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thumbnailTwitter granted pull-to-refresh patent that everyone already uses (and sort of gives it away) May 21st 2013, 21:28
twitter-archiveToday, Twitter was officially granted U.S. Patent #8,448,084 for an mobile app invention: Pull to refresh. That is, of course, the same gesture-based user interface control that many apps already use — such as major Twitter social media rival Facebook.The mechanics of the innovation are simple and have already added the lexicon of gestures that most mobile users have already become familiar with: Pull the user interface down to force the app to refresh its current view.

But thanks to Twitter’s innovator’s patent agreement (IPA), the business and legal ramifications are just about as easy.

Facebook's mobile app on iOS uses a version of pull-to-refresh Source: John Koetsier

Facebook’s mobile app on iOS uses a version of pull-to-refresh

As The Verge notes, Twitter’s IPA was released as a 1.0 spec today as releasing it in draft form early in 2012. And the IPA is in full effect for this most recent Twitter patent.

Loren Brichter, the developer who created pull-to-refresh — which Twitter acquired in 2010 when it bought Tweetie — was concerned about how Twitter would use his patent. So concerned, in fact, that he asked Twitter to agree with him as part of the terms of the sale of his company that it would never use the patent offensively.

This means, according to the IPA, any company that has not initiated offensive patent litigation in the past decade is safe. Defensive use of the patent, however is permitted by the IPA if the following terms are true:

  1. If a company “has filed, maintained, threatened, or voluntarily participated in a patent infringement lawsuit against Assignee or any of Assignee’s users, affiliates, customers, suppliers, or distributors.”
  2. Or, if a company :has filed, maintained, or voluntarily participated in a patent infringement lawsuit against another in the past 10 years.”
  3. And finally, “to deter a patent litigation threat against Assignee or Assignee’s users, affiliates, customers, suppliers, or distributors.”

There’s one more loophole for offensive patent action if the above do not apply: if the company that owns the patent asks the engineers responsible for creating the intellectual property for written permission.

Overall, however, this is a significant step to making patents better and reducing the impact of patent trolling and patent lawsuits — if other companies adopt it in large numbers.

“We hope the adoption of the IPA will spur constructive dialogue on making patent system work better for companies, inventors, and policymakers alike,” Twitter’s Ben Lee wrote today.

Image credits: Twitter icons

Filed under: Business, Dev, Mobile, Social
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Facebook’s mobile app on iOS uses a version of pull-to-refresh

Health care is Verizon’s $6 billion business May 21st 2013, 17:42
nancy green verizonVerizon is the largest wireless telecommunications provider in the U.S., and the company is using its extensive network and resources to influence health care.Communication is one of the biggest challenges facing health care today. Doctors cannot use e-mail, social media networks, or SMS texting to discuss patients because it violates privacy regulations, and electronic medical record (EMRs) systems are generally incompatible with each other, which makes the secure exchange of information even more difficult.

At VentureBeat’s HealthBeat today, Verizon managing principal of connected health care solutions Nancy Green explained how Verizon can benefit the health care community.

“When you think of Verizon, you think of our wireless network. But we have a $6 billion health care practice and a chief medical officer ,” Green said onstage. “We are moving and enabling the business of health care so others can innovate. We have experts on compliance and security, and startups can use the size and scope and scale of Verizon to make a difference.”

Security and authentication are major concerns when it comes to medical communication. Green said that 27 countries, the White House, and the U.S. nuclear launch codes are secured by Verizon. The company knows how to do security and authenticate people, and it is applying this expertise to the health care. Verizon has credentialed every clinician and physician in the United States and provide a secure channel for transmitting data, such a prescriptions. An example is Verizon’s work with Surescripts to support electronic prescriptions and set up digital signage on devices. From their iPads and iPhones, doctors can sign in using a passcode, authenticate their identity, write, confirm, and accept prescriptions, and digitally sign documents. Verizon’s “exchange layer” moves the information securely from network to network (doctor to pharmacy) so doctors don’t have to visit a terminal or use pen and paper.

Verizon’s dual persona technology is also particularly useful in the medical field. Doctors often use their personal mobile devices for work and Green said that it is a struggle to securely manage patient data on phones and keep it separate from personal information. Through an exclusive partnership with VMware, Verizon has a solution that can lock down the enterprise/clinical side of phones.

To quote Voltaire (or Uncle Ben from Spider-Man), with great power comes great responsibility. Verizon has a network of 115 million people and a huge telecommunications infrastructure, and Green said the company is committed to supporting entrepreneurs and ideas that use this power for good. So is competitor AT&T, which also has health care solutions. Both companies see opportunities in an industry that makes up 17 percent of the GDP and relies heavily on mobile and telecommunication technology. These opportunities also extend beyond mobile health technology. In March, Verizon announced its new cloud service for health data exchange and a partnership with HealthSpot to power tele-medicine kiosks in the field.

Photo Credit: Michael O’Donnell/VentureBeat

Filed under: Cloud, Enterprise, Health, Mobile