2021 Q1 Augmented reality / virtual reality patent processing

When the first quarter of 2021 began, we looked back at the global publication of augmented reality / virtual reality patent tracking data. As a brief overview, augmented reality / virtual reality (“AR / VR”) generally refers to a class of technologies that combine a vision of a real-world environment with virtual objects and information or provide a fully virtual environment such as to user experience. AR / VR technologies attract attention thanks, in part, to the availability of cheaper and more powerful mobile devices, faster and ubiquitous communication networks, as well as the growing need for remote media and collaboration. in this work since the domestic era. RA and VR are no longer restricted to entertainment and science fiction; they have now expanded into online shopping, on-the-job training and collaboration, healthcare delivery, and the real estate market, to name a few. In this series, we follow the growth of AR / VR patents around the world that we hope will accompany the rapid innovation in this technology space. We highlight trends in patenting AR / VR technologies: who gets AR / VR patent protection and where. We follow the various technology centers of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that manage AR / VR applications. And, from time to time, we focus on interesting new AR / VR patents.

In the first quarter of 2021, intellectual property offices around the world came together to issue more than 7,240 patents related to AR / VR technologies, nearly 500 more than the number of patents issued in the last quarter of 2020 and more. twice the amount issued in the first quarter of 2020. China remained the largest issuer by volume, with the Chinese patent office issuing more than 2,900 in the first quarter of 2021 (about 300 more than the fourth quarter of 2020). The United States remained in second place with just over 2,000 relevant patents issued (slightly below the fourth quarter of 2020). Overall, there has been a small increase worldwide in AR / VR patents issued. While each jurisdiction continues to face its own challenges to return to work during the global pandemic, many have adapted to remote options. In addition, the general embrace of digital interactions has certainly spurred numerous applications for AR / VR technologies that were not previously explored.

FIG. 1. Main jurisdictions to obtain AR / VR patents in the first quarter of 2021

LG experienced an increase in its RA / VR arsenal, which was ahead of Magic Leap and Microsoft with 171 relevant patents issued in the first quarter of 2021. We look forward to seeing how its innovations in future products are presented. A newcomer to our top 10 was the BOE Technogym Group, which, among other areas, has plans for AR / VR applications in the healthcare space.

FIG. 2. The top ten assigned by volume of AR / VR patents issued in the first quarter of 2021

An example of an AR / VR patent issued in the first quarter of 2021 is Chinese patent no. 112562375A assigned to Chery Automobile Co. Ltd. This utility patent covers a display method for displaying augmented reality road names. This technology allows the driver to see the name of the overlapping road on the same road, rather than having to rely on sporadic or hidden physical street signs.

With the data for the first quarter, we return to the USPTO Technology Center 2600, which manages a large percentage of AR / VR applications to look at a specific Technology Center group. Tech Center Group 2620 manages specific applications of selective visual display systems. This group has an average bonus rate of 70.7%. For permitted applications, about 73% had previously faced rejections based on prior art under USC § 102 of 102 or 103. In addition, about 30% of permitted applications had at least one application for continuous examination, with just over 25% of those requiring two or more applications for continuous examination. Rejections under 35 USC § 101 are less abundant than other groups of technology centers, with 20% of all applications rejecting 101 in a first office action, and being reduced to about 5% in a final office action. The average waiting time for patents issued by the Tech Center Group 2620 is 3 years, 8 months and 1 day from filing to issuance. Finally, the applicants have had some success in appealing a final action in the office to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. About 70% of the results of the appeal were in favor of the applicant, with the greatest success obtained after a brief request for review prior to the appeal.

Design patent protection is available in the United States and Canada to protect the ornamental design of an object. (Europe and other jurisdictions operate with a registration system, rather than an examination system.) Businesses and inventors can choose to protect hardware or graphical user interface elements through design patents. In the first months of 2021, some companies obtained patents that protected their designs. Unsurprisingly for some, Magic Leap was the top receiver with 9 design patents issued. Spigen recovered where it left off in late 2020, adding 5 more patents to help protect its line of mobile accessories.

Patent processing statistics methodology

Our analysis includes a search of all patents granted worldwide during the first quarter of 2021, from January 1 to March 31, for title keywords, summary, or claims related to AR technologies. / VR. We then review the data to determine which offices issue relevant patents and which companies focus on protecting their innovations in different parts of the world. For design patents, the same search was performed, but we note that the search was limited to the United States and Canada, as design protection is different around the world.

© 2021 Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, No. 253

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