As a patent attorney with over 20 years of experience with smart watch technology and who have sold smart-watch patents to one of the largest companies in the world, I take the opportunity to detail the rise of smart watches and predict how they will affect our daily lives.
A smartwatch or smart bracelet is a revolutionary wristwatch, offering vastly improved functions than a regular wristwatch. These devices can include features such as an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart rate monitor, barometer, altimeter, geo-magnetometer, geolocator (GPS), speaker, microphone, etc. They also have connectivity mechanisms such as Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, cellular networks, or USB.
Another fantastic thing that you have to understand about modern smartwatches is that they come with an array of new features, allowing you to search the internet with your voice, track your exercise on GPS, and allowing you to check out in the supermarket without having to take out your wallet.
Characteristics of smart watches
The first models of smart watches were capable of performing basic functions such as calculations, translations, or running mini-games, but current smart watches are already capable of performing enhanced functions, such as those of a smartphone or even a laptop.
Many smart watches can run mobile applications, some others run on a smartphone operating system to control them, and a few already have the technical capabilities of a mobile phone.
These devices can include features such as an accelerometer, thermometer, altimeter, barometer, compass, chronograph, diving equipment, calculator, mobile phone, GPS, graphic display, speaker, diary, watch, etc. You can use a cordless headset, hands-free, microphone, modem, or other external devices.
History of smart watches
Seiko, a Japanese watch company, was one of the first to develop pulse computing technology. The first digital watch, released in 1972, is known as the Pulsar, and the Hamilton Watch Company made it. Pulsar became a brand name that Seiko would later acquire in 1978.
In 1982, a Pulsar watch (NL C01) was published. It could store 24 characters. With the introduction of personal computers in the 1980s, Seiko began to establish watches with computing power.
The company designed other watches that came with an external keyboard for data entry. The data was synchronized from the keyboard to the clock through an electro-magnetic coupling system.
The D409 was Seiko’s first model with data entry capability (via a miniature keyboard) and featured a dot matrix display. His memory was very small, with only 112 characters. It was released in 1984 in gold, silver, and black colors. Many others followed these models from Seiko during the 1980s, especially the “RC” series.
During the 1980s, Casio began marketing a successful line of computer watches, in addition to its calculator watches. There were also Nelsonic game clocks and many other fantasy games produced by Casio and other companies.
Smart watches are a relatively new technology that have evolved rapidly over the past decade. They are devices that can be worn on the wrist and that are designed to work in conjunction with a smartphone.
Initially, smart watches were mainly used as a way to receive notifications from a smartphone, such as incoming calls and text messages. They also had basic fitness tracking capabilities, such as counting steps and monitoring sleep.
Over time, smart watches have evolved to include more advanced features such as GPS, heart rate monitoring, and support for mobile payments. They also have expanded their fitness tracking capabilities to include more advanced metrics such as VO2 max and recovery time.
Nowadays, smartwatches are becoming more sophisticated and independent, many of them can work as standalone devices, with their own cellular connectivity, allowing them to make calls, send messages and access the internet without being tethered to a smartphone.
Additionally, smartwatches have also evolved to include more advanced health and fitness features, such as ECG monitoring and fall detection, allowing them to be used as medical devices and to help users with chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea.
Another important aspect is the integration of smart watches with other devices and systems, such as home automation systems, smart cars, and other IoT devices.
In summary, smart watches have evolved rapidly over the past decade, starting as simple notification devices, and now becoming much more advanced devices with a wide range of features and capabilities. They are now used not only for fitness tracking, but also for health monitoring, mobile payments, and even as standalone devices with cellular connectivity. They also have the potential to integrate with other devices and systems, making them even more useful and powerful.
current uses of Smart watches
For some time, most companies believed that entering the market for smart watches was a risky move. But now, with the proficient efforts put forth by Google with Android Wear, Apple with watchOS, and more, you won’t find a better time in history to put wearable technology on a strap. Choosing the smart watch that is good for you is not easy, but we hope that the exciting process of choosing your next (or first!) smart watch is as simple as possible.
Smartwatches, such as bracelets, tell the time, measure steps and calorie consumption, and -in some cases- monitor the heart rate while allowing us to see the notifications that arrive on our phones on 1.3 screens to 2 inches.
