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

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NFL May Not be Lagging in Analytics for Long

Sports Analytics Patent Forecast®

September 24, 2020

When taking a look through the history of analytics in sports, the NFL has been relatively absent from the picture considering the fact that they are the largest sports league in America. The MLB is likely the first to come to mind, more specifically the extremely analytical approach of Billy Beane when he was managing the Oakland A's, as was depicted in Moneyball, followed closely by the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, with their tech-entrepreneur owner, Mark Cuban. However, since partnering with Zebra Technologies back in 2014, the NFL has been on a mission to not only catch up to the analytic capabilities of their rivaling sports leagues, but surpass them, and now they may have just collected the resources to do so.

If you have been a long time NFL fan, I'm sure you remember the days when the most analysis of a play you would get was a commentator drawing messy routes in yellow on top of the screen. This technique, being tracked back to John Madden himself, has been in use by the NFL for over 30 years, and has not changed much since its origin. However, since their partnership with Zebra Technologies, the NFL has been working to implement RFID chips into the gear of every player in order to obtain data down to the inch of player and ball movements. This along with their recent partnership with AWS's machine learning services has allowed the NFL to catch up with other sports leagues in the availability of analytical data and predictions known as Next Gen Stats, allowing fans the luxury of having an in-depth analysis of every route, run, or catch made by their favorite team or players.

Zebra Technologies' patent activity probably helped land the NFL contract. Starting in July 2013, Zebra filed at least 19 patent applications before July 2014, when the deal was announced. Of these, 12 issued as patents before the deal was announced. Considering Zebra Technologies already had existing RFID-based solutions meant for different applications, it was relatively easy for them to explode in patent activity as soon as they determined there was room for them in the sector. Now, following this boom in the patent activity of Zebra Technologies in 2013/2015, they completely saturate that category of the radian, a quality that has most likely allowed them to continue their partnership with the NFL with little to no sign of competition. It is likely that their attentiveness to patent activity as well as an opportunistic outlook on the booming industry of Sports Analytics allowed Zebra Technologies to stay ahead of their competition and land a major long-term partnership that has generated them billions in revenue.

Get one step ahead of your competition and stay on top of patent activity by subscribing to the Magic Number® Sports Analytics Patent Forecast®.

Snapshot of Sports Analytics Sector with Lack of Patent Activity in Telemetry Analytics Highlighted

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BrainLit Sheds a Light on New Product

Consumer Sleep Technology Patent Forecast®

September 24, 2020

Swedish lighting company BrainLit recently signed a deal with electronics manufacturer NOTE ahead of a proposed new product launch later this year. BrainLit specializes in indoor lighting systems designed to imitate natural lighting with biological effects. The systems are timed to match people's natural circadian rhythm and to enhance alertness and comfort in a variety of settings, and BrainLit is reported to be releasing a new system this fall that will incorporate machine learning for smarter lighting setups. The company's newest patent application, filed in May of 2020, hints at new features by teaching a method for generating a database of users and light profiles. The method includes a sensor system which can monitor users' physiological signs, including sleep patterns and movement. These readings, along with user information including genomic data, are then used to evaluate the effects of a light profile. 

Given that machine learning requires a large amount of data to generate effective results, it makes sense that BrainLit is looking to patent relevant data collection methods. The company has three sleep-related light control patent applications so far. Many patents covering lighting control deal with the moments right before and right after sleep, to ease users into and out of a good night's rest; BrainLit, however, is interested in how lighting throughout the day affects sleep as well as other biological behaviors. You can view BrainLit's patents and others on the Magic Number® Patent Radian®. 

Window, Indoors, Empty, Architecture, Fair Weather

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Next Big Thing for Nextleaf Solutions

Cannabis Patent Forecast®

September 24, 2020

Nextleaf Solutions Ltd., a leading developer of cannabis processing technology and a leading cannabis processing patent assignee, was just issued its ninth patent (U.S. Pat. No. 10,780,442) for a method of separating trichomes from cannabis, making what is otherwise known as bubble hash.

