IP Recap #51

June 28, 2018


USPTO Turns 10 Million

Coherent LADAR Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection

The Story
Speculation had been rife about when the USPTO would issue the landmark patent number 10,000,000. Some parties even pinned it down to the exact day by using grant trends, but the wait is over and the patent was granted on, as predicted, the 19th June to Raytheon for their LADAR system.

Why it Matters
The USPTO has existed since 1790, it has taken 120 years to hit 10M grants, with the grant rate going up every year at an increasing rate. A surprising coincidence is that 3 of the numerical landmark patents highlighted by IAM are for vehicle tech, which could be an application of Raytheon’s system in patent 10M. Interestingly, the Chinese patent office was only established in 1980, yet granted almost half a million patents in 2016, suggesting they may be able to hit the 10M mark in a fraction of the time it took the US, due to how filing rates are so much higher now than they were even 50 years ago.

Should you Patent that?

Not everything should be made public

Trade Secret

The Story
Flying in the face of the “more is better” view of patents and innovation, with the more filings a company has being an indicator they are “more innovative”, IPWatchdog recently posted a piece on IP strategy discussing non-patent forms of innovation protection. They draw attention to the use of innovative algorithms and other relatively hidden, back-end innovation and suggest patents aren’t ideal and instead trade secrets should be considered.

Why it Matters
Trade secrets are an often overlooked way of protecting an invention. While they may have less clout when it comes to statistical comparisons, and won’t boost your place on the leaderboard when comparing yourself to your competitors, it may be a better form of protection for some innovations. Where an invention is unlikely to be reverse-engineered or otherwise uncovered by your competitors, it may be better to simply ensure it is properly protected via secrecy, which lasts forever, compared to a public disclosure in a patent that could be extremely difficult to enforce.

Facebook Gets Predictive

What algorithms may come from this?

facebook patent

The Story
Facebook is always looking for ways to get users to post more content to keep the platform buzzing with new things for your friends to see when they log in. They are also likely to try and target content to you that is most relevant to what you have going on or your interests. As a result, Facebook has invested heavily in tech to try and correlate your online behavior with your personal life.

Why it Matters
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica controversy, there’s a chance that they will be apprehensive about bringing third parties into the fold to do analysis on their users’ data. As such, homegrown algorithmic measures like this are going to prove key to Facebook’s capability when it comes to providing users with key content. In this instance, it surrounds detecting/predicting a life event based on activity on your profile, which could be key for suggesting a post, or marketing content to you.


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