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Showing posts from June, 2017

Electric Heavy Duty Vehicles

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In the current trend toward zero-emission, hydrocarbon-free forms of transportation, focus has primarily been on light passenger vehicles given the longer-haul nature of most heavy duty vehicle duty cycles as well as the high amounts of torque required for such heavy duty vehicles.  However, recent advancements in technology as well as higher customer demand for electrification is pushing some heavy duty vehicle manufacturers to explore hybrid and all-electric powertrain options.  One sector of the heavy duty vehicle market that is particularly attractive for hybrid or electric powertrains is delivery trucks and other in-town vehicles that have smaller torque requirements and typically include low mileage duty cycles, such as garbage trucks.  To this end, multiple companies, including Volvo and Daimler, have introduced all-electric heavy duty vehicles intended for short-range deliveries; Motiv Power Systems is building electric powertrains for garbage trucks.
There are many obstacles…

Internet of Things Continued: Subject Matter Eligibility

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In the first part of this three-part series on issues related to obtaining and enforcing patent protection issues in the IoT space, we touched on circumstances related to divided infringement, and subject matter eligibility.  In this second part, we continue the discussion related to subject matter eligibility, by providing some examples of how to structure claims to avoid invoking rejections based on claims directed to an abstract idea, and provide examples of strategies to potentially overcome close prior art references. 
            As an example, there may be cases where an examiner may deem an IoT-based concept patent-ineligible due to prior art in which a non-IoT sensor of sorts is utilized in some fashion to accomplish a similar goal as the stated goal of the IoT-based concept.  In other words, if a certain concept is already known that uses a non-IoT sensor, it may be challenging to assert novelty where an IoT-based concept accomplishes a similar goal as prior art using a no…

Autonomous Vehicles: Patenting Outside-the-box

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Autonomous vehicle technology has the potential to profoundly alter transportation as we know it.  Aside from a fundamental sea change in the public’s perception of transportation in general, autonomous vehicle technology has the potential to alter the makeup of roadways by enabling an easing of traffic congestion due to vehicles being able to travel more efficiently and closer together, to promote safer car travel, and to potentially reduce carbon emissions if combined, for example, with electric technology.
In an industry with so much potential, there are of course innumerable opportunities for development of intellectual property portfolios related to autonomous vehicles.  The focus of today’s post is to emphasize that in such an industry with so much potential, it is important to think outside the box in search of new ideas and strategies.  As an example, consider a recent patent (US 9340178 B1) granted to Google, which aims to reduce “secondary impact” in a situation where a pede…

The Internet of Things Part I: Patent Prosecution Issues

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Like any emerging technology, entrepreneurs and companies developing applications in the IoT space will seek patent protection for their inventions.  However, obtaining strong patent protection in the IoT space presents unique challenges.  For example, where do you focus protection?
Consider an example regarding the emerging technology of autonomous vehicles.  Such vehicles may rely heavily on IoT technologies, including vehicles equipped with IoT-enabled sensors capable of reporting on various variables such as vehicle position with respect to other vehicles and obstacles, environmental parameters which may be utilized to control aspects of vehicle controls, etc.  Furthermore, autonomous vehicles may utilize IoT-based information to assist in navigation, including IoT sensors located at strategic positions on a smart highway, in a smart city’s traffic-control architecture, etc.
The inherent difficulty in obtaining patent protection thus lies in that it is likely that there may be nu…