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BananaIP Counsels > Patents (Page 60)

Sense your Surroundings – Patents for the Blind 5

This image depicts a person wearing a black glass. This image is relevant as the post is about Wearable navigation assistance for the vision-impaired. Click on the image for more information

In my earlier posts (Post1, Post2, Post3, Post4), we discussed the mobility of a visually disabled person that is directly proportional to his awareness of the environment. The more he knows about his surroundings, the easier it gets for him to move around. An issue in achieving this, is the extent of the person’s sensory involvement. Most blind people use auditory signals to understand the state of the environment and a navigation device is better off leaving sound signals alone.

The touch is another sense that is extensively used for mobility. Owing to the human body’s largest organ, the sense of touch, heat, etc, can effectively be used to send signals about the environment without disturbing hearing abilities or standard touch spots like fingers. US Patent Application: 20140184384Wearable navigation assistance for the vision-impaired proposes a very innovative use of existing technology to achieve said end. Published in July, 2014, the first claim of the patent reads as follows:

James Cameron: Revolution of Underwater Cinematography

This image depicts world renowned Movie Director James Cameron holding a Camera. This image is relevant as he has earn accolades for his Underwater Cinematography. Click on the image for more information

A movie, a series of pictures, combined with sound effects and the lighting, is entertainment to people and business to its makers. But a truly good movie is something that touches people at their deepest emotions and leave an impression. When I think of a film director who has given audience some of the best films, one person that strikes my mind is James Francis Cameron.

Some of his works include Titanic, Aliens, Rambo: First Blood Part II and so on. After Titanic, he began working on a project that took almost 10 years to make. The movie is none other than Avatar, which took the film industry by storm, and he received nominations in three Academy Award Categories.

Patent War: Is the US Arm-twisting India?

This image depicts a man twisting the arm of another person. This image is relevant as the topic itself has the question whether US is arm-twisting India. Click on the image for more information

India’s domestic Patent Laws have flourished prominently and recent patent rulings have suggested that Indian Patent Laws are consumer friendly. However, recent discussions with the US prompted a need for us to defend our IPR regime. In their view, the underlying Indian Law still tends to favor weaker rather than stronger protection of IP.

A number of issues raised in negotiations on TRIPS regime for implementation of Patent Laws in developing countries such as India have been selected to the satisfaction of developed counties such as the US and certain European countries. There are still a few issues which may be the subject of future interpretation in dispute settlement or in discussion in the TRIPS Council. Apart from Biological inventions and limits to patent rights such as Parallel Trade or Compulsory Licenses, this post covers other issues that will be discussed extensively in times to follow.

Distant Touch – Patents for the Blind 4

This image depicts a blind man holding a stick and trying to cross a road. This image is relevant as a patent has been awarded known as Orientation aid for the blind and the visually disabled. Click on this image for more information

A cane, as I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts, is a blind person’s lifeline. It allows a person to make his way around by means of touch from a distance. The length of the cane may vary based on a person’s height, and on an average, it allows a blind person to feel for objects up to about a distance of 1.2 metres.

Traditional canes operate completely on the basis of touch. Owing to the development of sensing technology from deploying infrared rays to lasers, several people have tried to make contactless canes. Whatever technology they may use, these canes will have an emitting and receiving device, which can detect objects, contours and whatever else they can detect on the street and relay the information to the user by means of audio or haptic signals.

A US patent (US Patent No.: 6298010) entitled Orientation aid for the blind and the visually disabled describes an invention for the blind, which provides tactile signals. This solves two important problems – 1. It does away with complex signal interpretation issues, and 2. It allows a blind person to use his hearing faculties along with the technology. The first claim of the patent reads:

Patentability of Laws of Nature

This image depicts the Court Hammer. This image is relevant as patent has been rejected for the Laws of Nature. Click on the image for more information

Today we will discuss a case where a patent was rejected based on the patent ineligible subject matter.

Mayo Collaborative Services (Appellants) and Prometheus Laboratories (Respondents)

Patents in Dispute: US 6,355,623 and US 6,680,302

Case: Prometheus had an exclusive license over these patents and Mayo was using diagnostic kits based on these patents from Prometheus until 2004 after which Mayo developed its own diagnostic tests for the same purpose. Prometheus sued Mayo for infringement at the District Court in 2004.

