Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)

A standard protocol allows for secure, authenticated communications between a controller device and an accessory device controlled by the controller. A controller and an accessory can establish a pairing, the existence of which is confirmed in the future and utilized to establish an encrypted communication session. A definition record for the accessory can be supplied by the controller which defines the accessory as a collection or services. Each service comes with at least one characteristic. Within a secure communication session the controller may query the attributes to determine accessory state and/or modify the characteristics in order to instruct the accessory change its status.

The present disclosure pertains in general to communication between electronic devices, and in particular to uniform communication protocols for communicating between controllers and accessories.

An array of electronic gadgets are becoming increasingly well-known. Tablet computers, mobile phones as well as home entertainment systems and so on are some of the electronic devices that people interact with regularly.

Another class of electronic devices that are becoming more sought-after includes various electronically controllable devices including thermostats, lighting devices, household appliances, etc.

It can be difficult for an individual to control multiple electronic equipment or systems. For instance, a user’s home might have a thermostat, an electronically controlled lighting system, or a security system for the home, and eventually. Every system is produced by a different brand, and each manufacturer may provide a dedicated controller device (e.g. the IR-based remote control device) or an app that the user can install and run on a general-purpose computingdevice like a mobile phone, tablet, or home computer system. Each controller device or app is typically customized for the specific system of the manufacturer. It might not work with other brands or even with other systemsfrom the same manufacturer. This kind of approach cannot be easily scaled. If a user wants to create a smart home or similar space then they’ll need to buy a large number of controller devices and/or software.

The present invention provides embodiments that provide a standard protocol for communicating between a controller device, or “controller” as well as all other electronic devices to be controlled (referred herein as accessorydevices or simply “accessories”) A controller could be implemented by, for instance, a general-purpose computing device such as a desktop tablet computer, laptop mobile phone, computer, or another wearable device or handheld device, by equipping the general-purpose computing device with executable code for programs; or, a controller can be a special-purpose computing device. A component can be any device that is controllable by a controller. The accessories can comprise light fixtures, thermostats and door locks. They can also be automated door openers such as garage doors openers. Accessories and controllers are able to communicate wirelessly or via wired channels using standard transport protocols like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth LE.

A uniform accessory protocol in some embodiments, can be used to establish an appropriate framework for the identification of an accessory as a collection or services. Each service is described as a set of characteristics with a certain value. These characteristics may represent different elements of an accessory’s current state. For example, in the case of thermostats, the characteristics could comprise power (whether the thermostat is on or off), current temperature (actualtemperature measured by the thermostat) and the an intended temperature (a settingtable temperature that the thermostat seeks to maintain). The protocol may also define messages that can be used by a controller to send commands and control messages (requests) to the accessory, and for the accessory to respond with messages. The requests may permit the controller to inquire about (e.g., read) characteristics of the accessory, and in certain cases to modify (e.g., write to) attributes of the accessory. For example, a controllercan read a power characteristic to determine whether the accessory is switched on or off, and can write to the power characteristic in order to turn off the accessory or turn it on. Regardless of its function the accessory is controlled by the appropriate request. An accessory can provide the accessory definition records to an controller. An accessory definition record can contain all details about the accessory. The accessorydefinition file may be used by a controller to decide the best way to communicate with an accessory. For instance, the information in the record on accessory definitions can be utilized by the controller to construct an interface for the user to operate the accessory as well as to construct requestmessages to the device.

The protocol may further specify notification mechanisms that an accessory can use to inform the controller of a particular change. The passive notification mechanism allows the controller to query the accessory to determine if characteristics have changed. The active or event-based notifications mechanisms permit the accessory to selectively communicate with one or several controllers whenever an attribute changes. Multiple notification mechanisms can be simultaneously supported, and a controller can choose a notification mechanism to be used for a particular accessory feature, service, or other.

