Week in Review: IoT, Security, Auto


Internet of Things Paris-based Parrot Drones and five other companies were selected by the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit and the U.S. Army to adapt off-the-shelf commercial drones for combat applications as part of the Army’s Short Range Reconnaissance program. SRR seeks to develop unmanned aerial vehicles that have a flight time of 30 minutes, a range of three kilometers (nearly two ... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


Intel acquired vision and video FPGA IP company Omnitek. Founded in 1998, the Basingstoke, England-based company has produced FPGA IP cores for video processing including conversion and enhancement, creating arbitrary image warps on a real time video stream, connectivity, and deep learning and AI inferencing. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Qualcomm and Apple have dropped all litigatio... » read more

Patently Absurd


One thing I like about the holiday season is that it gives me the opportunity to be a little less formal and have a little fun. I find humor within the patent system. I can remember growing up and being told that our next-door neighbor was crazy—but brilliant because he had a patent. Everyone looked to him as though he was a technology god. Later in life I learned how easy it is to get a p... » read more

Era Of 3D Printing Begins


3D printing has always been an interesting side technology. It's now about to become a mainstream technology. Until recently, the majority of applications for this technology have been limited for several reasons. First, there simply isn't enough history to bet the bank on commercial manufacturing using 3D printers. The initial patent for fused deposition modeling was issued in 1986, but ... » read more

Crazy Christmas Patents


For the past several years, I have been writing a blog that pokes fun at patent applications related to Christmas. It now appears that I am an expert in this subject matter because I received two e-mails during the course of this year. One asked how they should go about getting their Christmas ornament manufactured and marketed. The other asked if I would feature their newly released ornament i... » read more

Joint R&D Has Its Ups And Downs


As corporate spending on research and development dwindles, enterprises are reaching out to colleges and universities to supplement their R&D. And they often are finding eager partners in those endeavors, as professors and their graduate students look for help, financial and technical, in addressing long-term research projects. “Pure research is just a luxury no one can afford anymore,... » read more

Unintended Patent Consequences


Section 101 of the U.S. patent law limits the types of things for which patent protection can be sought. It says: "Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title." In 2012, the Supreme Court made what they t... » read more

Inventing Christmas


Christmas has been a tradition in many countries for a considerable number of years. In fact, some of the associated decorations, such as the Christmas Tree, have their roots in 16th century Germany. So you would think that by now there would not be too many new inventions that pass the tests of being novel and non-obvious to those skilled in the art. A quick search using Google yielded more... » read more

Laws Don’t Apply Anymore


One of the nifty things about technology is that it's always new and always being refreshed. That creates problems, though. The speed with which technology is overhauled or changed out is so much faster than the social and legal infrastructure built to support and protect the people buying it, that the two worlds are now years, if not decades, out of sync. The first whiff of this came in 198... » read more

Rethinking Patents


Over the past few years the pressure on the patent system as a means of protecting intellectual property has been tested to the limit, and many changes are being made in an attempt to keep it viable. But in an age of globalization, coupled with the fact that for the patent system to work there has to be an infrastructure of suitable enforcement, it may be time to rethink its viability—especia... » read more

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