Patent ‘442 discloses that water chilled below 10° C is mixed with cannabis ground to a size between 1 cm and 2.5 cm and is agitated in the chilled water to separate the trichomes from the raw cannabis matter. Agitation involves the use of a gas as well as a blunt agitator rotating from 50-500 rpm. After which, the cannabis-trichome slurry is sieved through a series of sieves beginning with a mesh size of about 200 mm and working down to about 15 mm. The retained trichome matter is then dried into a powder and decarboxylated.  

Trichomes are the sticky outgrowths on cannabis plants that house the sought after cannabinoids. In essence, they are the cannabis money makers, so it’s likely Nextleaf Solutions will be licensing this patent, as they have been doing with prior IP

Nextleaf Solutions is one of three leading assignees in the Magic Number® Cannabis Patent Forecast® “Processing - Extraction” category. Subscribe to the Cannabis Patent Forecast to find out more about Nextleaf Solutions’ competitors and how they stand in the U.S. cannabis market.   

Bud, Cannabis, Close Up, Dope, Drug, Flower, Ganja

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Wearable Monitor to Assess Joint Health

AI Biotech/Diagnostics: Neurology Patent Forecast®

September 24, 2020

Have you ever wondered if the sound of your knees cracking when you stand up from your desk after a few hours is a normal sound part of aging, or maybe the result of something more sinister? KneeVoice Inc.'s newest patent application (U.S. App. No. 20200289082) teaches a method and device that could shed some light on the mysterious noises the joints in the human body make. The application, titled "Assessing Joint Condition Using Acoustic Sensors" teaches a method that uses a wearable device similar to a knee brace to record the acoustic noises from the wearer's knee. These noises are then transmitted to the wearer's smart phone, and can be shared with doctors, physical therapists, surgeons, and other medical specialists. The system uses AI to classify the received signals to "identify patterns of friction, crepitus, or joint cracks in a simple and non-invasive way." 

These signals can be used to diagnose underlying joint issues, gauge therapy receptiveness, and estimate surgery success rates. U.S. App. No. '082 is KneeVoice Inc.'s 2nd application, and the company also holds a singular patent for similar technology. The AI musculoskeletal sector is not a very crowded sector yet, and surprisingly, Facebook Inc. actually currently has the most documents in the sector. Other competitors in the sector include medical device giant Psomagen Inc., and two other smaller startups, JointVue LLC., and Bionic Yantra Limited. Make sure to subscribe to the Magic Number® AI Biotech/Diagnostic Patent Forecast® to keep a close eye on the emerging AI musculoskeletal sector!

Knee, X-Ray, Medical, Anatomy, Skeleton, Bone

 

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A Spotlight on Xanadu

Quantum Computing Patent Forecast®

September 24, 2020

Xanadu Quantum Technologies Inc., a Canadian quantum startup, has placed the world’s first photonic quantum computer onto the cloud. In contrast to quantum computers that rely on expensive and fragile qubits, Xanadu’s computer uses photons for computing. This means that Xanadu’s system does not require near-absolute-zero conditions, does not require extensive error correction, and does not have the difficulties scaling that their competitors do. A photonic quantum computer also has other advantages, such as ability to be integrated into existing photonic-based telecom technology.

There are other quantum computers available on the cloud, but no others that rely on photons. Xanadu adding their photonic quantum computer to the cloud is not just adding an alternative to the other quantum computers, but in fact adds new capabilities that the other quantum computers do not offer. Due to the nature of quantum computing, different hardware configurations are required to solve different problems. According to Xanadu CEO Christian Weedbrook, “[t]he set of problems that you can solve on our cloud is literally different from anyone else.” Xanadu’s quantum computer should have capabilities in solving densest subgraph problems, which involve identifying the node in a network with the most connections. These problems have applications in biology and medicine such as helping researchers “understand how complicated networks of proteins interact in the human body.”

Xanadu has pulled in $45M in funding—less than a quarter of the $215M invested in California-based competitor PsiQuantum earlier this year. Both companies are taking slightly different approaches—Xanadu relies on the uncertainty principle while PsiQuantum relies on beam splitters—but it is natural to compare the two as the biggest names in photonic quantum computing. Not only does PsiQuantum have more funding, but they also have a more aggressive patent strategy, with eleven issued patents in this space compared to Xanadu’s one issued patent. If Xanadu wants to catch up, they had better hope that their new offering on the cloud attracts the attention of investors.

