In a previous post, the patent infringement law suit filed by Paul Allen’s Interval Licensing LLC against numerous technology companies, including AOL, Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, and Netflix, was noted. We decided to take a closer look at each of the patents asserted to be infringed in the case.
6,034,652 – Attention manager for occupying the peripheral attention of a person in the vicinity of a display device.
This is an interesting patent in many respects. First thing to note is that the patent was classified in class 345/2, which where computer-graphics-related inventions are classified. That is interesting because this patent might just as easily be considered a business method, particularly, if the information being displayed included advertising or there was a business model associated with the implementation. But this just goes to show the difficulty in defining a “business method”.
While the popular press has stated that this patent covers things like stock tickers and headline feeds that are continually updated and displayed in the periphery of a site, it appears that the invention also requires that such information be displayed during times of user inactivity, such as, for example, when there is a lack of keyboard input.
However, the claims are fairly broad. Consider Claim 12, which recites:
- 12. A method for engaging the peripheral attention of a person in the vicinity of a display device of an apparatus, comprising the steps of:
acquiring a set of content data from a content providing system;
detecting an idle period of predetermined duration; and
selectively displaying on the display device, in an unobtrusive manner that does not distract a user of the apparatus from a primary interaction with the apparatus,
an image or images generated from the set of content data, wherein the step of selectively displaying further comprises the step of displaying the image or images
automatically after detection of the idle period.
But even this claim requires the step of “detecting an idle period of predetermined duration”….. So, it will be interesting to see how the plaintiffs interpret this and assert it against the defendant’s technology.