Google has recently enjoyed some speedy service from the US Patent and Trademark Office. Most patents take three years to get. Google received the above patent today — obviously relating to its Google Glasses project — in just months.
Its application was never even published.
The above patent, called a “nose bridge sensor” is US Patent No. 8,184,067.
What is highly unusual is that today’s publication of the Nose patent was the first time the world found out that Google filed this application at all. Patent applications only publish after 18 months — and this patent’s application was filed less than a year ago.
According to USPTO records, Google filed the patent July 20, 2011 and it sat in the patent office until October 26, 2011. That’s when the office agreed to award the application what is known as accelerated examination status.
Just one month later, the patent examiner issued his first notice of allowance for the application. That is highly unusual. Click here for a list of all Google’s newly granted patents.
Google’s new ‘067 patent discloses a device configured to select an action that matches a power state transition on a head-mounted display (HMD) in the form of eyeglasses. I’ll explain the patent in a moment. First, let’s focus on this speedy Google service and how it happened.
How did it work?
Well, Google employed some relatively new patent office rules that provide accelerated examination. Google obtained the patent by following the patent office’s fairly new procedures for accelerated examination. Among other things, these procedures call for the patent applicant to perform its own prior art search and submit it to the Patent Office.
Among other things, Google provided a prior art search for the examiner who just gave Google reps a phone call on Nov. 17, 2011. That was to discuss the application before issuing a notice of allowance for the application on Nov. 29.
As you can see from the documents behind the patent, this nose patent app was sailing speedily to issuance as a patent — until Google spotted some additional prior art that needed to be made of record. The patent examiner reviewed these references on March 20, 2012 and found that the application still merited a patent nonetheless.
Once an examiner has “allowed” a patent application, it typically takes several months for another part of the patent office to print the patent.
With an average pendency rate of nearly three years, Google received really fast service here. In fact, some of the hotter technology areas have even greater pendency rates.
Interestingly, Google also indicated in the patent file history that it was not planning to file foreign counterpart applications to this this patent – meaning that patent protection will only exist in the U.S.
Looking at the USPTO database, it is really clear here that Google has been focusing on a rapid strengthening of its patent protection in display technologies.
Last week, the company received a fair amount of attention when the USPTO granted it three design patents on various models of wearable display devices. These were just patents on frame designs.
A design patent protects only the ornamental features of a product and cannot provide any protection for technical features. One design shows a regular pair of glasses with a wraparound viewer (US D659,741). A second design shows a wraparound viewer with no lenses (D659,739). A third design merely covers a wearable device frame – no lenses and no viewer (D659,740). This week Google was awarded another design patent – this time on just a piece of the wraparound viewer (D660,341).
The Nose patent is a significant one, though. According to the patent, it is based around a signal received from a sensor on a nose bridge of the eyeglasses. That indicates if the HMD is in use.
For example, eyeglasses with an on-board computing system and projector may have a lens elements configured to display a projected image or graphic. The lens elements may also be sufficiently transparent to allow a user to see through it.
According to the patent, the two features of the lens elements can be combined to form an HMD, aka a heads-up display system. Additionally, the patent says the system may be connected to or affixed within a head-mounted structure to create a head-mounted display.
As I noted, the ‘067 patent discloses that a user can engage an action associated with the state transition of the HMD action, and that may be engaged associated with a state transition of the HMD.
So the action may also be a sequence of functions performed by the HMD including modifying an operating state of a primary processing component of the HMD and a detector of the HMD configured to image an environment.
For example, a tactile sensor on a wearable computing device may be used to detect inputs from a user of the wearable computing device. An accelerometer may detect motion of the wearable computing device and provide information to the user.
While last week’s focus was on three design patents, what most observers failed to notice was that the USPTO last Tuesday also granted Google 22 other patents. These were patents for technical inventions and not mere designs.
Some of the bolder inventions related to patent applications that Google purchased from third parties.
For instance, Google’s new “portable scanning device” patent discloses a hand-held optical scanning (OCR) device. It is one in a series of patents and applications purchased by Google from Holland’s Exbiblio B.V. (US 8179563).
This patent contained a huge — no, an enormous — amount of applicant-disclosed prior art: a jaw-dropping 14 pages before the first drawing sheet even appears.
Google’s new “modular wireless communicator” patent describes a device that aims to turn non-wireless devices into wireless ones by coupling to a wireless communicator device was also a purchase — Google bought it from Israel’s Modu Ltd. (US 8180395) records show.
Google’s “Phase control by active thermal adjustments in an external cavity laser” patent relates to optical transmitters for optical communications and was purchased from Italy’s PGT Photonics S.P.A. (US 8179930).
Google’s new 8,181,254 patent has claims relating to a computer-implemented method for implementing default security features for web applications and browser extensions.
The method calls for reviewing the web application or browser extension to determine whether it conforms to a default security profile and alerting the user if the new application does not conform. The user then is able to reject the new application or extension – or override the warning and accept the new application or extension.
The company’s new 8,181,197 patent, titled “system and method for voting on popular video intervals,” discloses an invention for identifying popular intervals in online hosted videos.
To determine popular intervals associated with a video, votes for intervals of the video are collected and organized into groups. Each group includes votes for intervals of the video that are similar. The group having the highest number of votes is identified, and a most popular clip of the video is formed based upon the intervals in the group with the highest number of votes. Google offers a voting system in Youtube now. This is now apparently patent-protected.
But wait, there’s more.
Google’s new 8,181,124 patent, titled “method and apparatus for notification on an electronic handheld device using an attention manager” discloses an attention manager that controls application demand for a user’s attention in a palm-sized computer system.
