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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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Patent Data as an Early Warning of New Competitors

AI Biotech/Diagnostics: Neurology Patent Forecast®

January 14, 2021

Well-organized patent data can really make a difference for your company. One of the most powerful benefits of patent data is that it allows you to better understand your competitor landscape. Most established companies know who the big name competitors are in their respected fields. However, patent data allows you to see deeper than just the competitors you are already familiar with. Take for example the AI Biotech/Diagnostics: Activity sector. Most of the top competitors in that sector are well known companies such as IBM, Philips Electronics, and FitBit

However, this past week the Patent Forecast®  picked up 5 newly published patent applications from automaker Toyota Motors. These 5 applications are the first documents Toyota has in the sector, and all teach systems and methods related to a device for AI-based walking rehabilitation. Although Toyota is not known for its work in the AI Biotech Sector, the recent emergence of 5 applications on a new technology in a foreign sector certainly indicates a shift in focus by Toyota Motors. As a competitor, it would be crucial to know as early as possible when a company like Toyota Motors begins seeking patent protection on technology similar to yours. Early detection of a massive emerging competitor allows smaller companies to reassess their portfolios, and make sure their present and future products are adequately protected.  

This is just one or many examples of how patent data can provide early detection of important changes with a competitive landscape. Make sure to check out the Patent Matrix®  for an in depth analysis of the claims of some of Toyotas newly published applications, as well as the Patent Forecast®  for the AI Biotech/Diagnostics: Activity Sector to stay up to date with the newest patent data available! 

Walk, Path, Walking, Feet, Trail, Shoes, Sport, Legs


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SMT Saw an Opening and Scored

Sports Analytics Patent Forecast®

January 14, 2021

SMT is no new-comer to the Sports Analytics patent sector. Being the second-largest assignee within the sector, it is safe to say that they have had a long history of patenting in the sector with patents dating as far back as 1993. However, when looking at its patenting history, it becomes obvious that SMT has had a recent shift in patent strategy. In late 2017, SMT began ramping up its patent activity in a space that it had not been that active in, or honestly any company had been active in. They began filing numerous patent applications within the Telemetry Analysis subcategory. Before this, few companies had paid much attention to this subcategory, with most companies in the Data Analytics category focusing on the Image & Video Analytics subcategory. This lack of previous activity left SMT quite a bit of "white space" in which they could likely develop a broad portfolio, and that is exactly what they did. 

Fast-forward three years to late-2020/early-2021 and SMT is already reaping the benefits of this investment. It holds multiple contracts with sports leagues and teams across the globe to exclusively provide telemetry-based tracking in their stadiums, with the most recent contract landing SMT's player and puck tracking technology in every NHL arena. Looking back, it is obvious that SMT capitalized on the "white space" it may have noticed in the sector. While it is impossible to tell if SMT noticed this opportunity by using patent data or fell into it with a stroke of luck, this is a perfect example of the value in the patent data and patent visualization offered by Patent Forecast®. The visualization of this data allows companies to not only see where their competitors are investing R&D efforts, but also allows them to see opportunities or openings in the field that are begging for investment.

Stay up to date on new opportunities in the Sports Analytics sector by getting our Patent Forecast® for Sports Analytics.

Patent Forecast Demonstrating SMT's Patent Activity

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Wing Does Not Like the New Drone ID Rule. Who Owns that Space?

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Management Patent Forecast®

January 14, 2021

Wing Aviation said the FAA’s new rule for UAVs to radio broadcast remote ID messages for tracking will have “unintended negative privacy impacts for business and consumers.” The rule replaces the requirement that the UAVs transmit location data via the Internet. Wing added that “an observer tracking a drone can infer sensitive information about specific users, including where they visit, spend time, and live and where customers receive packages from and when.”

Nonetheless, Wing has patented an ID broadcast system. So has Amazon and two small companies - Rumfert and Uavionix. Then, there’s Raytheon, who has ID patents with UAV tolling.  (Can toll “roads” be imposed on UAVs?) 

