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  1. Google Granted Patent for Automatic Object Recognition in Videos

    Automatic object recognition is kind of a big deal in some circles. Having a computer that's able to automatically recognize what an object is with any accuracy is a tool that could find many uses. That's essentially what Google has now been granted a patent on in videos. Of course, what this will actually be used in conjunction with remains to be seen, but one can't help but wonder if this won't eventually find its way into Project Glass.

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  2. Minecraft Sued by Notorious Patent Troll Over Software

    It just isn't the weekend if someone isn't being sued over something frivolous. Uniloc, a company best known for suing scads of others, has filed suit against the developer of Minecraft -- Mojang -- over software patents. Specifically, the patents are in reference to a method used to prevent unauthorized access to data. It's this kind of broad language that has allowed Uniloc to happily start suing others like publisher Electronic Arts and now Mojang. This will clearly end well.

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  3. RIM Loses $147,200,000 in Patent Verdict

    In what continues to be a bad year, Research In Motion has now been ordered by a California jury to part with $147,200,000 due to patent litigation with Mformation Technologies. You see, back in 2008, RIM was sued by Mformation for infringing on their patent in regards to remote management systems for wireless gadgets. RIM claims that they were already using the technology when Mformation filed for the patent but it doesn't look good for the folks behind BlackBerry.

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  4. Microsoft Patents a Display For the Back of Your Phone

    Apple is often credited with beginning the trend in smartphone design where the entire front of your phone is a touchscreen. However, in a 2010 patent filed by Microsoft and published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office takes it to the next logical level: Your entire phone is a screen. Or rather, your phone has  a second screen on the currently unused back side. 

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  5. AOL Just Made a Billion Dollars Selling 800 Patents to Microsoft

    AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has announced in a memo that the dial-up provider come media giant has sold off 800 of its patents to Microsoft for $1.056 billion. The cash deal comes as AOL faces pressure from investors to make good on their promises of a rebirth for the company. Considering that a hefty chunk of that cool billion will be distributed to shareholders, the deal is sure to placate hard feelings for now.

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  6. There Is A Laser Surgery That Can Permanently Change Eye Color

    No, it's not a side-effect of LASIK or something, there is actually a variety of laser surgery specifically intended to change your eye color. Permanently. A doctor in Laguna Beach, California has developed a technique that allows him to use lasers to change brown eyes into blue eyes by destroying brown pigment in the iris. The procedure is quick and painless, taking only about a minute to pull off.

    After the treatment, the color change takes place over the course of about 2-3 weeks as the eye slowly gets rid of the melanin that had been hiding the blue base. Basically, your eye spends a few weeks crying out its color, until you're left with baby blues. There's no explicit mention anywhere, but it seems that this surgery, as it stands now, can only convert brown eyes to blue. It might be able to turn green eyes blue as well, but considering it seems to focus on getting rid of overlaying colors by stripping down to the base, us blue eye'd folks will have to stick to colored contacts.

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  7. How Patent Wars Are Stifling Innovation [Infographic]

    We all know that patent trolling is a pretty annoying and increasingly serious problem because they waste money that could be used to fund innovation, but what does that really mean? This infographic from MBA Online explains the depth of the situation pretty well. In recent business acquisitions, companies have found themselves paying hundreds of thousands of dollars per patent that comes along with the purchased company. If that's not enough, your average smartphone can require upwards of 200,000 patents. Really? Does your smartphone really do 200,000, unique, creative, patent-worthy things? Even considering internal processes? Probably not, although it would be pretty sweet if it did.

    Full infographic after the jump.

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  8. Try To Hack This Password: Apple’s Heartbeat Sensor Patent

    Everyday I am reminded how ridiculous technology is. According to a patent application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple is developing heartbeat sensors that can operate in conjunction with mobile devices like the iPhone. Whereas the sensor's most obvious function would be to monitor heart rates, possibly for hospital patients or marathon runners, the Cupertino-based computer giant also claims in the application that a person's heart rate could also be used in security procedures such as unlocking a phone or validating financial transactions. Whoa.

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  9. Today in Terrible Patents: Fonts with Feelings

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office gave Microsoft a patent on Tuesday for the science of the "fontling." A fontling is basically an animated font, which from the patent's abstract would be used primarily for educational purposes. A basic summary from the patent shows how general an idea this is: "The characters are modified in one of various ways, such as by altering their appearance, playing sounds associated with them, making the characters appear to be in motion, and so on." Basically, Microsoft just got a patent on all animated .gif files that are principally text. But wait, it gets more irritating. Here are some other specific examples of ways fontlings could "help" people understand words:

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  10. Is Sony Working on a Universal Controller that Works on XBox 360 and Wii?

    Imagine: one controller to rule them all, one controller to bind them: one universal controller that works on Sony's PS3, Microsoft's XBox 360, and the Nintendo Wii. Now, fancy that controller being manufactured by ... Sony, of all companies.

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