Author Archives: Kenneth Yip

A Simple Way to Download all Apple’s 2015 patents

This week brings another highly anticipated Apple event that will likely be the stage for big new products and updates.  Apple unveiled at its developers conference, WWDC 2015, a number of new products and services such as Apple Music, iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan.  I was interested to review some of the key patents that Apple had been awarded this year.  Leveraging the USPTO database and Petapator, I was able to export the patent search results in CSV and PDF with ease.

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Based on the search criteria AN/apple AND ISD/2015, there were over 800 patents in the US Patent Collection Database.

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The visualization tools such as Word Cloud and displaying figures right on the search result page are useful for quick analysis.  For in-depth analysis, it is preferable to utilize some 3rd party tools.

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I decided to export the search results from the USPTO database onto my local computer.  With few simple steps, I was able to download close to 1,000 patents to my computer in minutes.  On the patent search result page, simply click on the “Services” menu on the top of the screen.  Then select “Export CSV”.  In the next screen, follow the instruction and input an email address where you would like to have the download link sent to.

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In less than 15min., the file containing the patent search results was sent to my email address:

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The conventional method to download USPTO patents can be costly and time consuming.  With Petapator, you can export up to 1,000 patents in few simple steps.   If you are interested to try out Petapator, please visit www.petapator.com.

Your next Apple Watch can come in different “CURVES”

Your next Apple Watch can come in different “CURVES”

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Apple is known for its patents, which are detailed but often try to disguise product plans with in-depth technicality. The Apple Watch design patents were published in May 2015.  The sales of the Apple Watch have been phenomenon since the introduction.  It was estimated that Apple had sold 2.5mil watches until May end.

I was interested to find out what other unique technologies Apple might be working on in their next version of Apple Watch.  Many of the Apple patents outline fascinating technologies that the company has been working on, and show the direction its products could take in the future.  So I did quick patent search on the USPTO using Petapator with a board starting point: “AN/apple AND watch”.   There were over 600 results based on this query.  This was not a surprise for me as the term “watch” could be written in many different contexts.  Luckily the Petapator Figures Display function allowed me to quickly browse through the search results in order for me to refine my next steps.

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Few patents stood out as shown in the picture below.  There were few patents focused on the Band of the Apple Watch (D727,197, D727,198 and D727,199).  This showed us the innovation that went into conceiving, designing and engineering the watch extends beyond the core to the bands.

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With the Word Cloud, it was useful for me to spot any interesting topics.  When I browsed through the list, the term “flexible displays” caught my eye.  In patent 8,976,141 Apple highlighted a device with “flexible touch-sensitive layers, and flexible display cover layers.”  I remembered that I read the rumor on iPhone 7 that it could be a fold-able, flexible device; but why did my “AN/apple AND watch” search return this patent as a search result.  I was curious.  By simply clicking the PDF button on the search result page, I can read the PDF of the patent directly on my browser.

In the Detailed Description section of patent 8,976,141, it actually stated “An illustrative electronic device of the type that may be provided with a flexible display having bent edges visible along an edge of the device is shown in FIG. 1. Electronic device 10 may be a portable electronic device or other suitable electronic device. For example, electronic device 10 may be a laptop computer, a tablet computer, a somewhat smaller device such as a wrist-watch device, pendant device, or other wearable or miniature device, a cellular telephone, a media player, etc.”

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It is often difficult to run patent search with board terms such “watch”.  For in-depth search or running professional patent search for your clients, I would recommend that you start the search with an understanding of the CPC or Inventor of your subject.  However, as I showed in this blog, it is possible to run a quick patent search to gain insights for your topic if you have a powerful visualization tool.

If you are interested to try out Petapator, please visit www.petapator.com

 

Apple could lead the Virtual Reality competition with its recent acquisition

Apple could lead the Virtual Reality competition with its recent acquisition of an AR Company Metaio

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Techcrunch reported that Apple had acquired Metaio, an Augmented Reality (AR) company.  According to the report, Metaio currently has a large community of developers, customers and users.  I conducted a preliminary patent search with AN/metaio and discovered something interesting.  The following screen capture is via our Chrome add-on extension Petapator:

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Metaio has 21 US patents.  Among all the inventors, Peter Meier, CTO and one of the founders of Metaio, has the highest number of patents under AN/metaio.