The Attention Manager is able to receive multiple attention requests from a variety of applications. With each new attention request received, according to the patent, you get an indication of a record that needs a user’s attention.
The Attention Manager then stores the request in memory and determines if there are other outstanding attention requests that have not been cleared. Depending on the number of outstanding requests, the Attention Manager sends a request for record information in list or detail format.
The company’s 8,181,048 patent, titled “performing power management operations,” relates to and discloses a memory circuit power management system. This is an interface circuit that communicates with a multiple memory circuits and a system.
In use, the interface circuit performs a power management operation associated with only a portion of the memory circuits.
Google’s new 8,180,851 patent, titled “management of pre-fetched mapping data incorporating user-specified locations,” discloses pre-fetched mapping of tile data for displaying graphic elements in a web-based mapping system on a mobile computing device.
A request for mapping system data may be sent from a mobile computing device to a remote mapping system via a network connection.
The request may include user-specified location data. The remote mapping system may retrieve the mapping data corresponding to the user-specified location data and send it to the mobile computing device via the network connection.
The mobile computing device may receive the retrieved mapping data and display a selectable option to store or not store the mapping data in a cache memory of the mobile computing device. The retrieved mapping data may then be stored at the mobile computing device in response to selection of the option to store the mapping data.
Google’s US 8,180,782 patent, titled, “online ranking metric,” discloses an invention for ranking resources of various types. Signals reporting actions by multiple users related to a respective resource are received, where a reported action is a presentation of the respective resource, an addition of the respective resource, or a deletion of the respective resource.
The reported actions include one or more short deletions of the respective resource. A respective long-addition click-through rate (LACTR) may be determined for the respective resource based on a number of reported presentations of the respective resource and a difference between a number of reported additions of the respective resource and a number of short deletions of the respective resource. The plurality of resources may be ranked based on the respective LACTRs for the plurality of resources.
And then there’s Google’s new 8,180,778 patent, titled “generating action trails from web history,” which discloses an invention for generating action trails from Web history. The patent method includes receiving a web content access history of a user.
The content access history including user actions, with each user action associated with a content item upon which the user action is performed, identifying one or more action trails from the content access history. Each action trail, according to the patent, includes a sequence of user actions performed with content items relating to a topic.
The invention calls for identifying a particular action trail includes clustering the user actions into a series of segments using temporal criteria; calculating semantic similarities between the content items, and adding a segment of the series of segments to the action trail when the semantic similarities between the segment and another segment satisfy a similarity threshold.
That’s what Google got today. Here’s the full list of Google’s new patents for last Tuesday, May 15. The USPTO only issues new patents on Tuesdays.
1 D659,741 Wearable display device
2 D659,740 Wearable display device frame
3 D659,739 Wearable display device
4 8,181,254 Setting default security features for use with web applications and extensions
5 8,181,197 System and method for voting on popular video intervals
6 8,181,124 Method and apparatus for notification on an electronic handheld device using an attention manager
7 8,181,048 Performing power management operations
8 8,180,851 Management of pre-fetched mapping data incorporating user-specified locations
9 8,180,782 Online ranking metric
10 8,180,778 Generating action trails from web history
11 8,180,776 Variable personalization of search results in a search engine
12 8,180,760 Organization system for ad campaigns
13 8,180,756 Similarity-based searching
14 8,180,725 Method and apparatus for selecting links to include in a probabilistic generative model for text
15 8,180,667 Rewarding creative use of product placements in user-contributed videos
16 8,180,583 Methods and systems to determine a context of a device
17 8,180,395 Modular wireless communicator
18 8,180,289 Public kiosk providing near field communication services
19 8,179,930 Phase control by active thermal adjustments in an external cavity laser
20 8,179,742 Listening with multiple computing devices
21 8,179,604 Wearable marker for passive interaction
22 8,179,563 Portable scanning device
23 8,179,370 Proximity based keystroke resolution
24 8,179,095 Estimating remaining use time of a mobile device
25 8,178,997 Supplying grid ancillary services using controllable loads
And to recap, here are the patents that issued to Google on May 22, 2012:
1. D660,341 Wearable display device section
2. 8,185,830 Configuring a content document for users and user groups
3. 8,185,819 Module specification for a module to be incorporated into a container document
4. 8,185,762 Low power display
5. 8,185,591 Systems and methods for viewing email attachments as thumbnails
6. 8,185,564 Redirection of embedded content
7. 8,185,561 Scalable user clustering based on set similarity
8. 8,185,544 Generating improved document classification data using historical search results
9. 8,185,543 Video image-based querying for video content
10. 8,185,534 Consolidated record generation with stable identifiers for data integration systems
11. 8,185,522 Document scoring based on query analysis
12. 8,185,492 Messaging application with multiple viewports for presenting messages in different orders
13. 8,185,419 Incremental searching with partial solutions for multi-passenger multi-route travel planning
14. 8,185,418 Multi-passenger multi-route travel planning
15. 8,185,392 Adapting enhanced acoustic models
16. 8,185,387 Automatic gain control
17. 8,185,375 Word alignment with bridge languages
18. 8,184,983 Wireless directional identification and subsequent communication between wearable electronic devices
19. 8,184,953 Selection of hash lookup keys for efficient retrieval
20. 8,184,070 Method and system for selecting a user interface for a wearable computing device
21. 8,184,069 Systems and methods for adaptive transmission of data
22. 8,184,068 Processing objects for separate eye displays
23. 8,184,067 Nose bridge sensor
24. 8,183,997 Displaying sound indications on a wearable computing system