patent

Ford opens EV car patents to auto rivals (for a fee)

Ford opens EV car patents to auto rivals (for a fee)

Ford is throwing open its electric car patent portfolio, offering rivals access in the hope of driving EV development, though unlike Tesla it will be charging a fee. The IP will include technology around better battery charging, regenerative braking, and how to assess driving styles and habits to better balance powertrain use. In total, Ford says, it has in excess of 650 electrified models, including both all-electric and hybrids.

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Apple granted patent for ‘fusion keyboard’ with multitouch keys

Apple granted patent for ‘fusion keyboard’ with multitouch keys

It appears the ultra-shallow keyboard keys on Apple's new 12-inch Retina MacBook were only the beginning. The company was granted a patent this week that may one day see a complete revolution in keyboard functions, possibly eliminating the need for a touchpad altogether. Dubbed a "fusion keyboard," the input device would still feature the mechanical keys we're used to today, but each one would have touch sensors on top, and they could each be pressed down to register multiple stages, enabling multitouch gesture support.

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Samsung patents dual OS phablet-laptop dock combo

Samsung patents dual OS phablet-laptop dock combo

Samsung has recently teamed up with Microsoft in a deal that brought the latter's Android apps pre-installed on Samsung's flagships. But Samsung might actually have something even more intimate in mind. A patent filed back in late 2014 reveals one of Samsung's ideas for combining two platforms: a phablet that runs Android by default but switches to Windows when joined with a dock that is practically an empty laptop shell, thereby providing the familiar mobility of Android on mobile with Windows productivity in the workplace.

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“Creepy” Google robot toys would be your smart home butler

“Creepy” Google robot toys would be your smart home butler

Google is flirting with the concept of interactive robotic toys, that could provide a personable - or just plain creepy - interface to the smart home. The research, revealed in a recently published patent, is the handiwork of Richard Wayne DeVaul of Google [X], the search giant's unorthodox skunkworks lab: like a cuddly, moving version of Amazon Echo, the robo-pals would listen out for trigger words and then subsequent spoken instructions, capable of responding with not only speech but actions and expressions.

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Google patents kids toys with hidden microphones, cameras

Google patents kids toys with hidden microphones, cameras

If your laptop's webcam staring back at you gives you the willies, Google's newly patented connected kids toys will bring a whole new level of creepiness. The patent details “an anthropomorphic device, perhaps in the form factor of a doll or toy, [that] may be configured to control one or more media devices.” Joining the description is an illustration showing a stuffed teddy bear and bunny rabbit with embedded microphones, cameras, speakers, and motors. We've a copy of the illustration after the jump!

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New Apple patents reveal 3D display with eye-tracking, compact cellular hotspot

New Apple patents reveal 3D display with eye-tracking, compact cellular hotspot

Two new patent applications filed by Apple that reveal possible new products or features were published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week. While these kind of filings are rarely a clear indication of what the company is planning, we have seen a few patents in the past, such as the TouchID fingerprint scanner, directly make their way into new products. The new patents are for a display that can show both 2D and 3D images at the same time, along with eye-tracking, and a unique looking portable cellular hotspot.

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Apple’s Samsung damages cut by $382m after “rounded corners” appeal

Apple’s Samsung damages cut by $382m after “rounded corners” appeal

Apple's $930m win against Samsung in 2012 faces a slash of more than 40-percent, after an appeals court ruled that the things like rectangles with rounded corners couldn't be protected. The closely-watched court case eventually decided three years ago that not only had Samsung infringed on iPhone patents, it had infringed "trade dress" too, effectively damaging its unique brand in the process. Now, though, the latter part of that ruling is being called into question, and it's worth $382m.

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Apple patent app hints at future iPhone Force Touch display

Apple patent app hints at future iPhone Force Touch display

Apple has a new patent application that hints at the OS X Quick Look feature coming to iOS via a new so-called “Intense” touch gesture that’ll be facilitated with new display intensity sensors -- basically meaning Force Touch being integrated into the iPhone's own display. We’ve already seen Force Touch on Apple’s new MacBook, and there’s also rumor that it’ll be coming to a future iPad model. If this is the future of iOS devices, it means they'll be able to sense the force of your touch.

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Microsoft phones infringe on patents, may face import ban

Microsoft phones infringe on patents, may face import ban

Microsoft may have acquired more than Nokia's mobile business. It has also inherited the Finnish company's legal headaches and now it will be facing the music. A judge for the US International Trade Commission has deemed that Microsoft's smartphones indeed infringe on two patents held by patent licensing outfit InterDigital. This lawsuit was first filed against Nokia almost four years ago and it is Microsoft who will now be paying the price. Worst case scenario, the ITC could ban imports of infringing Windows Phones into the US.

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Google wants to buy your patents before trolls get them

Google wants to buy your patents before trolls get them

No stranger to patent trolls, Google has introduced a program they’re calling the ‘Patent Purchase Promotion’. Equal parts patent purchasing clearinghouse and troll roadblock, Google’s scheme will allow those interested in selling patents an avenue for submitting the patent, setting a price, and allowing Google to review the offer. After a review period, Google will either make an offer or refuse the purchase. Google is calling the new program ‘experimental’, and its first wave will open up next month for a two week period.

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