Who’s going to own the UAV ID space? Who’s going to scoop up Rumfert and Uavionix? You can find some possible answers to these and other compelling questions by subscribing to our UAV Management Patent Forecast®. 

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Speculation about Google's Newest Device - What do the Patents Say?

Consumer Sleep Technology Patent Forecast®

January 14, 2021

In a previous insight, we pointed out that Google filed two sleep patents in 2020 after a year and a half of inactivity in the sector. The move was interesting given Google's acquisition of Fitbit, which is the largest assignee in Consumer Sleep Technology and a well-known name in wearable health technology. 

A recent FCC filing indicates that Google is developing a new interactive device with a screen, and many tech sites speculate Google will be incorporating its Soli radar technology used to detect humans and their gestures. One site reports sleep tracking as a possible use based on sources "familiar with the matter." Of course, a more reliable source than an anonymous insider would be patent data. One of the patent applications filed last year covers using an IR sensor in a device located in a person's bedroom to remotely monitor sleep based on movement. The device is further incorporated into a "smart home environment." Google also has a patent filed in 2018 for remote sleep monitoring using cameras and computer vision. The patents show Google has been investing in this technology and considers it worth protecting, making it even more likely to show up in a consumer product soon.

This analysis is yet another example of patents predicting market movement. You can follow Google and other companies in the Consumer Sleep Technology sector to glean more insight ahead of the curve on the Patent Forecast®. 

Bed, Lamp, Bedside, Pillows, Flower, Bedroom, House

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IonQ Suggests Error Correction is the True Test of Quantum Computers, but is it Prepared?

Quantum Computing Patent Forecast®

January 14, 2021

Forget everything you know about quantum volume. Ok, maybe we should explain what quantum volume is before telling you to forget. Classical computers are often compared by the speed with which they are able to perform certain operations. Quantum computers, on the other hand, are a bit more complicated. Quantum computers are typically compared using a measure known as Quantum Volume, which takes into account both the number of physical qubits in the system and the average fidelity of the gates within the system. Fidelity essentially measures how close the outcome of the gates are to the actual, expected outcome. As fidelity and the number of qubits increase, so too does the Quantum Volume.

IonQ made waves back in October for suggesting that its new model could have a quantum volume of over 4 million, as compared to the previous record of only 128. In fact, in December, IonQ said that its systems may be approaching such a high quantum volume that the number would be too large to fit on a screen. Given the increasingly limited usefulness of the quantum volume measure as quantum volumes move toward infinity, IonQ has suggested a new metric: the Algorithmic Qubit. Algorithmic qubits take into account not only the number of physical qubits and the average fidelity of the gates, but also the degree of error correction used by the system. 

However, while IonQ may be redefining the game, its patent filings suggest it may not be ready to play. IonQ has shown dedication to increasing the fidelity of quantum gates in such applications as U.S. Patent Pub. Nos. 20200372391 and 20200372389, but filings directed to error correction methods are nowhere to be found. Granted, it’s possible that IonQ has filed patents directed to error correction that have not yet been published, but if what IonQ says about the importance of the Algorithm Qubit is true, then companies such as PsiQuantum, IBM, and Rigetti may possess the upper hand, as each company already has multiple filings directed to error correction methods. If IonQ’s competitors are able to utilize non-trapped ion quantum computers and achieve similar fidelities, they may just be better positioned to dominate phase 2 of the race to a viable quantum computer.

To keep up with which companies win the race for error correction, subscribe to the Quantum Computing Patent Forecast®!


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A Rundown of the Crypto Open Patent Alliance

Cryptocurrency: Networks and Computing Patent Forecast®

January 14, 2021

In September 2020, mobile payment services company Square announced the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) to encourage companies to share their innovation in an open-source library and pledge not to offensively assert patent rights against others in the alliance. So far, about 20 companies have joined, one of the latest being Coinbase in December of 2020. The virtual currency exchange is by far the largest patent holder in the alliance thus far, with over 30 patents and published applications covering payment systems, cryptography, blockchain, and more. In our previous insight covering COPA, we highlighted Coinbase as a potential company that would be an asset in the alliance, especially if industry giants like IBM and Bank of America don't want to get involved.