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It is clear that Mr. Meier is a thought-leader in the field of AR and VR; however, it is yet to see if Mr. Meier would join Apple after the acquisition.

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By browsing through the abstracts of these patents, I spotted 8,382,285 and 8,113,657 that describe “device and method for determining the orientation of an eye”.  These could potentially be extended from augment reality applications to virtual reality platforms.

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Apple was awarded US patent # 8,957,835 in February this year for a device that, similar to the concept of Samsung’s Gear VR, can be a Virtual Reality Headset.  In the patent description section, it outlines how the device could have an iPhone inserted into it worn on the user’s head.  Comparing to other VR headset concepts, Apple includes a remote control that allows the user to interact the content on the iPhone screen.

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With the acquisition of Metaio, Apple could leverage the augmented reality innovations to accelerate its in-house virtual reality researches and developments.  Virtual Reality will be the next battle field among the tech giants like Google, Facebook, Samsung and Apple.  In the next 24 months, it surely will be an exciting time to follow this trend.

If you are interested to try out the patent search tool that I used, please visit www.petapator.com.

Oculus Rift is cool, but what Nielsen works on could be more amazing!

Oculus Rift is cool, but what Nielsen works on could be more amazing!

The Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus last year is an example of how hot the Virtual Reality field is. I decided to do a quick patent search related to Virtual Reality Headset on the USPTO site with Petapator.

There are 35 patents under TTL/”Virtual Reality” and Headset. With no surprise, Oculus VR Inc. is one of the Assignees (US D701,206).

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While I was browsing through the list of patents, I spotted the patents from The Nielsen Company. I wondered what a market research company like Nielsen had to do with Virtual Reality Headset, so I browsed further using number of the built-in Petapator tools right on my browser.

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In Oct 2013, Nielsen filed a patent (8,548,852) on the “Effective Virtual Reality Environments for Presentation of Marketing Materials”. In the Abstract, it described the environment could input “in-store virtual reality environments such as supermarket aisles, store shelves, cooler displays, etc.”.

Given Nielsen is a company trying to understand “What People Watch, Listen To and Buy”, I can start to understand why Nielsen wants to invest in Virtual Reality. Today in order to understand the consumers’ preferences in the real shopping environment, Nielsen probably would have to set up expensive in-field tests. With Virtual Reality, Nielsen could set up a Virtual Shop to test the consumers’ feedback in this mock shopping experience.

I further browsed the patent list. As you can see in the next picture, the Word Cloud tool showed some interesting insights on the patent 8,392,250 – “related time-frequency analysis”, “collecting neuro-response”, “memory retention”. If Nielsen is able to create a Virtual Shop to show a market research test subject the suggested shop front display and simultaneously measure the neuro feedback from the test subject, this could be a game-changing innovation.

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Then I did another quick search on USPTO with Petapator: AN/”nielsen company” AND “virtual reality”. Nielsen actually had started filing Virtual Reality related patents back in 2008!

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The Facebook’s Oculus Rift certainly has generated lots of buzz and many media coverage. However, we should not underestimate the applicability of Virtual Reality in other fields as shown in this example.

If you are interested to try out Petapator, please visit www.petapator.com

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Google’s “Creepy Toy” could be more powerful than you think.

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Google has looked into making Internet-Connected toys to control home appliance.  It recently published a patent that describes devices (or toys) that would turn their heads towards users and listen to what they were saying, before sending commands to remote servers.  I looked into this patent and used Petapator to search more related information.

By searching the USPTO database using Petapator, I quickly discovered that one of the inventors, Aminzade, had 3 previous patent filings with Google Inc. as Assignee.

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Among these 3 previous patents by Aminzade, I found the recent patent “Mobile computing device and wearable computing device having automatic access mode control” to be the most interesting.

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US8976965 – As the wearable computing device being within a defined distance threshold with the mobile computing device, the mobile computing device would grant the user with security access for certain function.

I also performed a boarder search on “AN/google AND toy”.  Among the 69 patents published, the top inventors were Desai, Munjal, Steelberg and Ryan.   And interestingly the highest number of the patents related the “Google” AND “toy” were filed back in 2012.

