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News Feed and Competitive Insights

Every week, the Magic Number team connects intellectual property changes with market activity.

Red Hat at the Edge of the Atmosphere

Edge Computing Patent Forecast®

April 29, 2021

Edge Computing is a critical technology for operations in areas without a fast or strong connection to a central processing server. If outer space isn’t perfect for edge computing, we’re not sure what is. In October, the Patent Forecast® highlighted how Microsoft was partnering with SpaceX to bring Azure’s cloud computing platform to SpaceX missions, but edge computing was not yet part of the deal. However, in April 2021, Red Hat and IBM announced they would be demonstrating edge-computing technology with the International Space Station’s HPE Spaceborne Computer 2 for use in DNA sequencing. 

Red Hat and IBM were likely chosen due to their powerful edge computing suite, and their strong patent portfolio is the icing on the cake. Combined, Red Hat and IBM have 82 patent assets in the last ten years. Their combined portfolio puts them only behind Intel and Cisco in the sector. However, if the demonstration is successful and the collaboration becomes long term, Intel and Cisco may be left with practically no way to compete for edge computing solutions in space. SpaceX and Blue Origin are the essentially the only private companies that would be in need of processing capabilities in space. With SpaceX already partnering with Microsoft, Intel and Cisco may be competing to land a deal with Blue Origin in the future to avoid being left out. On the other hand, they could also try partnering internationally, with the European Space Agency (ESA) or Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Check out the Edge Computing Patent Forecast® to keep up with companies competing for control of the edge. 

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CB Therapeutics Elevates Cannabinoid Biosynthesis Race

Cancer Patent Forecast®

April 29, 2021

Having made its first commercial sale of rare cannabinoids back in June of 2020, CB Therapeutics is continuing to stake its claims in cannabinoid biosynthesis, receiving its second patent on April 20, 2021. This patent discloses a process for increasing the yield of cannabinoids from genetically modified yeast which consists of the DNA to produce cannabinoids while suppressing genes for the production of other unneeded metabolites. CB Therapeutics’ synthesis platform has even succeeded at producing other high value molecules such as Psilocybin and DMT, which can be used for medicinal research.

CB Therapeutics began working with CFN Enterprises, Inc. in October of 2020 to increase its reach and to attract interested retailers and institutional investors using its PsyIndex, which tracks public and private sales of psychedelics, making this relationship impressively lucrative. 

While CB Therapeutics has put its sights on patents, it still falls behind cannabinoid biosynthesis leader Teewinot Life Sciences Corp. which possesses an impressive 12 patents for its CannSynthesis technology. Teewinot’s lead daunts the competition in cannabinoid biosynthesis with the next leaders including NextLeaf Solutions, Purisys, and Librede. NextLeaf has 3 granted patents in Cannabinoid Biosynthesis, while Purisys and Librede each have 2. Canavation Product Group acquired the consumer products division of Teewinot in October of 2019 which included U.S. Patent 7,399,872 for cannabinoid biosynthesis and is likely the reason behind its purchase. Librede was also acquired for its patent portfolio by Lygos. Purisys, a Noramco spin-off, recently became the provider for GB Sciences’ cannabinoid needs. GB Sciences is stepping away from plant-extracted cannabinoids to begin using synthesized ones provided by Purisys that are cleaner and cheaper.   

Cannabinoid Biosynthesis patents have a pretty price tag on them. Their industrial use and ease of integration all have a part to do with it. The space is still growing and doing so quickly. More M&A activity will be seen very soon, likely starting with these patent leaders such as Purisys and CB Therapeutics. Stay up-to-date with market developments in the cannabis sector using the Cannabis Patent Forecast®. Try it free here!      

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Nextiles Took a Patent-Focused Approach From the Start. Will It Pay Off?

