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News Feed and Competitive Insights

Every week, the Magic Number team connects intellectual property changes with market activity.

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FedEx Ships Dell as a Partner

Edge Computing Patent Forecast®

November 19, 2020

FedEx and Dell recently announced a partnership to build a mini-datacenter that will help FedEx utilize edge computing for its logistics facilities. The goal is to expand the use of advanced robotics and automation, as well as more advanced tracking technologies. The partnership also includes Switch, a datacenter vendor.

This partnership comes even though Dell has a low profile in edge computing with only nine (9) patent documents within the last three years. This partnership could be a signal for things to come, and it would not be surprising to see Dell seek out startups that fit within its vision to acquire and build Dell's patent portfolio. This move is also a sign that there are more large business partnerships to be made, as other shippers like UPS will look to compete and retailers that manage large amounts of shipments like Target will need to remain competitive. Because Amazon utilizes its own technologies to take advantage of the most cutting-edge technology, other retailers will have to move quickly to find companies and startups that can help them transition to these advanced capabilities in order to stay competitive.

To see more about edge computing and the most recent patent applications, check out the Magic Number® Edge Computing Patent Forecast®!

Three Year Snapshot of Edge Computing (Dell Highlighted)

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Cannabis Could Treat One of US’s Largest Threats

Cannabis Patent Forecast®

November 19, 2020

The leading and fifth leading cause of death in the United States may have just met their match.

Indication BioScience LLC was granted its first patent (US Patent No. 10,835,501) in November of 2020 for a pharmaceutical composition containing a statin and a cannabinoid for treating high cholesterol - the US’s silent killer. Getting off to a great start, Indication BioScience filed a child patent application (US Patent Application No.17/075,586) on October 20, 2020, claiming priority to the recently granted ‘501 patent. This is beneficial since additional information can be included and claimed. In addition, Indication BioScience has filed a PCT application for the ‘501 patent, suggesting that they will also be exploring international markets.

Founded in 2016, Indication BioScience is an early-stage drug developer located in Colorado. Indication BioScience claims on its website that it wants to indicate and establish a portfolio of intellectual properties to license to larger pharmaceutical manufacturers. Who could be interested in its patent?

For starters, the major statin drug Lipitor is manufactured by Fortune 500 company Pfizer Inc. They could show interest in the statin-cannabinoid drug once it receives FDA approval. Currently, GW Pharmaceuticals plc is the only pharmaceutical company in the US with a FDA approved cannabis-derived drug. They are also the top patent holder in the cannabis sector. However, GW's drug is approved for treatment of three disorders not including high cholesterol. 

Indication BioSciences could one day be talked about alongside GW Pharmaceuticals if they continue along the path they are on. Magic Number will be following Indication BioScience as they mature in the cannabis sector.

Don’t miss out on the latest in cannabis market and patent news. Subscribe now to the Magic Number® Cannabis Patent Forecast® to stay in the loop. Try it free for one week here

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Are Sports Due for an AR/VR Revolution?

Sports Analytics Patent Forecast®

November 19, 2020

It's no secret that sports leagues and teams have been getting creative while trying to keep their heads afloat during the sports hiatus following the widespread COVID-19 shutdowns. The NBA and NASCAR turned to online gaming, while the NFL attempted to capitalize on the nostalgia of fans by offering every game since 2009 on their Game Pass Network. Upon their return, it was obvious that sports leagues across the globe were going to need to get creative in order to turn profits even close to their typical years. Interestingly enough, some companies have put themselves in an interesting position to capitalize on this transition being forced upon sports leagues.

When it comes to the next best thing to being in the stands at your favorite sporting event, the only other options used to be watching on the TV or listening on the radio, but those days are soon to be in the past. Now, big tech companies have been pushing out patents for virtual and augmented reality technology and applications for years, which may prove to be ripe for licensing by big-named sports leagues and networks as they attempt to get the edge on their competition. However, heavy investment by big-name tech giants like Facebook and Google doesn't quite keep everyone at bay as companies with long histories of patenting in the Broadcast Enhancement sector may look to file strategic continuation patents to get an edge in their niche.