In some embodiments the protocol could provide security measures that can be implemented to block unauthorised controllers from operating an accessory. An accessory could be set up to only accept requests from a controller that has already made a previous pairing with it and is recognized by the accessory. Pairing can be as simple as transferring keys that are long-term between the controller and accessory in a safe manner. Each device will retain the keys. To reduce the risk that an accessory’s owner/operator doesn’t like the creation of a pairing The protocol could outline the steps to set up the pairing. For example, during a pair setup process users may have to read a setupcode presented by one device (e.g., the accessory) and then input the setup code into the other device (e.g. the controller) or to place the two devices close to each other. Once a pairing is established it can be utilized to create end-to-end encryption for messages such that only the paired controller and accessory can read messages that they exchange between them. If an accessory or controller has previously established a pair and they are able to verify that the other is able to read messages. They also can generate specific encryption keys for each session.

In some embodiments the protocol could specify steps for a controller to identify and set up compatible accessories within its vicinity. This can make it easier for the task of adding new accessories to an automated control system that is managed by a controller.

The following detailed description together with the accompanying drawings will provide a better understanding of the nature and advantages of the present invention.

Click here to view the patent on USPTO website.


Get Patents with PatentPC

What is a patent?

A patent is granted by the government to safeguard an invention, patents give the inventor with exclusive rights to create, use, sell and promote the invention? Society benefits when a innovative technology is introduced to the market. Benefits can be realized in directly, in that it allows people to do previously impossible things. Or indirectly, due to the opportunities for economic growth (business growth and employment) that innovation provides.

Patent protection is sought by a variety of university researchers and drug companies for their work in research and development. A patent can cover the physical or abstract nature of a process or product, or even a method or composition of materials that are new to the area. Patent protection has to be granted to an invention that is useful or novel and is not previously known to others in the same field.

Patents are a way to honor inventors who have commercially profitable inventions. They act as a motivator for inventors to come up with new ideas. Small companies and inventors can rest assured that they will get an income from their investment in technology development via patents. They can earn a living by their work.

Patents play essential roles in companies, and they can:

Protect your innovative products and services.

Improve the visibility and the value of your product’s presence on the market

Stand out and differentiate yourself and your product from the rest.

Access technical and business knowledge and data;

Avoid the risk of using proprietary third-party content, or losing valuable data, original outputs, or another creative output.

Patents convert knowledge of the inventor into a marketable asset, which opens up new opportunities for job creation through joint ventures and licensing.

Small-scale businesses with patent protection will be more appealing to investors who are involved in the commercialization and development of technology.

Patenting can lead to the development of new ideas and new inventions. This information can promote the development of new ideas and could qualify for protection under patents.

Patents can be used as a deterrent against non-trustworthy parties that profit from an invention’s efforts.

The profits from technology patents that are successful and commercially viable can be used to finance the development of technology through research and development (R&D) that will increase the chance of better technology in the future.

Intellectual property ownership is a way to convince lenders and investors that there are legitimate opportunities to market your product. Sometimes, one patent can open the door to multiple financing opportunities. Patents and other IP assets are able to be used as collateral or security for debt financing. Investors can also see the patents you own to increase the value of your company. Forbes and other publications have pointed out that every patent can boost the value of a company by anything from $500,000 to $1 million.

Startups require a well-crafted business plan that leverages the IP to demonstrate that your product or service is unique, superior, or innovative. Investors will be amazed if your IP rights are secure or are on the verge of being secured, and they support your business strategy.

It is crucial to keep an invention secret until you submit to protect it with patents. Public disclosure of an invention could be detrimental to its originality and render it invalid. Thus, prior filing disclosures (e.g. for testing-marketing investors, test-marketing, or any other business partners) should only be filed upon signing a confidentiality contract.

There are a variety of patents. Knowing them is essential to protect your invention. Utility patents cover new methods and inventions made by machines. Design patents cover ornamental designs. Patents for utility are the best option to protect the proprietor from copies and competitors. Most often the utility patents are issued for improvements or modifications to existing inventions. Utility patents can also be used to cover improvements and modifications to existing inventions. For example, a process patent will be able to cover actions or methods of doing an action, while chemical compositions will comprise an assortment of ingredients.

What is the length average of a patent? Although utility patents are valid for 20 years from the date of the initial filing, they may be extended by delay in the patent office.

