patent

NASA makes 56 patents public domain, launches searchable database

NASA makes 56 patents public domain, launches searchable database

NASA has released a bunch of patents for its technologies so that anyone can use them. A total of 56 “formerly-patented” technologies developed by the government are now available in the public domain, meaning they can be used for commercial purposes in an unrestricted manner. To make it easier to find these technologies and others like them, NASA has also created a new searchable database that links the public to thousands of the agency’s now-expired patents.

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Apple Pencil patent hints next stylus to feature swappable tips, eraser

Apple Pencil patent hints next stylus to feature swappable tips, eraser

The latest news in Apple product patents comes in the form of an older filing for the stylus known as the Apple Pencil. While the patent was filed back in 2012, it includes details on several features that may make their way into the next generation of the iPad drawing accessory, including interchangeable tips to simulate different writing/drawing tools, as well as new sensors, and even Touch ID.

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Android in your eye: Google’s intra-ocular device

Android in your eye: Google’s intra-ocular device

This week inventor Andrew Jason Conrad and Google have found their patent for intra-ocular devices appearing in the public thanks to the USPTO. These devices were first registered by Google back in October of 2014, and have just been published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office this week. This "intra-ocular device" is what Google describes as "an electronic lens that can be controlled to control the overall optical power of the device."

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NVIDIA, Samsung lay down arms, settle all patent squabbles

NVIDIA, Samsung lay down arms, settle all patent squabbles

As the song goes, let there be peace on Earth. Or at least in the mobile graphics market. Happily, that seems to be the case at least between NVIDIA and Samsung, who have finally decided to settle their differences outside of court. After more than a year of back and forth mudslinging and suits and countersuits, the two have agreed to a settlement that, among other things, involve a small amount of cross-licensing. Money might have been involved, too, but of course they're not going to say that.

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Sony patents a contact lens that houses a camera

Sony patents a contact lens that houses a camera

OK, this is bound to raise some red flags among privacy advocates, even more than Google Glass ever did. It is also going to make sci-fi aficionados drool and wish they would still be alive, not to mention capable of wearing this smart contact lens, when it actually becomes a product. Smart contact lenses are nothing new to our ears, but what Sony has tried to patent is incredible in both senses of the word: a contact lens that crams enough camera hardware to make it both useful and dangerous.

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Fitbit wins court favor in Jawbone patent case

Fitbit wins court favor in Jawbone patent case

In May 2015, Jawbone slapped Fitbit with a lawsuit over what it claimed was the latter company’s systematic ‘plundering’ of confidential company data by hiring now-former Jawbone employees. Such was the start of a long-running legal battle between Jawbone and Fitbit, one Jawbone has been given the go-ahead to pursue. Yesterday’s ruling wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Jawbone, though — Fitbit proved victorious in a spat that has resulted in some of Jawbone’s patents being invalidated, reducing the odds of Fitbit being hit with an import ban.

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Apple patent reveals MacBook with touchpad keyboard

Apple patent reveals MacBook with touchpad keyboard

A recently discovered Apple patent reveals a significant possible change to the ultra-thin MacBook: replacing the physical keyboard with a touchpad similar to the existing Force Touch trackpad for mouse inputs. As usual with patents, this may not be indicative of what Apple has planned for future products, nor may this design ever see the light of day, but it's interesting to what could be possible if Apple takes its Force Touch technology to the next level.

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Supreme Court will hear Samsung v. Apple design patent case

Supreme Court will hear Samsung v. Apple design patent case

In what is probably a historic decision, the US Supreme Court has agreed to take on Samsung's appeal in a patent design squabble it has been involved in with Apple for years now. Although Samsung agreed to pay the hefty million dollar sum Apple was awarded in damages, it said it reserved the right to reimburse that amount should a higher court, like the SC, overturn it. But more than just the specifics of this particular case itself, the the very fact that the Supreme Court will be hearing it is, in itself, a legal landmark.

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US bans all hoverboard imports except Segway’s

US bans all hoverboard imports except Segway’s

The US, through its International Trade Commission or ITC, has formally banned all hoverboard imports coming into the country. But no, this has nothing to do with their safety. In fact, only Segway's hoverboards are except from that import ban. That's because the issue at hand is the consequence of a patent infringement case that surface last year. Practically declaring all other hoverboards to be infringing on Segway's patent, the ITC has decided to block their entry into the US, regardless of their safety.

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German court says Apple infringed on OpenTV streaming patent

German court says Apple infringed on OpenTV streaming patent

You win some, you lose some. Apple has been both on the giving as well as the receiving end of patent infringement lawsuits. And it doesn't always win those. In Germany, the Dusseldorf District Court ruled that Apple infringed on patents held by Swiss company Kudelski and its OpenTV unit. These patents relate to video streaming technologies and, as such, Apple is being ordered not to use such software in its devices sold in Germany, including iPhones, iPads, and the Apple TV.

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Amazon thinks shopping by selfie is the password killer

Amazon thinks shopping by selfie is the password killer

Smile: you've just maxed out your credit card. Amazon is looking to patent shopping by selfie, replacing passwords with using the front-facing camera to do facial recognition before it'll ship your order. The patent application, currently being considered by the US Patent & Trademark Office, describes a new way of processing a checkout where, rather than entering your PIN or passcode, your device takes you through a game of Simon Says.

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Ford patent details a movie theater on (self-driving) wheels

Ford patent details a movie theater on (self-driving) wheels

Self-driving cars — the thought of relinquishing the wheel in favor of a passive presence in one’s car is a hard pill for some to swallow, but the technology isn’t without its upsides. You’ll get to nap on the ride to work, some argue. Or, for the parents out there, you’ll get to spend those blessed minutes swaddled in utter silence, free to daydream in peace. For those who find silence uncomfortable, Ford has a different idea: self-driving cars with integrated movie projectors.

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