness)
Created 25 May 2020
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Credit card giant Visa has filed an application for a U.S. patent on a computer system that would convert physical dollars and other fiat currencies into digital versions, complete with denominations and serial numbers and recorded via blockchain. The system would then remove the paper currency from circulation. “According to the [details] discussed herein, the payment ecosystem may become entirely (e.g. 100 percent) digital,” Visa wrote in its application, which was originally filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in November but was only made public this week. “According to various embodiments, cash may be removed from the markets in a frictionless manner and the payment ecosystem may be improved.” (Read more on PYMNTNS)
Created 25 May 2020
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Can AI be an inventor? According to a recent decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the answer seems to be no. There is more to this story, though, and we’ll need to push past the surface to understand the full nuances involved. Perhaps a more apt way to depict the situation is whether AI can be formally granted a U.S. patent, and for that the answer appears to unequivocally and emphatically be a razor-sharp no. The difference being that presumably anyone or anything could be an “inventor” if you are using the word “inventor” in a casual and offhanded manner. (Read more on Forbes)

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