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As I quickly browsed through the figures of these 69 patents, I can certainly appreciate the researchers at Google are trying to develop a more human-friendly device interfaces:

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With so many related technologies in-house, Google’s “creepy toy” could become more functional and powerful in the near future.  If you are interested to learn more about these patents, I suggest you to search on the Inventors that I mentioned earlier in this blog post.  To try out the Petapator tool that I use for patent search, please visit Chrome Web Store for Petapator.

Version 7.1 is just released

Version 7.1 of Petapator is just released.  The display of patent information should be much quicker.  This is because the most CPU consuming processes, such as image conversion and keywords identification, are now being performed by numerous cloud servers.

The next action items will be parts list extraction, referenced by information and assignment database information.

Thanks for the 5 stars!

Petapator has been receiving more 5 stars from the user community lately.  It is a recognition of our hard works.  We will keep improving it!

The next release will focus on analytical tools.  There are some setbacks as our servers are struggling to handle the volume of traffic during the load test.  We are reviewing the design and planning to install more servers.  More details will posted here later.

 

Road map of Petapator

The next release of Petapator will focus on the ultimate challenge: increasing patent search speed.  In our daily use, I believe searching claim text and analyzing searching results are very important.  Unfortunately, USPTO full-text search is slow, especially with claims and descriptions.  Further, USPTO does not offer any analyzing tool now and the analyzer at Petapator is only limited to the search results appearing on the screen.

The next release, in our humble opinion, will be revolutionary.  Full-text with wildcard and proximity (for example, “protein acid”~10 will search for patents that have the words “protein” and “acid” within 10 words from each other) search results should be available within 5 seconds for 8 million US patents (for patents with patent number larger than 4,000,000) and patent applications (since 2001).  Analytical results on average will be available within 10 seconds.  Our goal is to cut down the current processing time by half before releasing the next version.

In order to provide the full-text search, a lot of effort has been spent on collecting the patent information.  Additionally, we need to deploy a dozen servers to make the search and analyzing features to the public.  We may need to start charging.

We will keep blogging the development.  If you are interested to use the new version before the general release, please email us at info@petapator.com.

 

Petapator 7.0 is just released

There are two main new features in Petapator 7.0: Find and Quicker Results

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The first one feature is a new Find function to highlight and find words in the search results.  To use this feature, simply press CTRL-SHIFT-F or click on the Find button at the top-right corner.

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You can search up to four words/phrases at the same time.  Technically, we can add unlimited words/phrases for you to search.  We believe four are enough and should not make the user-interface become friendly.  If you have any suggestion to improve the user-interface, please let us know.

Quicker Results

The search function is  powered by USPTO server that we cannot improve.  This is why if you have a complicated query, especially with full-text search, the search is slow.  But once the search results are ready, our servers are then used to parse patent information and convert figures from PDF and TIFF format to PNG format.  You should now see the patent information come out much quicker.  This is because we have tripled the number of servers to handle the increasing traffic.    If you are still experiencing slow responses, please let us know.

Petapator 6.0 will be generally available on Sept 1st

After more than 9 months of development and 3 months of testing, Petapator 6.0 will be generally available on Sept 1st.  There are many changes in the user interface and under the hood.

Petapator 6.0 Demo

The biggest user interface change is to split the screen into half that figures are shown on the right-hand-side and texts are shown on the left-hand-side.  This should make the process of reviewing figures much quicker.  On the other hand, abstracts, claims, inventor information, assignee information, references, citations and patent families are shown in tab style to make the viewing less disorganized.

In terms of functionality changes, there are four new major features:

  1. Analyzer (will discuss more in the next blog)
  2. Patent information export
  3. Viewing all figures
  4. Download searchable PDF

Patent information export

You can now either download information shown for all patents or for selected patents only.  This helps you to make customized analysis quicker.

Viewing all figures

This feature is very ambitious because it puts a very heavy load on the image conversion server, which convers TIFF image directly retrieved from USPTO to PNG format that can be displayed on your screen.  I decide to convert all images, comparing to just the first 6 pages in previous versions, in 6.0.  However, if the load is too much on the image conversion server, I may need to impose restrictions.

Download searchable PDF

Thanks to Google, we can now download searchable PDF of patents and applications from Google Patents.  The PDF button is basically a redirection to Google Patents server.  However, Google Patents does not have the most recent patents or applications.  In such case, my PDF creation server steps in to create a non-searchable PDF.   From your perspective, you should not notice any difference in the download process.

In the next blog, I will detail the magic behind the Analyzer.