As mentioned in a previous insight two companies, SMT and Disney, stand out with a large number of documents in the Broadcast Enhancement subcategory. Both companies have continued to show growth in their patent portfolios, with SMT being granted two (2) patents in the sector since the beginning of 2020 and Disney being granted four (4). While no significant changes have occurred yet, it's only a matter of time before the world of sports broadcasting gets shaken up by tech-development, especially with post-COVID restrictions burdening revenue streams of most sports-based companies. 

Keep up with the ever-changing patent landscape in the Sports Analytics Sector by subscribing to the Magic Number® Sports Analytics Patent Forecast®

Boy Playing with Vr

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Smart Wires and Amprion Team Up to Smooth Grid Power

Demand Response Patent Forecast®

November 19, 2020

Smart Wires, headquartered in Union City, California, is teaming up with Amprion, a German transmission system operator, to relieve constrained power lines with its SmartValve™ power router. SmartValve can control distributed generators, energy storage devices, and demand response units to smooth power delivery.  

Smart Wires received $75 Million in growth equity financing led by Lime Rock New Energy in December 2019. The funds provided growth capital to the company as it deployed its SmartValve™ solutions with customers on four continents in 2020. 

Competition is sparse - NEC Corporation, Varentec and Grid Net are the few competitors with patent applications in the Power Router subcategory.  With a market this huge, it looks like Smart Wires has definitely found a niche it can fill and it’s protecting that niche with patents. Keep track of Smart Wires and the other Power Router players by subscribing to Magic Number’s Demand Response Patent Forecast®

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iTrackFreight 4 U

Transportation Logistics Patent Forecast®

November 19, 2020

Do we need another freight tracking app?  Apparently so. iTrackFreight is making freight shipping more flexible by streamlining modifications to shipping orders. It has some competition, though. Besides UPS, there are several startups and well-established small companies - Route4me, Eka Solutions, FlexPort and TruckTrax to name a few - but also some larger players from other industries - SAP, Oracle, GM Global, Verizon. Does iTrackFreight’s order modification feature address a real market need? It apparently looks down the hierarchy of command to find the best person to authorize the modification. Is that what the industry has been missing? Stay tuned to the Magic Number® Transportation Logistics Patent Forecast® to find out.  

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Is Google Fit Still Relevant?

Consumer Sleep Technology Patent Forecast®

November 19, 2020

Technology giant Google is known for many things, but wearable technology is not one of them. Still, Google's Wear OS (operating system), which integrates with the Google Fit app, is used by many smartwatch companies including Fossil and Huawei. Google's major advance in health tracking was its acquisition of Fitbit in late 2019. However, Fitbit's IP, which includes the largest number of documents (214) belonging to a single assignee in the consumer sleep sector, is still assigned to the original company as the acquisition is still under regulatory review and has not been finalized.

It seems that Google is still interested in maintaining its own consumer sleep portfolio. The company recently filed for two sleep tech patents in March of 2020 after a year and a half without activity. Additionally, Google Fit just announced rollout of new features including tracking of sleep stages, which was not previously available. But will this activity pay off?

Google's strength in platform and API development gives it access to a massive amount of user data, which is extremely valuable. In October of 2020, Google told the regulatory European Commission that it would not use Fitbit data for advertising in an attempt to get around antitrust laws and push the acquisition through to approval. If that's the case, Google may indeed benefit from its own development of health and sleep tracking software that will give it easier access to app data. In the meantime, the usual rivals Apple and Samsung have much larger portfolios in the sector, with Apple having thirty (30) documents and Samsung sixty-five (65) to Google's eleven (11). You can keep an eye on Google's portfolio and how it changes as the Fitbit acquisition progresses on the Magic Number® Consumer Sleep Patent Radian®. 

Smartwatch, Wrist Watch, Pedometer, Heart Rate Monitor

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Access Denied: Your Health is Your New Passport

Pandemics/Epidemics (Free) Patent Forecast®

November 19, 2020

For those brave enough to venture out into public with the oncoming third wave of COVID-19, masks and social distancing have become an essential part of everyday life. If only there was a way to screen COVID-19 carriers from certain locations, so that people inside could relax, worry free. That day could be coming soon! 

