Innovation Focus: Cisco Pursues Telepresence Technologies

Cisco Systems, Inc. of San Jose, CA, is a corporation that is heavily involved with designing and manufacturing networking equipment along with other information technologies. A new inventory of products for Cisco’s Unified Computing System server business has many speculating that the company is trying to build a stronger base in enterprise server computing solutions. Cisco is seeking to develop systems for modernizing various areas of our country’s infrastructure, including a smart system called Connected Rail with applications for railroad transportation. The corporation has also recently announced an expansion of its partnership with open source developer Red Hat for development of the OpenStack system for deploying private cloud services.

In 2013, the company’s 885 patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office placed it 40th among all patenting entities for that year. Occasionally, we look at applications filed and patents issued for these top patenting companies, and as with any look at Cisco, you will find that research and development operations are still strong this year. Many of Cisco’s recent inventions have focuses on technologies for online meetings and teleconferencing for long-distance business conversations.


Head-Mounted Wearable Tech

The field of wearable technology became somewhat “sexy” with the much-anticipated release of Google Glass, a lightweight pair of glasses that incorporates computer elements, sensors and other components, all for $1,500.  One goal of this system is to allow media capture of images, video and sound that replicate the Glass wearer’s point of view.

In February 2012, Google filed a patent application to protect a system of capturing pictures through a wearable device by analyzing a user’s gaze. A user looks through the viewfinder, which can detect the field of vision of a user based on the direction of that user’s gaze. This gaze information can be processed to determine the exact field of view for a user, and this data can be used to adjust the image being captured by the device. This patent application, U.S. Patent Application No. 20130222638, just recently received a non-final Office Action on August 12, 2014.


Recent Patents and the Story of Microsoft’s Xbox One

xboxThere have been reports that the Sony Playstation outsold the Microsoft Xbox One by a 2 to 1 margin, but TIME reports that these numbers really aren’t particularly honest or informative. The reports that the Playstation is outselling the Xbox One by a 2 to 1 margin come from a study, or at least observations, of sales leading up to Christmas on eBay. But online auction sales from a single retailer are hardly appropriate to gauge what really happened in the broader marketplace.

All that is known for now is that both the Sony Playstation and the Xbox One were in extremely high demand and sold out this holiday season. Both of these game consoles will be around for a while, and both have a long  history and patent portfolio behind them. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the Xbox and some of the recent patents behind the device.


Patenting Self-Destructing E-mail Messages

att-logoAT&T is seeking another patent on self-destructing e-mail messages. AT&T originally filed a patent application in January 2002 on this technology, which ripened into U.S. Patent No. 7,356,564. The latest patent application to publish in this family tree published on June 20, 2013 as U.S. Patent Application No. 20130159436. We profiled this back in August on See AT&T Seeks Patents on E-mail Self Destruct and 3D Media ContentShortly thereafter, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a Non-Final Rejection of the application.

This application relates to e-mail, which virtually everyone reading will know is a messaging system used across the world to communicate information to other people. Indeed, so ubiquitous has e-mail become that it is hard to remember when electronic communications via e-mail did not exist. E-mail is so incredibly useful because it’s efficient and practically instantaneous. However, a sender has almost no way to protect confidential information once it has been sent across the Internet, and we have probably all sent one or more messages without thinking things through before clicking “send.” Many have also no doubt sent an e-mail by accident to someone who was not the intended recipient, which can range from a nuisance to embarrassing to completely catastrophic depending on the content.


U.S. Top for Innovation Quality in WIPO Report

On July 1, 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Cornell University released the 2013 Global Innovation Index (GII 2013). This year, the United States moved up to 5th (from 10th in 2012) and the United Kingdom also moved up to 3rd (from 5th in 2012). Switzerland remained 1st, with Sweden remaining 2nd in the rankings.

The GII 2013 looked at 142 economies around the world, using 84 indicators, including the quality of top universities, availability of microfinance, venture capital deals – gauging both innovation capabilities and measurable results.

The message from the report: “Despite the economic crisis, innovation is alive and well. Research and development spending levels are surpassing 2008 levels in most countries and successful local hubs are thriving.” Indeed, despite tightened budget policies, R&D expenditures have grown since 2010. The R&D expenditures of top 1,000 R&D-spending companies grew between 9 and 10 % in 2010 and 2011. A similar pattern was observed in 2012.