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Stats Perform Showing an Interesting Patent Strategy

Sports Analytics Patent Forecast®

September 17, 2020

In an earlier sector insight, we highlighted some of the recent market activity of Stats Perform, noting how its continual commitment towards developing long term exclusivity deals seemed to outweigh their commitment to developing their IP portfolio. While they have continued to form exclusive deals with individual leagues and sportsbook groups, including recent partnership extensions formed with the Pro League and Matchroom, the most recent round of published applications from the USPTO gave a little insight into their patent strategy. In this round of publications, Stats Perform had six (6) separate applications publish in a wide breadth of categories within the Sports Analytics sector. These categories included Image & Video Analytics, Predictive Analytics, and the company's first-ever document belonging to the Data Applications category, in the Broadcast Enhancement subcategory. 

While this technique of filing multiple patent applications within the same day might seem odd, it is actually a pretty popular technique among large tech companies. While it is possible that this could just be a preference of the company patenting for organizational reasons, it could be a strategic decision to avoid disclosing too much information to their competitors before their developing tech is ready for commercialization. This could indicate new products and tech coming from Stats Perform in the near future, which will complement their extremely active market activity and spur even more growth.

Keep up with the patent trends of this company and many others in their space by subscribing to the Magic Number® Sports Analytics Patent Forecast®.

Snapshot of 2020 Sports Analytics Radian With Stats Perform Documents Highlighted

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Moderna's Race to a Vaccine

Pandemics/Epidemics (Free) Patent Forecast®

September 17, 2020

One of the leading narratives in the ongoing race for a COVID-19 vaccine is the competition between Moderna and Astrazeneca to first produce a workable vaccine. Recently, U.S. Patent Publication No. 2020/0282046 for a Betacoronavirus mRNA vaccine published for Moderna. While COVID-19 is classified as a betacoronavirus, it is worth noting that the specification never specifically identifies COVID-19. In fact, much of the specification and the initial set of filed claims (of which there were 135) are focused on vaccines for viral diseases other than those caused by coronaviruses, including Measles and Human Metapneumoviruses. 

Moderna has received a first non-final rejection for their application, which states that the application fails to enable Moderna's claim to "A method comprising administering to a subject a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) comprising an open reading frame encoding a betacoronavirus (BetaCoV) S protein or S protein subunit formulated in a lipid nanoparticle in an effective amount to induce in the subject an immune response to the BetaCoV S protein or S protein subunit." While Moderna has argued that the application includes support showing an effective response to treatment both in vitro and in vivo for a vaccine for MERS (a species of coronavirus), it remains to be seen whether Moderna may quickly win the race to a patent for a coronavirus vaccine with this application or if they have additional applications that have yet to be published.

For more news regarding the race for a cure to COVID-19, subscribe to the interactive visual Pandemics Patent Forecast® offered by Magic Number®.

Covid, Corona, Coronavirus, Virus, Covid-19, Disease

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Is there really any CBD in that drink?

Cannabis Patent Forecast®

September 17, 2020

Cannabis-infused drinks are not new. But are the cannabinoids really able to infuse into drinks? Can the cannabinoids mix into solution and provide the same therapeutic benefits? What about for the non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD; how can you tell then? 

One patent (U.S. Pat. No. 10,772,457) granted this week to Drive Foods Corp. states that of 10 tested cannabis-infused coffees claiming to contain between 5 mg of CBD to 65 mg CBD prior to the brewing process none contained detectable amounts of CBD in the tested brewed coffee. The tests were said to be conducted through Cannalysis Labs in California. 

It’s no secret that cannabis-based oils don’t mix well with water-based drinks. Some companies have explored improving biochemical properties of the cannabinoids to make them more soluble. For instance, Trait Biosciences Inc. has a patented (U.S. Pat. No. 10,378,020) system and method of making cannabinoids more water-soluble by glycosylation, since carbohydrates are easily dissolved in water. As for brewed coffee, patent ‘457 states that the applicants have concluded that the cannabinoids likely don’t pass through coffee filters. 