Things have changed thanks to the contributions of many people. Bao Tran, an inventor, holds multiple patents for cellular systems that are designed to communicate with other devices, and many are also used in smart watches. His patent number US10610111B1 includes detailed systems and methods for smart watches that include a range of sensors and can be used via voice control as well.
future applications of smart watches
Smart watches are a rapidly evolving technology, and there are many potential future applications that are currently being developed or researched. Some of these include:
- Virtual and augmented reality: Smart watches could be used to control and interact with virtual and augmented reality environments, allowing users to experience immersive and interactive content.
- Health monitoring: Smart watches could be used to monitor a wide range of health parameters, such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and brain activity. This could be especially useful for people with chronic conditions who need to monitor their health regularly.
- Remote monitoring: Smart watches could be used to remotely monitor elderly or disabled people, allowing caregivers to check in on them and ensure that they are safe and well.
- Emergency response: Smart watches could be used to automatically call for help in case of an emergency, such as a fall or a heart attack.
- Payment systems: Smart watches could be used to make mobile payments, allowing users to make purchases without needing to carry cash or credit cards.
- Smart homes: Smart watches could be used to control and interact with smart home devices, such as lights, thermostats, and security systems.
- AI assistance: Smart watches could be used to access virtual assistants, such as Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, allowing users to control their smart home, schedule appointments and get personalized recommendations.
- Remote control: Smart watches could be used as a remote control for other devices, such as cameras, drones, and robots.
- Enterprise applications: Smart watches could be used in industrial and enterprise settings, such as manufacturing, logistics, and field service, allowing workers to access important information and complete tasks more efficiently.
In summary, there are many potential future applications for smart watches, including virtual and augmented reality, health monitoring, remote monitoring, emergency response, payment systems, smart homes, AI assistance, remote control and enterprise applications. As the technology continues to evolve and improve, it’s likely that we will see more and more innovative uses for smart watches in the future.
Smart watch: Insights into the intellectual property rights
As with all technology businesses, wearable tech businesses rely heavily on their intellectual property (“IP”) It is how it handles its IP that can make the difference between a successful and failing wearable tech company. There are many overlapping IP rights, such as copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret and database rights.
Pursuing invention rights to protect company intellectual property assets are some practical tips to help businesses entering in smart watches. Below we discuss the invention rights of a smart watch.
Smart watch IP rights
Smart watch products are evident, from their hardware monitoring sensors to the software that manipulates the data and provides an end-user experience are undeniably smart.
Developers should consider whether any work they do is a new invention that could become the subject of a registered patent in their target country. Although it is expensive to obtain a registered patent, it can provide a legal monopoly of up to 20 years.
Not all ideas can be patented. Patentable inventions must include:
- Novelty: This information is not known anywhere else in the world.
- Non-obviousness: A skilled, but unimaginative person in the relevant art wouldn’t come up with this idea.
- Utility/Industrial application
Copyright laws will protect source code, as long as the code is original. If the program is written from scratch, it will protect the code only.
Smart watch tech companies should ensure that the source code they create is kept secret for trade secret rights. Companies should also ensure that they actually own the copyright in the code otherwise the sub-contracted developers or commissioned developers, who are not employees, will automatically own the source code they create unless the contract restricts.
how to apply for smart watch patents
Applying for a patent for a smart watch can be a complex process, but it’s possible to navigate it by following these steps:
- Conduct a patent search: Before applying for a patent, it’s important to conduct a thorough search to ensure that your invention is new and non-obvious. You can conduct a search using the USPTO’s database, or hire a patent attorney to conduct a search on your behalf.
- Prepare a patent application: Once you have determined that your invention is patentable, you’ll need to prepare a patent application. This will typically include a written description of the invention, as well as drawings or diagrams that show how it works. You’ll also need to include claims that define the specific aspects of the invention that you want to protect.
- File the patent application: Once your patent application is complete, you’ll need to file it with the USPTO, or with the corresponding patent office in the country you want to file the patent. You’ll also need to pay any required filing fees.
- Respond to any office actions: After you file your patent application, a patent examiner will review it and may issue an office action that requests additional information or makes changes to the claims. You’ll need to respond to any office actions in a timely manner to keep the patent application process moving forward.
- Prosecute the patent application: After the patent office has reviewed your patent application and any responses to office actions, they will either approve the patent application or reject it. If it is rejected, you can argue or amend the application, or appeal the decision.
- Maintenance fee: Once the patent is granted, you will need to pay maintenance fees to keep the patent in force.
It’s important to note that the patent process can be complex and time-consuming, and it’s strongly recommended to hire a patent attorney who has experience in the field of smart watches to help you navigate the process. They can help you conduct a patent search, prepare and file the patent application, and respond to any office actions or rejections.