All of the other companies in COPA have fewer than 10 published patents and applications, which suggests they have more to gain than to lose. These companies may benefit greatly from being able to merge their technologies with Coinbase's payment systems platforms. One important question is whether participants in COPA will continue to patent the technology they develop as a result of the shared knowledge. It would be a smart move in a practical sense but may go against the ethos of the alliance. 

You can view the patent portfolios of the other companies in COPA and better understand the growing alliance by subscribing to our Cryptocurrency Patent Forecast®. 

Hands, Shaking Hands, Handshake, Digitization, Board

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What do Pfizer and Moderna’s Vaccines Have in Common? This ONE Patent

Pandemics/Epidemics (Free) Patent Forecast®

January 7, 2021

2020 ended with approximately 3 million vaccines administered and millions more to follow in the coming months. The development of the COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca, and other worldwide developers over a period of less than 12 months is nothing short of remarkable, so how did it happen? Much of the success of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is owed to Scripps Research Institute, which developed a method to isolate stable compositions of the COVID-19 Spike protein central to both the RNA vaccines. While Scripps’ most recently published application, U.S. Patent Pub. No. 20200407402, was only filed back in September (a testament to the speed with which the COVID fast track is working), Scripps’ research on the spike protein can be found as far back as an application with priority to 2016 by Scripps, Dartmouth University, and the Department of Health and Human Services. Both Moderna and Pfizer have built off this research in order to develop their vaccines, while Scripps is clearly seeking to add to its already considerable patent portfolio. 

It appears that the presaging of Pfizer and Moderna’s extraordinary development by research patents over specific proteins may begin to look like the rule, rather than the exception. RNA vaccines are looking like they are highly reprogrammable, meaning that new vaccines for other diseases could begin to develop rapidly. That’s where the Patent Forecast® comes in. With the Patent Forecast®, you can see not only industry patent activity, but university and other research patent activity as well. This data may well be predictive of which drug developers come out on top. For example, Pfizer’s quick success in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine could easily have been foreseen by noting that Scripps Research Institute has a longstanding relationship with Pfizer. Looking just at the publications this week, one can mark down another possible development. This week, an application by MIT on zymogens for treating HIV published. HIV is looking like it may be a potential application of the new RNA vaccines, with prominent HIV researchers, such as Dr. Michael Farzan at Scripps, also being major contributors to research on COVID-19. Farzan’s relationship with Scripps and MIT’s involvement (and strong relationship with Pfizer) may suggest that Pfizer could again take a lead on the development of an HIV vaccine. 

For more developments about research patent activity and its implications for future vaccine development, check out our free Patent Forecast® for Pandemics.

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Using Patent Data to Make Sense of Seemingly Questionable Business Deals

AI Biotech/Diagnostics: Neurology Patent Forecast®

January 7, 2021

Although there are numerous benefits to monitoring patent data, one of the most important involves staying up to date with what your competitors are doing. The right data can be especially useful to help understand why a competitor makes a particular decision. A recent notable example of patent data providing an explanation for a competitors business decisions can be seen in the acquisition of Livongo Health Inc. by telemedicine giant Teladoc Health. In October, Teladoc acquired Livongo Health as a subsidiary in a massive $18.5 billion deal (a deal many investors felt was greatly overpriced).

At the time of the acquisition, Livongo had no published patents or applications other than a portfolio of 15 design patents. Seemingly, Teladoc Health had paid $18.5B for a company with no functional IP. However, just two months after the acquisition was finalized, Livongo had 8 patent applications published simultaneously. All 8 of the patent applications are related to remote glucose monitoring and telecommunications with Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE’s). This type of technology takes Livongo’s expertise in blood glucose monitoring, and incorporates the telemedicine features from Teladoc to allow for remote diabetes management. These 8 applications assure that Teladoc (through its Livongo subsidiary) will be the market leader in diabetes telemedicine care.

