Topic: Patent

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Me, Myself & ‘AI’

Human interactions with technology

In the past few years, the use of social media has increased rapidly. A key feature of social media platforms and social media apps is the ability to interact with other people in ways that were not thought possible in previous generations.  With the click of a button, someone from the other side of the world can appear on a screen in front of you.

Technology and social media have not just given rise to platforms that facilitate human-to-human interaction: recently, advancements in technology have led to a rise in a new type of social relationship: … Continue Reading

Industrial Designs: Protecting Graphical User Interfaces – A Primer for Social Media Entrepreneurs

This post is directed to entrepreneurs and developers who are building platforms incorporating features of social media networks, or building their own social media technologies, regarding design protection requirements in Canada. Several practice notices have been issued very recently by the Canadian Industrial Design Office, providing guidance on designs including colour and animated graphical user interfaces (GUIs), among others.… Continue Reading

Social Media & IP Enforceability

Social media channels represent an exciting medium to reach out to the public and potential collaborators. Social media can also play an important role in helping generate positive buzz for organizations seeking to develop a market for their products or services.  For example, many of today’s companies gauge the depth of market interest in their products not through traditional advertising or focus groups, but rather through leveraging social media, such as communication platforms (e.g., Twitter, WeChat, Facebook), and content sharing platforms (e.g., YouTube, Vine), and crowd-funding platforms (e.g., Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe).  Some companies are also using open, collaborative approaches to … Continue Reading

Legal considerations for social network APIs

An application programming interface (API) is a library or structured set of software tools that provides an interface to a backend software platform, such as a social networking platform, without providing direct access to the underlying source code of the platform.

For example, Facebook™, Twitter™, Instagram™, LinkedIn™, Google Plus™, and Tumblr™ offer APIs so that developers can interface with their social networking platforms, resulting in widespread development of various social network based software applications.… Continue Reading

Facebook responds to COPPA with patent application directed to online verification

The US Patent and Trademark Office published, on May 29, 2014, a patent application submitted by inventors from Facebook directed to a method for managing the accessibility of a social network based on the age of its users. In referencing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) directly, Facebook’s patent application suggests that Facebook may soon officially open its service to users under the age of 13.  Many social networks, including Facebook, currently bar users under a particular age because COPPA requires parental consent for many of the actions such a user may take.  For example, geolocation information or the … Continue Reading

Wearable devices merge reality and social media

Wearable computing devices, such as Google Glass (i.e., glasses integrated with a computing device), are expected to explode in popularity. Currently, wearable computing devices have generally limited social media application, but that may soon change.

In October 2013, Google was granted a US patent that highlights several possible social media applications for wearable devices, such as Google Glass. The innovation described may enable wearable devices to recognize known hand gestures and carry out particular actions in response. For example, making a symbolic heart shaped hand gesture around a real world object may trigger the “like” action commonly used in … Continue Reading

Social media companies adopt alternative patent models

Social media companies are increasingly involved in patent lawsuits and frustration is setting in. Hoping to inspire change within the industry, a number of companies have adopted alternative patent policies. While these alternative models are based on the social good of sharing innovation with a promise to use patents only as a defensive shield and not as an offensive weapon, they may raise a host of unanswered questions.

Many social media and computer technology companies, as well as so called “patent trolls” or non-practicing entities, have large patent portfolios covering core aspects of social media and online user interactions. Companies … Continue Reading

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