Sports Analytics Patent Forecast®

April 29, 2021

Since the introduction of conductive threads, the textile and wearable sensors industry has been searching far and wide for every possible use of it, particularly for collecting data in clothing. Simply search for smart clothing using your favorite search engine and you’ll be met with a myriad of companies looking for ways to profit in the industry without much success, but Patent Forecast® has found a diamond in the rough.

Nextiles is a smart textiles company that spun out of an MIT research lab in 2019. Its focus is developing sensor fabrics that can produce biomechanical data from form-fitting clothing, then processing this data using machine learning into actionable insights. While this might sound similar to other smart fabric companies, what differentiates Nextiles is its specific applications within sports to not only measure direction, speed, and distance, like other wearables, but also novel Newtonian measurements like force, bending, and pressure. This is achieved by integrating semi-conductive threads into the clothing instead of traditional conductive thread, allowing the threads to sense mechanical changes at multiple points rather than just the beginning and end of the thread. Pairing this with its machine learning analytics allows Nextiles to provide athletes with broader and more insightful data that can help better an athlete’s game and prevent injury.

As for patents, Nextiles started filing early with provisional applications in 2018, already issued, including one only eight months after filing. These early successes are impressive, but what’s their strategy? With its previous patents cited by Google and Apple, Nextiles should continue filing new patent applications to broaden its claim sets, to block competition, and to possibly set itself up for acquisition. 

As for the future of Nextiles, can it match its patent portfolio success with products? Stay updated on Nextiles and other Sports Analytics companies by monitoring our Patent Forecast®

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First Wave is the First to Move on Gut Reaction

Pandemics/Epidemics (Free) Patent Forecast®

April 29, 2021

Some say the quickest way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Well, that might also be the quickest way to treat COVID-19. In April 2021, a patent was issued to First Wave for a method of treating COVID using niclosamide. For those unfamiliar with niclosamide, the drug has traditionally been used in the past as a means for treating tapeworms, roundworms, and other types of intestinal parasites. First Wave is no stranger to using niclosamide, as it is currently in the process of testing its MetaWave products (which include niclosamide) to treat ulcerative colitis. In fact, First Wave had already received a patent for that product line in 2019!

COVID-19 is a much different disease than ulcerative colitis, but the treatment has shown progress. Some studies have shown niclosamide to have promise in reducing COVID-19, while other studies have really just begun to test the effectiveness of the drug, but note the dates on these studies. The former study was conducted between June and August of 2020, while the later isn’t even scheduled to be completed until April 2021. However, the filing date of First Wave’s patent is March 31, 2020. This is the importance of early filing of patents. For reference, the former study was conducted by UNION Therapeutics, a Danish company that is also targeting the treatment of COVID-19 with niclosamide. It said so back on April 2, 2020, just two days after First Wave Bio’s patent was filed... Whoops. Even if UNION Therapeutics’ testing is successful, it may not be able to market its product at all if First Wave’s patent blocks it. It’s possible that First Wave may be willing to grant a license, but it’s also possible it won’t be so willing. If UNION Therapeutics is blocked by First Wave, that would not only mean that the money spent testing and developing the product would largely go to waste, but also that it blew its chance to leverage its experience with niclosamide to develop a profitable product. A few days of waiting could have cost UNION Therapeutics massive sums of money.

Patent Forecast® will keep watching to see if UNION Therapeutics and First Wave reach some sort of agreement, and you can see for yourself by monitoring our free Patent Forecast® for Pandemics.


Drug Icon, Pill Icon, Medicine Icon, Pharma, Pharmacy

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Velodyne and Ansys Collaborate to Solve A/V Edge Cases

Automobile Vision: LIDAR Patent Forecast®

April 29, 2021

If you’re following Autonomous Driving, you probably already know that Velodyne and Ansys are collaborating to integrate vehicle LiDaR into a driving simulator. This will allow engineers to rapidly model the numerous edge cases that are responsible for autonomous vehicle accidents. 

