2014
01.01

Tuesday has again arrived, and it is fitting that on the last day of 2013 there was a strong finish to the year with a large number of patents assigned to inventors and companies.

Among the names of companies that contribute significantly to the connected world, Samsung’s divisions received in total more than 150 patents this week. IBM received 127, Microsoft received 99 and Apple had 43.

Amazon Technologies received 19 patents this week. As you would expect, there was an emphasis on ways to improve order fulfillment, of which 8620707 is a good example. Recently, MIT Technology Review provided a perspective on Amazon’s technology strategy, discussing both the role of its subsidiaries, Amazon Technologies and Lab 126.

Honeywell, a significant M2M contributor of wireless devices and sensors to a broad range of industries, was granted 26 patents. One in particular, 8620487, describes a kiosk for use as a vehicular screening system, incorporating a range of biometric, barcode and RFID scanners to verify the vehicle occupant’s security clearance.

Contactless card transaction systems were featured this week. First Data Corp., a giant in credit card transaction processing services, was granted Patent 8616441. It describes systems and methods for processing a financial transaction associated with a contactless transaction card. The Near Field Communications (NFC) standards cover secure contactless transactions, both in the traditional credit card format as well as smartphones. For more information about NFC, visit NFC on Wikipedia.

Google, with 56 patents this week, had the other contactless technology patent,  8621168, which describes the partitioning of name space on a contactless card. This is an important development. If you think of NFC chips, which are in credit cards and smartphones, think of them as capable of having more than one secure application with which it can transact. The available secure name space can be partitioned to provide multiple applications. You can now think of this as real estate, similar to a Mall with its many stores. Retailers, brands and other service providers can coexist securely on the NFC chip. Let’s see what Google does with this one.

Google’s patents this week were diverse and very provocative. Let’s focus on two that have significant implications for social networks. The first, Patent 8621215, describes a way to create monetary accounts for members in a social network. Each member is assigned a “trust factor” and the methodology of the system determines whether to allow for a trusted relationship among the members interested in establishing monetary accounts with each other. Can we expect to see this deployed on Google+ in the future?

The other provocative patent that Google was granted this week, 8621366, proposes the use of comic strips to enable communication between members of a social network. Using a simplified user interface, one member can create a comic strip to communicate a message to another member. This one will be very interesting to see play out as the creativity of social networkers is boundless.

Speaking of creativity, it is fitting to conclude this week’s review with a patent that fits the New Year’s Eve festivities and will no doubt be a hot seller for 2014’s year end parties. And in the category of “You can’t make this stuff up,” I give you the Disco Ball Headware, Patent 8620906.

Happy New Year to you all!

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