FirstNews Briefs: ZTE, Hillcrest Labs

Wireless Week (9/8/2015)

ZTE and Hillcrest Labs have announced that ZTE, a manufacturer of smartphones and mobile devices, is using both Hillcrest’s Freespace motion and sensor hub software to enhance its flagship Axon and Star series smartphones with advanced sensor processing and context awareness features.

Read more at Wireless Week.


How IP Practice is Changing

Managing Intellectual Property (08/26/15),  James Nurton

Managing Intellectual Property 

Taken to extremes, that begs questions such as: could a robot do your job? Would it be better than you are? CIPA, the UK’s patent attorney association, is holding a debate on exactly that topic in November (motion: “This House believes it is inevitable that, within 25 years, a patent will be filed and granted without human intervention”). In a recent article, Charles WK Gritton, chief technology officer of Hillcrest Labs, went even further, asking “Will Watson [the IBM supercomputer, pictured left] make patents obsolete?”

Read more at Managing Intellectual Property.

Will Watson Make Patents Obsolete

ECN (8/21/2015), Charles W.K. Gritton, Hillcrest Labs

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Hollywood and science fiction authors often imagine machines taking over the world. After IBM’s Watson’s famous Jeopardy win, the concern about our intelligent creations has intensified. This article looks at one specific concern. Does the rise of true machine intelligence threaten to render patents obsolete?

Read more at ECN.


Motion for User Interfaces

EE Journal (7/9/2015), Bryon Moyer




We’ve looked before at ways of controlling machines with just your hands in the air, like you just don’t care. No touchy-feely, no mouse. Just jazz hands. So at first, when I saw a demo of what we’re going to talk about today, I thought … it also had a flavor of what I’d seen with Movea and Hillcrest, except that their technologies involved remote controls doing what just hands were doing in this case.

Read more at EE Journal.


The secrets of obviousness (in patents): Secret 3

ECN (6/9/2015), Charles W.K. Gritton, Hillcrest Labs

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Secrets #1 and #2 make it clear that we don’t know how to judge obviousness objectively.  But do we understand how inventions happen? An old proverb declares that “necessity is the mother of invention.”  In other words, the proverb declares that the recognition of the problem is the key step towards inventing.  Once the need is clear, as Yoda would say, “there is no try”; the Jedi inventor doesn’t just try, s/he invents.

Read more at ECN.


The secrets of obviousness (in patents): Secret 2

ECN (6/8/2015), Charles W.K. Gritton, Hillcrest Labs

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The Wizard didn’t want Dorothy and her gang to notice him behind the curtain.  Similarly, in the patent world, when deciding obviousness, it is well established that one should not use the invention itself as an evidentiary roadmap.  The term for this error is hindsight reconstruction or hindsight bias … So everyone agrees that hindsight bias is bad.  But the secret that everyone knows, but no one wants to admit, is that hindsight reconstruction happens all the time.

Read more at ECN.


The secrets of obviousness (in patents): Secret 1

ECN (6/4/2015), Charles W.K. Gritton, Hillcrest Labs

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This three-part column will focus on obviousness.  The center of most patent cases, obviousness is quite difficult to define … The difficulty with obviousness flows from three layers of knowledge – or, rather, wisdom – about patents.  Each layer can only be fully appreciated or learned after one has mastered the one above it.  Even many experienced practitioners and interested parties don’t fully appreciate these facts.  I’ve therefore termed them “secrets”. 
I present them here in sequence, in the hope that the reader finishes the article far wiser than when s/he began.

Read more at ECN.