Here’s what you won’t read anywhere else - WHY did these two companies collaborate? Not being an automobile manufacturer, Velodyne must serve multiple different types of vehicles to succeed, which means it’s going to have many more edge cases to deal with than automobile manufacturers who only have to concern themselves with their own vehicles. In that light, the LiDaR/Simulator collaboration makes great sense. It also positions them for applications other than automobiles, as LiDaR-based control is diffusing into many industries. 

Veldodyne has a medium-sized LiDaR portfolio, as shown by the accompanying Patent Forecast® radian. The major automobile manufacturers, along with Waymo, clearly lead the way, but Velodyne appears to have adequate protection to prevent patent infringement claims against it and moreover is using its IP to force competitors to cross-license patents. Cross-licensing can fortify a smaller portfolio, but you need to have your own portfolio to play. 

Ansys, on the other hand, has a significant portfolio in simulation technology, but nothing specifically related to automobile vision. It might be helpful for them to buy or license in this sector.

Explore Velodyne’s patent portfolio with the Automobile Vision: LiDaR Patent Forecast®

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Why Is Packaging Concepts Investing in Patents 50 Years After Creation?

Biodegradable Packaging Patent Forecast®

April 29, 2021

Although Packaging Concepts Inc. has been around since 1972, it had zero patent assets for biodegradable packaging until its recent publication in April 2021. Packaging Concepts may have finally realized that it had zero protection if more competitors entered into its market. Did it make this realization a little too late? 

As of April 2021, it does not appear that there are any major companies, other than Packaging Concepts, that manufacture biodegradable popcorn packaging. In terms of patents, the Biodegradable Packaging Patent Forecast® identified two potential competitors for Packaging Concepts:  

First, two patent assets for sustainable and compostable food packaging with some description of popcorn packaging are owned by the founders of StitZii. But, StitZii appears to no longer be operating so Packaging Concepts does not need to be concerned about StitZii. 

Another patent asset directed towards a biodegradable microwave popcorn bag is assigned to Quinn Foods, LLC. Quinn Foods is still in business and generates $1.10 million in sales. Additionally, its products are sold in major retailers such as Target, Walmart, Whole Foods, and The Fresh Market, thus giving it a competitive advantage over Packaging Concepts in addition to patent protection. 

In comparison to Quinn Foods, Packaging Concepts dropped the ball when it comes to developing a patent portfolio. Will Packaging Concepts try to innovate around Quinn Foods? Subscribe to the Biodegradable Packaging Patent Forecast® to stay abreast of patent activity. 

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Securrency Raises $30M in Funding, Leads in Finance Crypto Patents

Cryptocurrency Patent Forecast®

April 29, 2021

Securrency uses blockchain technology to automate and regulate compliance and transactions for decentralized finance (DeFi), which does not rely on centralized banks, exchanges, or other traditional financial institutions. The company has raised $30M in a Series B funding round, bringing its total funding to $64.5M according to Crunchbase. Securrency's patent portfolio includes eight (8) patent assets, which is a relatively strong position for a startup in the finance subcategory of the Cryptocurrency Patent Forecast®. However, these are all pending, with no enforceable rights yet. Most large financial institutions, including Bank of America and Mastercard, have fewer patents in this area, focusing instead on payment systems and security. 

Securrency is creating a universal, decentralized platform for financial transactions that depends on smart contract technology. Another company, Luther Systems, has three (3) patent assets for smart contracts but has diversified its platforms to real estate and insurance in addition to finance. Will this be a strategy for Securrency in the future? Most other DeFi companies are not present in the sector, which gives Securrency a strong position for expanding use of its platform in the future. You can keep up with decentralized finance and other cryptocurrency trends on the Patent Forecast®. 

