Apple Patent Acquisitions Provide a Glimpse of Future Innovation

Apple has had a busy 2015 so far in terms of acquisitions, fresh of its widely publicized acquisition of Beats Electronics last year. The company has invested in a variety of different technologies, with recent acquisitions of Semetric (music analytics), FoundationDB (database technologies), LinX (camera technologies), Coherent Navigation (navigation and mapping), and Metaio (augmented reality). These acquisitions give a glimpse of areas where Apple is continuing to focus its product development, as well as new technologies which the company may foray into.

In addition to the above, Apple has acquired a number of patents and patent portfolios this year. Envision IP analyzed the following recent patent assignments to Apple recorded in 2015 with the USPTO:

Apple Patent Acquisitions 2015 Envision IP

Many of these patent acquisitions are not surprising, as they appear to complement Apple’s existing patent portfolio and product feature enhancements (i.e., fingerprint and biometric recognition, proprietary hardware designs, touch screen features, etc.).

However, the acquisition of fuel cell patents from Eveready and a blood pressure monitoring patent from Eppcor are interesting. The Eveready Battery patents were originally owned by Hewlett-Packard. Eveready acquired these in 2010 as part of a larger acquisition of 98 patents from HP. These patents may indicate Apple’s interest in the portable fuel cell space; the technology may have the potential to replace traditional mobile device battery packs. For example, US 7,678,180 entitled “Integral fuel cartridge and filter” describes a removable fuel cartridge for a portable device, such as a mobile phone:

US7678180 Figure 5 Envision IP

Another patent, US 6,887,596, entitled “Portable disposable fuel-battery unit for a fuel cell system” describes a handheld device with built-in fuel cell devices, as shown in Fig. 2 below:

US6887596 _Figure 2 Envision IP

The Eppcor patent, US 7,601,123, entitled “Non-invasive blood pressure monitoring device and methods” describes a portable blood pressure monitor, as shown in Fig. 1 below. The images of the patent are not necessarily directed to mobile device and smartphone integration, however the patent claims appear relatively broad, and could potentially be relevant to wearable health tracking devices.

US7601123 Figure 1 Envision IP

Regarding the company acquisitions Apple made in 2015, FoundationDB owns 4 US patents, Metaio owns 25 US patents, and Coherent Navigation has 2 US patents, but these have not yet been recorded with the USPTO. In addition to the patents listed above, a number of assignments from earlier Apple acquisitions appeared in the USPTO database this year, namely from Beats, Anobit Technologies, Authentec, Topsy, and Freescale Semiconductor.

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