This is just one example of how patent data can be used to understand the strategies a company employs. Seemingly bad business deals may actually make sense when you consider the patent data behind the deal. This type of data can also hint toward the future plans of a company. For example, knowing that a large telemedicine company like Teladoc has made recent acquisitions to medical startups with small portfolios or patent pending technologies could suggest that Teladoc plans to continue to look for companies to acquire. It also may suggest that any companies acquired in the future by Teladoc may have patent applications that have not been published at the time of acquisition.

The Teladoc-Livongo acquisition provides just a glimpse into some of the potential uses of patent data. For an interactive and visual patent data experience, make sure to check out the AI Biotech/Diagnostics Patent Forecast®. What can patent data do for you?

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Why is Bitcoin Up? Inflation, Banks, and...Pornhub

Cryptocurrency: Networks and Computing Patent Forecast®

January 7, 2021


On March 9, 2020, there was about $4 trillion in circulation. As of November 30, 2020, the money supply stood at over $6.5 trillion, largely due to coronavirus related stimulus bills. A December stimulus bill added $900 billion, and Biden says he’ll issue more if the Democrats get control of the Senate. What this means is the money supply has almost doubled in less than a year and more is expected. So this expectation of inflation is fueling the search for stores of value such as cryptocurrencies. 


Next, on December 4, 2020, the New York Times ran a story about Pornhub videos showing children engaged in sex and women being assaulted. In response, Mastercard and Visa cut off Pornhub’s premium content. Pornhub responded by enabling crypto payments. You can see the change in trajectory shortly thereafter. Porn made the Internet. Is it going to make Bitcoin, too?


On January 4, 2021, the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) issued an interpretation that national banks and federal savings associations can use cryptocurrencies and stablecoins to engage in and facilitate payment activities. The OCC has legitimized cryptocurrencies, creating a new market for them. 

Who’s going to win here?  The top five companies with patents and applications in cryptocurrency payment architecture are large companies from different industry sectors. This is going to be a WWE Smackdown between IBM, Alibaba, BOA, Mastercard, and Coinbase, to say the least.  

For more on patenting and marketability in the cryptocurrency sector, subscribe to the Cryptocurrency Patent Forecast®. Start your free trial today!   

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When Sectors Collide: Cannabis meets AI Biotech/Diagnostics

AI Biotech/Diagnostics: Neurology Patent Forecast®

January 7, 2021

There is no doubt that our interest in cannabis has grown in recent years. Every week we see new patent data in our Cannabis Patent Forecast®  that indicates that many companies are developing awesome new technologies associated with Cannabis. Particularly, we see a great deal of patent data related to medical uses, compositions, and processing. Occasionally we also see cannabis patent data cross into the AI Biotech/Diagnostic sector. However, one area that seems to lack in patent data in both the Cannabis and AI Biotech sectors relates to dosing. Hey Mary LLC’s first patent application appears to bridge this gap.

To do this, Hey Mary LLC does something we have not seen before in the Cannabis sector: incorporate AI technology and user medical data. Specifically, the application (U.S. Patent Pub. No. 2020372993) teaches a system, method, and apparatus for using AI to provide tailored dosages of various cannabis formulations based on a user’s medical profile. In a way, the application is more similar to the type of patents we generally see in the AI Biotech/Diagnostic sector, yet the end result is a tailored dosage of cannabis.

The system and method taught in the ‘993 application allows a user to input their personal medical data and then choose which desired effect of cannabis they are looking to achieve. Using AI, the system analyzes the user’s medical history, and then determines the exact amount and composition that should be consumed. The user then chooses whether they prefer the serving in solid or liquid form, and the apparatus taught in the ‘993 application dispenses accordingly.

This application is just one example of how seemingly different fields of patent technology can blend together to create something new and exciting. Make sure to check out our various Patent Forecasts®  to stay up to date on the most recent patent data. You never know when your technology will be used in an unexpected way!

Marijuana, Leaves, Cannabis, Green, Natural, Narcotic


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