Source: EnvisionIP blog, Sep 2012
Envision IP reviewed Google’s US patent portfolio to determine how the company has been patenting various aspects of its head-mounted display (HMD) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. Google currently has 36 issued US patents, and 4 pending US patent applications related to this exciting technology. Its issued patents include 10 design patents for eyeglass-like devices, as well as patents covering gaze-tracking, point-of-view, and eye-tracking based cursor movement and selection, as well as multi-mode inputs for HMDs that incorporate hand, finger, and head movements.
Not surprisingly, Google’s technology giant counterparts Microsoft and IBM also have relatively large US patent portfolios which cover HMD and AR technologies, with 53 and 41 US patents, respectively, in these areas.
Canon, traditionally focused on imaging and optical products such as cameras, photocopiers, and printers, also has 58 US patents covering HMD and AR technologies.
The patents owned by Microsoft, IBM, and Canon in this space appear to be more fundamental to core hardware technology than Google’s patents; that is they cover general aspects of HMD such as lenses, optical hardware, and digital processing technology.
Microsoft, IBM, and Canon began filing US patent applications in this space as early as 1999, while Google began filing US patent applications in this space in 2010*.