Are you considering patenting your ideas? Since patents are only granted to applicants who file first and you must file quickly – call a patent attorney at PatentPC to protect your idea now!

A patent search is a must when you’re writing an application for patent. This will allow you to see other concepts and provide insight into their potential. It will help you limit the scope of your invention. It is also possible to learn about the technological advancements in your area of invention. You’ll get a better understanding of what your idea should be and will be better prepared to write your patent application.

How to Search for Patents

A patent search is the initial step towards obtaining your patent. You can do a google patent search or do a USPTO search. After the patent application has been submitted, the product that is subject to the application may be described as patent-pending. you will be able to locate the patent application on a public pair. Once the patent office approves the application, you are able to do a patent number search to locate the issued patent, and your product is now patented. It is also possible to use the USPTO search engine. See below for details. A patent lawyer or patent attorney can advise you on the procedure. In the US, patents are granted by the US trademark and patent office, also known as the United States patent and trademark office, which also examines trademark applications.

Are you interested in similar patents? These are the steps to follow:

1. Think of terms that describe your invention in relation to its intended, composition, or use.

Write down a concise, but precise explanation of your invention. Avoid using generic terms such as “device”, “process,” or “system”. Instead, think about synonyms for the terms you selected initially. Next, note important technical terms and keywords.

To help you identify keywords and concepts, use the following questions.

  • What’s the purpose of this invention? Is it a utilitarian device or an ornamental design?
  • Does the invention consist of a method of creating something or performing some function? Or is it a thing or procedure?
  • What is the structure of the invention? What is the physical structure of the invention?
  • What is the goal of this invention?
  • What are the terms used in technical terminology and keywords that describe the nature of an invention? A technical dictionary can assist you to find the appropriate terms.

2. These terms allow you to search for relevant Cooperative Patent Classifications using the Classification Search Tool. To find the most appropriate classification to your invention, scan the classification’s class Schemes (class schedules). Think about substituting the words you’re using to describe your invention if you fail to receive any results from your Classification Text Search with synonyms similar to the words you used in the first step.

3. Examine 3. Check the CPC Classification Definition for confirmation of the CPC classification you’ve found. If the classification you have selected includes a blue square with the letter “D” at its left, the hyperlink will take you to the CPC classification definition. CPC classification definitions will assist you in determining the classification’s scope so that you can select the most relevant. Furthermore, these definitions can include research tips and other suggestions which could be helpful for further research.

4. The Patents Full-Text Database and the Image Database allow you to retrieve patent documents that include the CPC classification. By focusing on the abstracts and drawings that are representative, you can narrow down your search for the relevant patent documents.

5. Utilize this selection of most relevant patent publications to look at each one thoroughly for connections to your own invention. Pay close attention to the specifications and claims. Refer to the applicant and patent examiner for additional patents.

6. You can find published patent applications that fit the CPC classification you chose in Step 3. You can use the same strategy of searching in Step 4 to narrow your search results to the most pertinent patent applications through the abstract and representative drawings on each page. The next step is to review the patent applications that have been published carefully and pay particular attention to the claims, and other drawings.

7. You can find additional US patent publications using keyword searching in AppFT or PatFT databases, and also the classification search of patents that are that are not issued by the United States according to below. Also, you can utilize web search engines to search non-patent patent disclosures in literature about inventions. Here are a few examples:

  • Add keywords to your search. Keyword searches may turn up documents that are not well-categorized or have missed classifications during Step 2. For example, US patent examiners often supplement their classification searches with keyword searches. Think about the use of technical engineering terminology rather than everyday words.
  • Search for foreign patents using the CPC classification. Then, re-run the search using international patent office search engines such as Espacenet, the European Patent Office’s worldwide patent publication database of over 130 million patent publications. Other national databases include:
  • Search non-patent literature. Inventions can be made public in many non-patent publications. It is recommended that you search journals, books, websites, technical catalogs, conference proceedings, and other print and electronic publications.

To review your search, you can hire a registered patent attorney to assist. A preliminary search will help one better prepare to talk about their invention and other related inventions with a professional patent attorney. In addition, the attorney will not spend too much time or money on patenting basics.