In view of this, patent ‘457 discloses a single-serve coffee container having within it coffee, cannabis matter, and a filter wherein the size of the filter pores are larger than the cannabis matter. In essence, this allows the cannabis matter to flow through the filter into the coffee beverage. It is known that if the cannabis matter has yet to be decarboxylated, then the hot water used needs to be at least 105° C (221° F) to decarboxylate and activate the cannabinoids for use. It is surely one way to get around the issue, but it doesn’t appear that the drink is in any way infused now. It seems more likely that the intention is to drink activated cannabis matter, which when digested could produce an effect. 

Infusing drinks with cannabis has caught the attention of many in the food and beverage industries including The Coca-Cola Company and Constellation Brands. Magic Number is following patent and market activity closely to see and document the development and integration of cannabis into the food and beverage industry. Don’t miss a beat and subscribe now to the interactive Cannabis Patent Forecast®

Cbd Oil, Cannabidiol, Cannabinoid, Hemp Oil, Thc Oil

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Oura Health Scores Numerous Pro Sports Partnerships

Consumer Sleep Technology Patent Forecast®

September 17, 2020

Finnish tech startup Oura Health has signed a number of partnerships in the last year to expand the visibility and use of its Oura Ring wearable, a biometric sleep and fitness tracker that is unique in its ability to monitor user temperature. Oura has sold over 150,000 rings to date and has 7 patent documents in the Consumer Sleep sector, with its most recently published application filed back in September of 2019.

In April of 2020, Oura partnered with (University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to distribute the Oura rings to frontline healthcare workers for a COVID-19 detection study. A few months later, the NBA and WNBA both partnered with Oura to provide the rings to their athletes, who are currently staying in an isolated "bubble" to allow league games to continue. To facilitate this, Oura developed a "risk score" that specifically assesses the likelihood that a player has COVID-19 based on the ring's readings in order to abstract and protect other metrics that players may not want to share. Oura also offered its risk score and wearable to NASCAR, signing a multiyear partnership in August of 2020. Just this week, Oura completed an agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which the league said was in the works even before the coronavirus pandemic. 

The partnerships show that Oura's technology is valuable in the fields of healthcare and professional sports, lending legitimacy to the company's products. Fitbit, a leader in the healthcare wearables sector, has a much larger patent portfolio (212 documents to Oura's 7) but has not worked with professional sports leagues. Apple has also recently announced health studies with multiple universities and the government of Singapore. As these partnerships continue, they may spur new innovation as well as appeal to everyday consumers. You can get an early view of these developments by following movement on the Magic Number® Patent Radian®. 

Basketball Court, Basketball, Sports, Sport, Basket

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Battelle - the Newest Entrant in the Neuromodulation Field?

AI Biotech/Diagnostics: Neurology Patent Forecast®

September 17, 2020

Battelle Memorial Institute is slowly building an IP portfolio in the AI Biotech/Diagnostic Sector. This past week, the Ohio-based nonprofit had its second application in the neurology sector publish. The application (U.S. Pat. No. 20200282223) teaches a method that utilizes a multichannel simulator and decoder to apply stimulation pulses to the brain. While some neuromodulation technology is used for treating disorders, this one appears to be more relevant to brain-computer interface (BCI). BCI technology is defined as the "direct communication pathway between an enhanced or wired brain and an external device." Battelle's last application to publish (U.S. Pat. No. 20200206503) in the AI Biotech/Diagnostic sector also involved BCI technology, specifically for individuals who suffered traumatic spinal cord injuries. This suggests that Battelle is actively developing technology for injured or paralyzed patients to regain control of their bodies using BCI, and plans to develop technologies using neuromodulation.

Although neuromodulation is a relatively new field of science, there are plenty of other companies in the sector. The largest competitor is Halo Neuro, who has 12 patents and 15 applications. Other competitors such as Neuralink, Neurophet, and Elira Inc. have also recently had either patents or applications publish in the sector. While no one has built a portfolio the size of Halo Neuro's yet, it is likely that we will see the competitors in the sector begin to add more patents and applications to their portfolios in an effort to surpass each other. Make sure to subscribe to the Magic Number® AI Biotech/Diagnostic Patent Forecast® to follow Battelle's progression and stay up to date with the most recent neuromodulation patent activity.

Artificial Intelligence, Brain, Think, Control

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