Walmart, is seeking ways to identify whether a customer is unhappy or dissatisfied, and then sending staff in to deal with them before they are able to register a complaint. Walmart is using video cameras at store checkout lines that monitor customers’ facial expressions and movements to try and identify varying levels of dissatisfaction, according to a patent filing. According to their patent filing,Walmart will not only use the data to address immediate staffing needs. It will also use the technology to analyze trends in shoppers’ purchase behavior over time.
If the system detects an unhappy customer, it will ping employees in other parts of the store and order them to report to a checkout register, in the hopes of alleviating shoppers’ distress. Walmart is hoping that the technology will enable stores to respond more efficiently to customer service issues before shoppers have a chance to complain.
The ITC issued a general exclusion order banning various types of the self-balancing devices, often called “hoverboards.” The case could affect the whole market, since a general exclusion order is the commission’s most powerful remedy and can affect even parties not involved in the investigation. The general ban applies to any device infringing US Patent No. 8,830,048, which could be many products. The first claim of that patent describes a transporter with a drive, wheels, a “sensor for sensing the pitch of the user support,” “yaw input,” and a “control loop” for determining torque. Claim 2, also included in the exclusion order, describes the same thing, where the “user support” includes a handlebar.
Segway’s complaint names 13 different companies. Five companies had their cases terminated by reaching settlements or consent orders with Segway. The companies that cut a deal are Ninebot, Robstep, Shenzhen Inmotion, Tech in the City, and FreeGo USA. Meanwhile, UPTECH, UP Technology, UP Robotics, FreeGo China, and EcoBoomer all defaulted and are subject to the order. Only one company, Roboscooters, defended itself but lost its case. (The Commission’s Office of Unfair Import Investigations was also named as a party, which is supposed to represent the public.)
Amazon recently won a patent for a photography technique snapping a picture of an object against a white background. This has caused an uproar among photographers. A petition circulating with nearly 45,000 signatures asking the US Patent and Trademark Office to appeal the parent.
BlackBerry filed petition at a California court to block U.S. sales of the Typo keyboard, an add-on keyboard for the iPhone. BlackBerry says is an “obvious knock-off” of the keyboards on its phones.
The move, came late Wednesday, intensifying a battle between the two companies that began in January this year when BlackBerry accused Typo of patent infringement. The lawsuit garnered considerable attention, in part because Typo was co-founded by popular U.S. radio and television personality Ryan Seacrest.
The keyboard is designed to slip onto an iPhone 5 or 5S to provide a physical keyboard.
Such keyboards have been a main selling point of BlackBerry devices since the company was making radio pagers and despite the recent popularity of on-screen virtual keyboards, there remains many users who value a physical keyboard. BlackBerry alleges infringement of two patents: U.S. Design Patent 685,775 and U.S. Patent 7,629,964. The former covers the design elements of a “handheld electronic device” and the latter “an electronic device with keyboard optimized for use with the thumbs.”