US Patent and Trademark Office Stories August 7, 2012

Apple granted patent for app to assist shoppers in finding best prices

Patently Apple covered an Apple Inc. patent today published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that appears to be related to an app designed to assist shoppers by providing product and retailer information for scanned items. The invention would provide similar functionality to various third-party apps currently in the App Store that use barcode scanning and image recognition to search the web for product information and price comparisons. Patently Apple explained:

Apple has received their first Granted Patent relating to methods for conducting shopping-related transactions with a handheld electronic device. In some embodiments a mobile electronic device may be used to identify a product and obtain pricing information relevant to retailers of the product within a specified geographical location. In another embodiment, a mobile electronic device may be used to acquire pricing information for a shopping list of products. Embodiments may also include a variety of features that make the shopping experience quick and efficient while allowing the consumer to hunt for a better bargain. Furthermore, several embodiments also allow the product manufacturers and/or retailers to distribute relevant product information to targeted consumers who are known to be, or who may be, interested in buying a particular product.

US Patent and Trademark Office Stories March 20, 2012

Late last year, the New York Times did a great interactive feature on the 323 Patents that Steve Jobs was granted as CEO of Apple.

From Patently Apple today:

Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a design patent for their flagship Shanghai Apple Store which opened its doors in September 2010. One of the designers credited for this incredible architecture is the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

He keeps racking them up… expand full story

US Patent and Trademark Office Stories August 23, 2011

Apple has won 16 new patents published by the the US Patent and Trademark Office today (via PatentlyApple) that cover everything from possible methods of charging future Apple products via solar power, to key multi-touch technology and iOS camera related patents. Certainly more fuel for the ongoing patent wars between Apple and the rest of the smartphone industry.

We already know Apple is experimenting with solar power from past patents, even going as far as considering which company would produce panels for future products. We also heard reports in March of a superthin solar panel layer from French company Wysips that could be rolling out to handset manufactures within a year. Today one of the 16 newly granted patents gets us a step closer by detailing “methods and apparatuses for operating devices with solar power”.

PatentlyApple explains:

“a solar power tracking apparatus includes, but is not limited to, a voltage converter and a controller coupled to the voltage converter. The voltage converter includes an input capable of being coupled to a solar power source and an output capable of being coupled to an electronic load, such as, for example, a portable electronic device. The voltage converter is configured to monitor or detect an amount of power drawn by the electronic load at the output of the voltage converter. In response to the monitored power drawn, the controller is configured to control the voltage converter to reduce amount of power to be drawn subsequently if the monitored amount of power exceeds a predetermined threshold. As a result, the output voltage from the solar power source is maintained within a predetermined range.”

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