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StimScience Raises Seed Funding, Sows Patents Early

Consumer Sleep Technology Patent Forecast®

April 29, 2021

California-based startup StimScience announced in April of 2021 that it had raised $6M in seed financing and is developing a consumer brain stimulation device to improve sleep. When it comes to sleep monitoring, the field is dominated by wearable and tech companies including Fitbit and Samsung. However, StimScience has three patent assets for a device that both monitors and stimulates neural activity related to sleep, giving it an advantage in the field. Its most recent application was filed in December of 2020, a few months before the fundraising.

Sleep stimulation is a fairly small category, with only 54 patent assets and limited market adoption. Prominent companies include Thync, which has since pivoted away from sleep to psoriasis treatment, and Neuvana, which focuses on the vagus nerve and earbud stimulators. Philips showed early interest in sleep stimulation, with four patents filed before 2010, but has not had any more recent activity. If StimScience's devices are effective, it is in a good position to take market share as well as leverage its patents for licensing and/or acquisition in the future. You can follow this company and more with the Consumer Sleep Patent Forecast®. 

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Baidu makes tiny ripples in Quantum Computing. We see an impending tidal wave.

Quantum Computing Patent Forecast®

April 22, 2021

Chinese companies are getting serious about quantum computing. After Alibaba launched a quantum computer in 2018, other Chinese companies were under pressure to do research of their own. Both Baidu and Tencent followed up the Alibaba launch by announcing the development of their own quantum research departments. Tencent had its first US application for quantum technology in January 2021, while Baidu had its first US application publish in April 2021. However, don’t let its seemingly late entrance fool you, Baidu is serious.

While only a single US application has published thus far, there are signs that many more applications may have been filed. The published US application claims priority to Chinese Application No. 110738320, which was the first application that Baidu filed for quantum technology in China. If this recent publication merely marks the beginning of a wave of Baidu applications in the US corresponding to its Chinese applications, it is likely to become a formidable force in the sector, as it has over 30 filings in China for quantum technology since October 2019. As an indicator to see whether these filings are coming, Patent Forecast® will be watching for a US Application corresponding to Chinese Application No. 110738321, which was filed shortly after its first application. 

The type of technology claimed in the Baidu application is also interesting. Baidu claims a superconducting circuit with two qubits coupled in a particular. That signals that Baidu isn’t merely developing quantum software and planning on leveraging the hardware of other companies: it’s building its own. Baidu’s initial focus on hardware likely comes as a surprise to those following its press releases so far. Baidu announced in September 2020 that it was launching QuantumLeaf, which provides simulation of quantum architecture for programmers. Baidu even provided an image of the architecture (seen below), which doesn’t show its own hardware as being part of the system, and suggests working with third party providers. It’s safe to assume Baidu has bigger plans than QuantumLeaf, but what form those plans will take remains to be seen.

For updates on Baidu’s quantum computing developments, follow the Quantum Computing Patent Forecast®!

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TIPA’s patents come up short. Can they stand up to P&G?

Biodegradable Packaging Patent Forecast®

April 22, 2021

The Biodegradable Packaging Patent Forecast® has highlighted TIPA’s activity over 4 times during the past year. The startup has raised over $50 million and has been fairly active with 12 patent assets over the past 5 years. TIPA is in a good position, but it appears to have slipped up when it comes to biodegradable and compostable sachets. 

TIPA offers a compostable stick pack & sachet but none of its patent assets mention sachet. This could be a problem as Procter & Gamble had a patent asset published in mid-April of 2021 directed to a biodegradable and compostable sachet. P&G is a key stakeholder in the Biodegradable Packaging Patent Forecast® and has a Safe Drinking Water Program that includes a sachet and cleans 10 liters of dirty water in just 30 minutes! 

Procter and Gamble has a significant financial advantage over TIPA and a commercial footprint that eclipses TIPA. Possible good news for TIPA is that P&G appears interested in partnering for mutual value with emerging companies, so TIPA, with its other patent assets, may be able to work out a cross-licensing agreement with P&G. 

For more updates related to TIPA, P&G, and Biodegradable Packaging patent activity, follow the Biodegradable Packaging Forecast here.

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