Global e-dentity, a company based out of Wilmington, DE, is working on bringing their biometric authentication technology to the fight against COVID. Global e-dentity seeks to create a U.I.D.™, a form of identification that uses your own body, rather than traditional methods such as passports or driver's licenses. But don't start thinking this is just your phone's facial recognition software; Global e-dentity goes much deeper, literally. In addition to boasting higher accuracy than most forms of facial scans, Global e-dentity’s technology scans much more than just your facial features. For example, its U.S. Patent No. 10,721,228 scans a user's blood vessels in order to authenticate their identity. 

Global e-dentity's newest invention, U.S. Patent Pub. No. 20200358762, looks at changes in a user's body associated with COVID-19 infection, even an asymptomatic infection, in order to perform authentication. This application aligns with reports of Global e-dentity's entry into the global health field from July of this year. Global e-dentity's push into the prevention subcategory of the Pandemics sector is a significant splash in a relatively small technological space. So far, the prevention subcategory only has 9 documents, with a majority of those documents either being filed by an individual inventor or dealing with much different technologies, such as face masks. As many companies rush to grab a foothold in the global health space during this seemingly never-ending disaster, Global e-dentity could represent a useful acquisition or licensing opportunity for major biometric authentication innovators or manufacturers of major body-scanning equipment.

The security scanning industry has seen consolidation in the past two (2) years, first with the merger of L3 Technologies and Harris in June of 2019, and then with the acquisition of L3Harris' Security Detection and Automation Businesses division by Leidos in May of 2020. As Leidos looks to capitalize on its $1 billion investment, Global e-dentity's COVID screening technology could prove useful. On the other hand, IDEMIA, who runs the massive biometric IdentoGO® enrollment program, has also been actively acquiring companies in the past several years, after forming from a merger of Oberthur Technologies and Morpho back in 2017. It's possible that large companies in distinct sectors such as Leidos and IDEMIA could end up clashing over Global e-dentity's technology if both companies try to do the "pandemic pivot" at the same time. 

For more updates on technologies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, check out the free interactive visual Pandemics Patent Forecast® offered by Magic Number.

Flat, Recognition, Facial, Face, Woman, System

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What Do Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Nestle All Have in Common?

Biodegradable Packaging Patent Forecast®

November 19, 2020

They all sell water bottles! 

Pepsi and Coke only have 1 patent application in the biodegradable packaging sector and neither application is related to compostable/biodegradable beverage containers. Nestle has 7 documents in the sector but they haven’t had a patent document since 2018.  Nestle is selling most of its water brands including Deer Park, Ozarka, Ice Mountain, Zephyrhills, and Arrowhead but it is retaining control of its premium water brands. The estimated value of the sale is approximately $5 billion! Clearly, there is a significant interest and value in water bottle brands but surprisingly minimal patent activity from the major companies. 

These major water bottle companies are under continuous scrutiny to lower their environmental impact, so they should be on a constant lookout for innovative bottling solutions and related intellectual property. Drop Water’s patent for an innovative compostable water bottle could be the answer to the major water bottle companies’ prayers.    

Drop Water was issued its first patent in the biodegradable packaging sector for a compostable single-use beverage container. This is great news for a company that already has a contract with the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)! SFO banned the sale of plastic bottled water from its grounds and Drop Water is one of the alternative solutions that SFO has allowed to be sold in its terminals.  

Important to note that although there does not appear to be a continuation application for the compostable beverage container, there is a PCT application (PCT/US16/64878) that claims the benefit of the US application. This indicates that Drop Water is eyeing the global market and could be a prime acquisition target for major producers of water bottles (i.e. Coke, Pepsi, and Nestle). The pressure of minimizing environmental impact will only increase over time, so the value of Drop Water’s compostable container will only go up. 

