Recently, we took a look at some recent Microsoft Xbox patents over at IPWatchdog as a part of our ”Companies We Follow” series. In doing our research, we noticed an interesting innovation related to Microsoft’s digital art programs, which is included in most versions of its computer operating systems, such as Windows. This digital paint program includes more dynamic functions for the artist’s palette, such as a more realistic experience involving oil paints and worn-out brushes.
The application is U.S. Patent Application No. 20130326381, which is titled Digital Art Program Interaction and Mechanisms.
Digital applications for creating art have long been found on computing devices. From basic programs that offer the ability to draw straight lines with a mouse, to applications for mobile devices that respond to user touch through a touchscreen, digital art programs on consumer devices have greatly increased in capability during recent years. Today, graphic designers and artists are capable of using computer software to create intricate images that achieve many of the same aesthetic effects of actual paints or other materials.
One of the most important but unresolved problems in therapy with potent and often toxic drugs has been inability to describe, understand, and quantify the relationships and variability between drug doses, concentrations in blood, and the interplay between therapeutic and toxic drug effects. Defining drug action and inter-patient variability has been, for the most part, limited to simplistic descriptions of average maximum and minimum drug dosages. Until recently, this has not permitted true individualization of therapy for each patient.
Although significant inter-individual variability has been known to exists in the response to most medications, medication selection has historically used empiric data rather than individualized. This is despite the fact that the FDA is increasingly recognizing the importance of the genetic contribution to the individual variation in response to therapy. Nevertheless, the main reason that physicians have not incorporated genetic and non-heritable host factors into treatment plans is the lack of applicable, easy to use algorithms that translate the patient’s characteristics into clinical recommendations.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) recently received U.S. Patent No. 8,589,175, titled Optimization and individualization of medication selection and dosing, which may change the way individual variability based on genetic make-up is utilized in order to both select and prescribe certain medicines. The CCHMC patent specifically covers methods for optimizing dosing regimens for medications utilizing population models, genotype, and clinical information to treat patients with neuropsychiatric and other disorders. Assurex Health is the exclusive worldwide licensee of the technology covered under the CCHMC patent and has developed pharmacogenomic tests for psychiatric, ADHD, and pain medications.
Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death, according to the CDC. Annually, 40,000 individuals who are over 65 years of age visit emergency departments with traumatic brain injuries suffered as a result of a fall, of which 16,000 of these individual are hospitalized and 4,000 of these individuals die. Indeed, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults, resulting in approximately $30 billion in direct medical costs per year.
Enter Patrick Hardigan, Ph.D., Executive Director for Health Professions Division Research at Nova Southeastern University (NSU). Dr. Hardigan set out to develop a model useful for predicting the effect that medication and dosage has on injurious falling. He recently received U.S. Patent No. 8,521,490, titled Statistical model for predicting falling in humans.
“Our goal is to develop a multidisciplinary fall prevention program and ultimately reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries due to falls,” said Hardigan.
Phone.com recently received U.S. Patent No. 8,571,588, titled Method and apparatus for conferencing of text messages. The patented process, which essentially relates to text message conferencing, provides mobile phone users with a capability called Group SMS that shields the private numbers of their personal devices, exposing only their business phone numbers when they text or make business calls.
The patent explains the problem with the prior art:
Despite the huge popularity of SMS with the public, it has not been successful in a conferencing environment, particularly, one involving interactive communications among groups of users (few-to-few users) or one-to-few users in a controlled group. Although modern SMS clients, such as the iPhone®, can send a one-to-few message, the recipients do not have any indication that they need to respond to multiple parties. Therefore, there exists a substantial need in the art for effective conferencing in text messaging, such as SMS, communications.
The system and method disclosed implement text messaging conference among at least three users who communicate on different communication channels. A conference is initiated with a message from a first user, which is received on a communication channel, and commands the initiation of a text message conference. This message includes identities of a number of users asked to participate in the messaging conference. A second set of conferencing communication channels that are different from the first communication channel (used to initiate the conference) are then dedicated to each conference participant. The users then communicate messages over the new conferencing communication channels, with a message received over one conferencing communication channel being forwarded to the other users participating in the messaging conference via their respective communication channels.
The Innovation Act (HR 3309) was introduced on October 23, 2013; was marked-up on November 20, 2013; and by a vote of 325-91, passed in the United States House of Representatives on Thursday, December 5, 2013. This fast-tracking of the Innovation Act was despite bipartisan concerns raised by Judiciary Committee Members who urged Congressman Goodlatte (R-VA), who is Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to slow the bill down for additional consideration and hearings.
Despite efforts of many in the House, the Innovation Act as passed includes fee-shifting provisions, which provide that the loser of a patent infringement litigation would have to pay the attorneys’ fees of the winner unless the loser’s positions were objectively reasonable. One of the most watched amendments to the Innovation Act had been the amendment submitted by Congressman Mel Watt (D-NC), which would have stripped the fee-shifting provisions from the Act. The Watt amendment lost by a vote of 213-199. Those who opposed deviating from the American Rule and adopting the British Rule (i.e., loser pays) are hopeful that the closeness of the vote on the Watt amendment will cause the Senate to take a closer, more thoughtful look.
Another provision of the Innovation Act that received much discussion, in the limited window available at least, was the change to the estoppel provisions that apply to post-grant review and inter partes review. The America Invents Act (AIA) included estoppel provisions that would prevent those challenging patents, as well as those in privy with them, from raising serial challenges by saying that they could not challenge the same patent claims again based on any prior art that was raised or could have been raised. The Innovation Act removes the “or could have been raised,” which all but certainly suggests that serial patent challenges will become possible, if not likely.