Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Google and Microsoft Sued over Map Technologies

Tuesday, July 5, 2011: A Louisiana based company, Transcenic, has sued Google and Microsoft for infringing on its Map based technology. Transcenic has contended in a lawsuit (Delaware  Case No.  11-582.) that Google's streetview and Google Earth, and Microsoft's streetside infringe on patents assigned to Transcenic. According to Transcenic, both the companies are infringing on  technology that helps a user to see and navigate locations of towns and cities in three dimensional view. Further, the case also mentions AOL and its MapQwest unit as co-defendants in the lawsuit. Transcenic has alleged that it has suffered loss and injury as a result of infringement of its patents and is entitled to damages for the loss suffered.

An Assignee based search on USPTO for Transcenic returned two patents, US 6,292, 215 and a reissued patent US RE42, 289. US 6,292, 215 is titled "Apparatus for referencing and sorting images in a three-dimensional system ", and US RE42, 289 is titled "Spatial referenced photographic system with navigation arrangement ".  Both the patents are focused on sorting, referencing and displaying images associated with navigational systems in a three dimensional view.

While the  US 6,292, 215 has 19 claims, US RE42, 289 has a total of 77 claims. 

The first independent claim for US 6,292, 215 reads:

"A spatially referenced camera comprising:

a camera capable of capturing data representative of plural images of objects;

a camera orientation sensor connected to said camera and generating data defining the orientation of said camera;

a position sensor which includes a plurality of accelerometers rigidly attached to said camera and generating data defining the position of said camera when each image is captured, said position defining data needing adjustment relative to said orientation defining data to compensate for camera orientation during motion; and

a data capture device that captures image representation data from said camera, position defining data from said position sensor, and orientation defining data from said orientation sensor and that stores said data

The first independent claim of US RE42, 289 reads:
"A spatially referenced photographic system comprising: a data base containing plural images of objects and also containing information corresponding to said images defining the position at which each image was originally viewed and the orientation of the image with respect to that position, image presentation and navigation means for displaying the images to a user and for facilitating the user in navigating among said images by receiving spatial movement commands from the user, as indicated by said spatial movement commands; wherein said image presentation and navigation means includes means for displaying, along with an image, a view of the camera path and an indication of the camera position and orientation when the image was recorded, wherein camera position and orientation is indicated by a mark on the path oriented as the camera is oriented to point where the camera was pointing; and wherein the view is a plan view and wherein the mark bears an indication thereon of the yaw angle of the camera. "

An initial analysis of the two patents disclose that the patents cover the sorting and display of images in the 3-D view. It will be interesting to see how the two large corporations handle the new patent litigation against them.

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