Take a look at the unique Patent Radian® to visualize some of the documents owned by Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Nestle in the biodegradable sector: 

Other Interesting News: 

You won’t find any significant information about Enviroluv on the web besides the fact that it is  an Amazon seller and sells BeeBagz™ and BulkBagz™ on its website. However, the inventor on the Enviroluv patent is none other than Kristi MacDonald, the founder of Enviroluv, BeeBAGZ and BulkBAGZ! Enviroluv, a Canadian company, could be looking to get a foothold in the US biodegradable packaging patent sector as it pursues its first US patent.  

Plantic Technologies, an Australian subsidiary of Kuraray, is pursuing a patent for a starch and polyvinyl alcohol composition for containers. Recently, Kuraray Poval, a technology leader for polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), joined Kuraray’s EVAL and Plantic business units and joined the CEFLEX consortium. Together they appear to be working on creating a sustainable circular economy  and Plantic’s composition could be a major factor in future success.  

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Investors Waste No Time After 5 States Vote to Legalize Cannabis

Cannabis Patent Forecast®

November 12, 2020

U.S. presidential election results might not be decided but 5 states have voted to legalize cannabis including Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Mississippi.

Wasting no time, multi-state operator (MSO) Ayr Strategies of New York, announced an $81 million investment into Arizona’s cannabis markets a day after the election, picking up cultivation, processing, and dispensary facilities. Ayr Strategies recently tweeted that this investment brings its operations into five states including Nevada, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio but it also appears to have a footprint in Colorado through its CannaPunch brand. This expansion will open Ayr to up to 43 million people across five states - larger than all of Canada’s population. Ayr Strategies doesn’t appear to have any published patents or patent applications in the U.S., so they will have to play catch-up like Aurora Cannabis is doing.       

Other MSOs have done the same. Before the measures were even voted on in New Jersey, NY-based MSO Acreage Holdings, recently acquired by Canopy Growth Corporation, invested $10 million to acquire one of twelve licensed New Jersey medical marijuana businesses, Compassionate Care Foundation, and wants to triple cultivation in anticipation of recreational cannabis legalization. Acreage is definitely well-poised to do so, especially with the help of Canopy Growth Corporation. 

As of November 2020, Canopy Growth Corporation is the third-largest patent holder in the Magic Number® Cannabis Patent Forecast®. A few years ago, Canopy Growth only owned US patents through its acquisition of ebbu, Inc. but has since come out of the rut to become a leading player, developing technology in all of the Patent Forecast® categories besides Sobriety Testing and Compliance Technology.   

We are witnessing the green rush in America. Investors from all around want in on the U.S. cannabis industry and are strategically staking their places now. Depending on who controls the Senate, a democratic president could progress cannabis reform, so cannabis investors and entrepreneurs may have more to look forward to in the next four years.

Learn more about the ever-growing cannabis industry using the Magic Number® Cannabis Patent Forecast®. Market data and patent activity are combined into useful insights and graphics for a deeper look into the future and direction of the cannabis sector. Start your free trial today!

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Air Force Seeks Brain-Computer Interface to Turn Airmen into Sponges

Brain Machine Interface Patent Forecast®

November 12, 2020

The U.S. Air Force is collaborating with Microsoft, MIT, Sonera Magnetics and Teledyne Technologies to create a brain-computer interface that will improve airmen's learning and decision-making. The non-invasive platform will include virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence. The system will extract brain signals to determine a person's brain learning state and then use neuromodulation to reduce anxiety and fatigue. 

Microsoft and MIT have several Brain:Computer interface inventions. Teledyne has only one application so far, but that one was made under a U.S. Army contract. Sonera Magnetics, based in Berkeley, CA, does not have any published applications, but it was only founded in 2018 and received SBIR Phase I funding in 2019 for a portable, non-invasive functional bioimaging magnetometer, so expect to see some patent application publications soon. Sonera, with only three employees, is dwarfed by the other three giant organizations. They must have the secret sauce needed to make this project work.

Keep an eye out for Sonera Magnetics’ debut by subscribing to the Magic Number® Patent Forecast®. Once subscribed, check out the Patent Radian (Visualization link) to see what’s going on in the field.

Angel, Statue, Sculpture, Wings, Metallic, Icarus, Art


 

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