Tag Archives | Patents

Apple Moving Forward On Location-Based Disabling Of iPhone Cameras

Using your mobile device to take pictures of or film police, or a protest, or corporate property (or Mitt Romney speaking in a private meeting to his campaign donors) may become a relic of the past. Apple has patented its “geofencing” technology — in which camera/video phone functions will be remotely disarmed in particular locations, PetaPixel reports:

In June of last year, we reported on an unsettling patent filed by Apple that would allow certain infrared signals to remotely disable the camera on iPhones. It showed the potential downsides of bringing cameras into the world of wireless connectivity, which appears to be the next big thing in the camera industry. Now, a newly published patent is rekindling the fears of those who don’t want “Big Brother” controlling their devices.

If this type of technology became widely adopted and baked into cameras, photography could be prevented by simply setting a “geofence” around a particular location, whether it’s a movie theater, celebrity hangout spot, protest site.

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Soon Advertisements Will Involve Forced Interaction

In the near future, television commercials will make you do things, such as throwing a pickle onto an imaginary hamburger, if you want to get back to your show. Via Electronista:

Sony recently filed a patent for a new method of ad delivery that would turn television commercials into “interactive networked video games.” The patent, uncovered by Game’N’Motion, details a number of interactive commercial possibilities built on the motion and voice technologies currently available in Sony’s PlayStation 3, PlayStation Move, and PS Eye devices.

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10 Physical Gestures That Have Been Patented

Breakdancer

Photo: Chris Kirkman (CC)

Interesting article from Annalee Newitz on io9.com:

If you’re making a flicking gesture with a pen near your computer, watch out. Microsoft may own the rights to the gesture you’re making. And if you like to draw letters of the alphabet using one penstroke per letter, you may one day find yourself paying a licensing fee to Xerox.

It sounds crazy, but tech companies have been patenting physical gestures for almost two decades now. In a world ruled by touchscreens, Kinect, and Guitar Hero, these businesses don’t want people making certain gestures without paying for it. Find out which gestures you’re making that may be infringing somebody’s patents.

People have been claiming exclusive ownership of physical moves for a while. Famous choreographer Martha Graham’s company copyrighted many of her iconic dances, and even sued a man who said the work was actually his. A few years ago, the guy who copyrighted the Electric Slide dance asked YouTube to remove a video of people dancing his copyrighted moves (YouTube complied, but after some legal negotiation the choreographer made his dance available under a more open Creative Commons license.)

More on Annalee Newitz on io9.com

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Who Owns You? 20% of the Genes in Your Body are Patented (Video)

Who Owns You?Drew Halley writes on Singularity Hub:
Here’s a disconcerting thought: for the past thirty years, genes have been patentable. And we’re not just talking genetically modified corn — your genes, pretty much as they exist in your body, can and have been patented. The US government reports over three million gene patent applications have been filed so far; over 40,000 patents are held on sections of the human genome, covering roughly 20% of our genes. Upset? You’re not alone. Critics argue that the patents stifle potential research into disease, keep new treatments off the market, and bring in serious money to Big Pharma — all by exercising property claims that shouldn’t exist. After all, genes aren’t inventions, which are patentable — they’re discoveries, which aren’t. Singularity Hub recently interviewed Dr. David Koepsell ... His book Who Owns You? is currently being adapted into a documentary film, including interviews with experts like James Watson and Tim Hubbard. Check out the preview:
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93% of Soybeans, 80% of Corn Grown from Genetically-Modified Monsanto Seeds

MonsantoRainPeter Whoriskey reports in the Washington Post:

For plants designed in a lab a little more than a decade ago, they’ve come a long way: Today, the vast majority of the nation’s two primary crops grow from seeds genetically altered according to Monsanto company patents.

Ninety-three percent of soybeans. Eighty percent of corn.

The seeds represent “probably the most revolutionary event in grain crops over the last 30 years,” said Geno Lowe, a Salisbury, Md., soybean farmer.

But for farmers such as Lowe, prices of the Monsanto-patented seeds have steadily increased, roughly doubling during the past decade, to about $50 for a 50-pound bag of soybean seed, according to seed dealers.

The revolution, and Monsanto’s dominant role in the nation’s agriculture, has not unfolded without complaint. Farmers have decried the price increases, and competitors say the company has ruthlessly stifled competition.

Now Monsanto — like IBM and Google — has drawn scrutiny from U.S.

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Is Cancer Research Being Blocked By Patents?

The ACLU just joined 20 plaintiffs – including the Public Patent Office – fighting to invalidate an exclusive patent on the genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The patent has given Myriad Genetics exclusive rights to diagnostic tests – which they sell for over $3,000 – plus control over the rights to even conduct experiments on these genes!

“Gene patents undermine the free exchange of information and scientific freedom,” argues the ACLU, saying the patents also compromise the integrity of our bodies and eventually our health.

Ultimately this case could answer the question of whether it’s legal to patent a gene…

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