The claims of the patents were directed to a method of treating a patient with auto-immune gastrointestinal disorder by determining the level of metabolite produced subsequent to drug administration thus optimizing the dose of the drug to be administered.

Father of the Electronic Idiot Box

This image depicts Philo Fransworth with a Television of the medieval era. This image is relevant as the post is about patent of the Idiot Box. Click on this image for more information

Mr. Fransworth is regarded as the Father of Television. I would rename him as Father of Electronic Television, as most of us, including me, have learned in our school days that Mr. John Logie Baird is the Father of Television. The truth is Mr. Baird’s television was based on electro-mechanical systems, whereas Mr. Fransworth’s television was electronic. Mr. Fransworth showed glimpses of his brilliance since childhood by describing and diagramming a television in 1921, when he was just 14 years old. After dropping out of college due to adverse financial conditions, at the age of 20, Mr. Fransworth resumed his scientific work.

Intellectual Property Protection for Computer Programs – Part III

In continuation to the previous post in this series, we will today be looking into copyright protection of computer software. As discussed in the previous post, Copyright Law came as an answer to the protection of computer programs at a time when the importance of Trade Secret Law for the same was dwindling.

A computer program, being composed of source codes can be brought under the ambit of literary works in Copyright Law. The basic principle governing Copyright Law is the idea / expression dichotomy. As per this principle, Copyright Law only protects the expression of ideas and not the ideas per se. While talking about the principle of the idea / expression dichotomy, it should be admitted that there has always been a lack of clarity regarding what constitutes an idea and what constitutes an expression. This inherent lack of clarity in Copyright Law combined with the complexity of a computer program prevents Copyright Law from being an effective system of protection.

Sound CAPTCHA – Patents for the Blind 3

This image depicts Sound Captcha written over it with a red color background. This image is relevant as A patent granted to Towson University was granted this patent to validate captcha for blind person using their voice. Click on this image for more information

At one point, access to technology, especially the Internet, was only a dream for the visually disabled. For a long time, online tools were not accessible owing to either the lack of availability or high cost. But today, popular screen reading software applications like Job Access With Speech (JAWS) and open source screen reading software applications like NVDA are available for free. These applications allow a blind person to access a computer and perform several of its functions without the need of a screen!

Accessing the Internet was initially not very easy, but as days passed several modules were added to screen readers, and now, almost 50% of the Internet, especially the text based part, is accessible to the blind. Among the accessible websites, one common roadblock encountered by the visually disabled is the CAPTCHA.

CAPTCHA, Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, is a method used to prevent automated programs from accessing secure websites. CAPTCHA normally displays an image, the data in which must be manually entered into another text box to authenticate a human user. Though Google’s RE-CAPTCHA provides an audio alternative, its success rate is less than 50%. I used this several times, and succeeded only once.

Intellectual Property Protection for Computer Programs – Part I

A computer program is an intellectual creation and can be protected by Intellectual Property (IP) Law, particularly by Copyright and Patent Laws. The manner of IP protection for computer programs is a hot topic of debate, primarily due to the fact that current IP regimes are not effective in dealing with their protection comprehensively. There is a lot of ambiguity with regard to their protection because of the technical complexities in computer programs and the difficulty in integrating them with existing IP laws.

Software does not fit comfortably into established legal categories. For instance, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to allowing protection of software under the Copyright Law without extending the copyright protection to ideas, and the scope of Patent protection of computer programs, as such, is opposed to its protection of computer-implemented inventions. Thus, these IP regimes seem to be unsuccessful in providing effective protection to computer programs, resulting in the need for the establishment of a more practical mechanism for this purpose.

Misunderstood World of Patents!

The concept of law or the legal system is not new. But when someone says “I work in Intellectual Property Law, as a Patent Advocate,” he is often met with a look of incredulity. The path of Patents is less traveled and it is no surprise that there are several misconceptions regarding Patents in the mind of the layman. Here’s unraveling some of the most common myths about Patents.

1. I’ve got an Idea. I should get a patent.

This is a very common misconception about patents. Patents are not granted to merely ideas. To patent an idea, there must be some form of material embodiment of the idea. It must be transformed into a process or product so that it manifests as an invention to the Patent Office.

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