We missed last week, so hopefully this lengthy startup patent report will make up for it. For the week of Tuesday, March 20, 2012, there were 5,414 U.S. patents issued by the USPTO. There are a number of notable patents issued this week, including ones to Like.com (Google), Box.net, Zynga, Zillow, TopCoder, Cleversafe, 38 Studios, Spectrum Bridge, Waterfall Mobile and Skymeter. These patents are discussed after the fold.
Like.com is an image search engine that attempts to identify similarities between images. The company was acquired by Google for Google’s product search. Like.com received its eleventh U.S. patent. U.S. Patent No. 8,139,900 appears to be a very interesting patent that is directed to interacting with objects in an image. When an interaction with an image is performed, an action is taken based on the interaction. This appears to be a very valuable patent in this space and it will be interesting to see if Google does anything with it.
Box.net is one of the largest cloud storage providers for both individual users and businesses. Box received its first U.S. Patent No.8,140,513. The patent appears to be directed to what is now commonly known as an app store type model or application/extension gallery where users can integrate their files into other web applications that can provide endless features and functionality. For example a photo editing application that uses box.com, as its storage, a web-based word processing app that uses box.com for storage, etc. Box already offers services like this, with integrations to dozens of online sites in categories such as CRM, publishing and communication. Similarly to the Like.com patent, it will be interesting to see what Box decides to do with this valuable IP. Follow Box.net on Twitter: @boxdotnet.
Zynga, a game company which recently IPO’d, has recently received its first three patents. After receiving its first patent last week, U.S. Patent No. 8,133,116, the company received two more patents this week. U.S. Patent Nos. 8,137,193 and 8,137,194 appear to be related to the earlier issued patent. All three patents are directed to purchasing supplies in a multiplayer game. Zynga was founded in 2007 and received about 28 million in funding prior to its IPO. Follow Zynga on Twitter: @zynga.
Zillow, an online real estate information destination, received its fourth U.S. patent. U.S. Patent No. 8,140,421 is directed to an automated method of valuing a home by applying models to previous home sales. This patent gives some insight into how Zillow determines its Zestimate home prices and is worth a look for those that are interested in the details. Zillow was founded in 2005 and prior to its IPO, Zillow received 87 million in funding. Follow Zillow on Twitter: @zillow.
TopCoder, a company that provides companies access to developer talent, received its fifteenth U.S. Patent. U.S. Patent No. 8,137,172 is directed to conducting a multi-round computer programming contest where early rounds take place online over the Internet and later rounds take place in person. Many of TopCoder’s patents appear to be directed to various computer programming contests. TopCoder was founded in 2001 and has 60 employees. It has received approximately 11 million in funding. Follow TopCoder on Twitter: @_topcoder_.
Cleversafe provides distributed big data storage solutions to companies. Cleversafe received its ninth U.S. patent. U.S. Patent No. 8,140,777 is directed to a method of billing for access to data in a network based on user level metadata and file level metadata. Cleversafe was founded in 2004 and has received 36 million in funding. Follow Cleversafe on Twitter: @cleversafe.
38 Studios, a game studio that develops multi-player games, received its first U.S. patent. U.S. Patent No. 8,137,197 is directed to generating a personalized newsletter based on monitoring game play of a computer game. The content in the newsletter provides information on characters in the game that the player is interested in. 38 Studios was founded in 2006 by Major League pitcher Curt Schilling. Follow 38 Studios on Twitter: @38studios. Follow Curt Schilling on Twitter: @gehrig38.
Spectrum Bridge makes bandwidth more readily available to enterprises and consumers by providing availability and access to wireless bandwidth and efficient allocation of spectrum within a wireless network. The company received its fourth U.S. Patent. U.S. Patent No. 8,139,496 is directed to controlling spectrum use by a wireless radio system. Spectrum Bridge received 19 million in funding since being founded in 2007. The company has 32 employees. Follow Spectrum Bridge on Twitter: @spectrumbridge.
Waterfall Mobile allows to create, manage, track and analyze mobile campaigns. The company’s first U.S. Patent No. 8,140,097 is directed to broadcasting information in real-time to a plurality of recipients using SMS messaging. This patent appears to be related to the company’s alertU emergency short messaging service. Waterfall Mobile was founded in 2005, has 20 employees, and has received about 4 million in funding. Follow Waterfall Mobile on Twitter: @waterfallmobile.
Skymeter enables location-based payments for individual pricing for congestion and freeway usage. The company received its first U.S. patent. Patent No. 8,140,265 is directed to tracking the position of an object, placing the object in a cell on a grid, wherein each cell is assigned a price. Skymeter was founded in 2002 and has received about 500,000 in funding. Follow the founder of Skymeter on Twitter: @KHskymeter.