Patents on Anti-Piracy Software that Use Creative Tactics to Protect Intellectual Property

With hundreds of millions of people involved in online piracy each month, unauthorized file-sharing costs entertainment industry companies and content owners billions of dollars each year. To address this problem, NBC Universal has patented a system for detecting high-volume peer-to-peer file-sharing activity. Peer-to-peer file sharing can be used for lawful purposes, but it is often an indicator of online piracy. This high-volume file-sharing, called a “swarm,” also puts strain on internet service provider networks. NBC’s new system can detect and target these swarms. The system functions by setting a threshold of data activity. When enough data is being exchanged, an alarm is triggered and high-risk swarms are then tagged. The data collected from swarms can be used to issue “takedown messages” to internet service providers, and to throttle or limit network resources.

Sign of Booming R&D: IBM Obtains Record Number of Patents in 2017

Growth in these fields has spurred the development of high-performance microchips, including ones from IBM. Other areas with rapid growth include 3-D printing, cloud technology, and drones. Overall, the most popular category of patents are related to hardware and software for digital data processing. IBM had the highest projected number of patent family applications in 2017, and 9,043 patents were assigned to the technology company. For the 25th year in a row, IBM received more patents than any other company. IBM’s 9,043 patents include 1,400 related to artificial intelligence and 1,200 related to cybersecurity. It also obtained patents for simplifying blockchain transactions and machine learning patents involving autonomous vehicle behavior in emergencies.

Who Owns a Patent? The Employer or Employee? The Student or University? It Depends.

Generally, if you create patent-eligible products, including software, while at work or performing your duties as an employee, your employer owns the patent. Under U.S. patent law, the original patent applicant is assumed to be the patent owner, unless there is an assignment of interest in the patent to another person or entity. The law is murkier when you create something as an employee, but with your own resources. The outcome may also be different depending on the state law that applies. Employee pre-invention assignment agreements are key to protecting a company’s assets and research investments. Assignment agreements have become common, not only in engineering and computer science related work, but in any type of creative field.

Low on Time or Money? Try a Provisional Patent

There is a lot at stake when applying for a patent. Depending on how you write the claims and the specification of your patent application, and how you prosecute the patent in front of the Patent Office, you could lose potential patent rights at any point in the examination process. Filing A Patent Application Before you file a patent application, you should determine what types of patent applications apply to your invention, e.g. utility, design, and/or plant. Then you should determine your filing status: ● Large Entity - These entities pay full application fees ● Small Entity - Universities, nonprofits, individuals & small business (generally defined as having fewer than 500 employees) can receive a 50% discount on application fees ● Micro Entity - Individuals with a gross income less than 3 times the U.S. median household income, who qualify as a Small Entity, and who have not previously been named as an inventor on more than four U.S. patent applications can receive a 75% discount on their application fees.

Prior Art Primer

As you may already know, before a patent can be issued, a formal patent application must be filed with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). A patent application contains both a description of the invention written in a way to enable others to make and use the invention and one or more patent claims identifying what aspects of the invention will be owned exclusively by the patent holder if the patent is granted.

Benefits of Utility Model Patent Protection in China

There are many countries around the world that have a system in place for protecting minor inventions, such as Germany, Australia, Japan and South Korea. China has implemented this type of system via utility model patents. The Chinese Utility Model is generally meant to protect simpler improvements such as new apparatus, shapes or structures (processes and compositions of matter are excluded), but utility model patents can actually be used broadly by companies because they tend to be faster, easier and less expensive to obtain, while providing many of the same benefits and features as invention patents. However, unlike Chinese invention patents which can last for 20 years from the filing date, utility model patents have only a 10 year term of protection.

Disney’s Soft Robot

Disney Imagineers recognized several years ago that there is a need for robots that can safely interact with children. With this in mind, they designed a robot with soft and deformable body parts. To test their design, the Imagineers prototyped a small toy-sized robot with soft body parts (e.g., a soft skin), and found that […]