Trademarking Air

Since I spend a lot of time over at the web site of the US Patent and Trademark Office, looking for patent information, sometimes I get questions from someone about the goings on over there.

Charlie Anzman noticed recently that both Apple and Adobe (warning – audio and video start playing on arrival) were touting new products with the name AIR in them. Charlie made a post at his blog asking if it were possible to Patent Air, and called upon me to see if I could give him an answer:

“Is it possible, one of these guys can get a patent on AIR?”

air flowing out of a machine, and circling around a man

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Interview with Eric Hebert on Digital Music Marketing

The Internet has transformed the way we find and listen to music over the past few years, and a band can be much more accessible to their audiences than in the days when record labels, distribution chains, album sales, and radio had a much larger role in choosing music for us.

I had the chance to ask Eric Hebert, of Evolvor Media, some questions recently about what those changes might mean to the industry, and to musicians.

eric hebertHow does one go about marketing music in a world where digital is the most important music format?

The first thing that needs to be understood is that the distribution and publishing of music has completely changed.

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The Google Acquisition of Innuvo, and the Google Web Toolkit

If you’ve been paying attention to offerings from search engines on how to make widgets for websites, you may have heard of a program from Google that allows java developers to take their programs and make them usable on web pages in the form of widgets.

The Google Web Toolkit is “an open source Java software development framework that makes writing AJAX applications like Google Maps and Gmail easy for developers who don’t speak browser quirks as a second language.”

The Google Web Toolkit Blog describes a number of widgets and applications that have been developed using the toolkit, including an feedreader for the iPhone, as well as the Google Mashup Editor, and a way to use widgets developed using the Google Web Toolkit offline using Google Gears.

A story in the Boston Biz Journal from last June discusses the Atlanta Office at Google in “Google searches for growth” (no longer available), and tells us a little about the origin of their Web Toolkit:

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Google on Automatically Annotating Images and Videos

How effectively can a search engine automatically create annotations for images and videos, so that they can be good responses to searchers queries? How much of that can be done without human intervention and review?

A newly published Google patent application explores the topic, and comes up with a method of annotation by comparison to similar images found on the Web, and the text surrounding those similar images.

Method and apparatus for automatically annotating images
Invented by Jay N. Yagnik
US Patent Application 20080021928
Published January 24, 2008
Filed July 24, 2006

Abstract

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Yahoo’s ‘Universal Search’ and Vertical Search Suggestions

When you start typing a query into the search box at Yahoo, you’ll see a dropdown appear under the search box with some suggestions predicting queries that you may want to see Web search results even before you finish typing.

But presently you only see those suggestions for Web search results. I wrote about those Yahoo search suggestions in Predictive Queries versus Unique Searches.

It would be interesting to see suggestions from some of Yahoo’s other databases appearing, such as image search or local search.

A couple of recent patent applications from Yahoo, related to the “predictive queries” patent filing, explore showing how the context of a search and historic search patterns may cause suggestions from other search databases.

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Patent Filing on Interactive Elements of Google’s Keyhole Markup Language

If you’re a Google Earth fan, or just want to get a better idea of what might be happening behind the scenes at Google Earth, a newly published patent application takes a close look at the KML (Keyhole Markup Language) used by Google Earth, and interactive aspects of how that markup language works.

The patent filing includes topics such as how 3D objects may incrementally stream into view as you “fly” around the world. It also discusses the entrance of remote content into the Geographic Information System (GIS), such as airplane location data, traffic information, UPS package tracking. Another interesting kind of search is also presented:

Relational searching is also enabled. For instance, in response to user entering “diet,” show location of hospitals, exercise clubs, Jamba Juice, Whole foods, etc. An auto zoom features shows location of all relevant hits.

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