Microsoft scoops up smartwatch patents

Microsoft scoops up smartwatch patents
Microsoft apparently has a plan to profit in the smartwatch business, that revolves around receiving royalties on patents relating to the wearable. The plan is to let others make and sell the devices, while Microsoft gets paid for allowing these companies use of the intellectual property it owns. One recent patent received by Microsoft is for Discreetly Displaying Contextually Relevant Information on a display device. The patents revolve around a smartwatch receiving information wirelessly via a smartphone. The information being sent from smartphone to smartwatch can include simple notifications, to more complex GPS notifications.

Another new patent received by Microsoft is for Dynamic User Interfaces Adapted to Inferred User Contexts. Using sensors like accelerometers, microphones and GPS, a device can tell if a user is sitting, driving, jogging, or doing some other activity. Different UI displays would appear on a device, depending on the activity detected by the sensors.

A few years ago, it was determined that Microsoft was ironically making more money selling licenses for Android phones, than it was making from selling the Windows Phone OS. Back in 2012, the numbers that were bandied about showed Microsoft making nearly $800 million from royalty payments sent to the company by HTC and Samsung in the second quarter of that year. The crew at Redmond were getting $10 from HTC for each Android model sold by the latter. For each Samsung branded Android phone sold, Microsoft allegedly received $12-$13. Consider that at thew time, Nokia was paying Microsoft $20 for each Windows Phone model it sold, and you could easily see where Microsoft's allegiances laid at the time.

Since then, Android sales have continued to explode. It is possible that Microsoft still makes more money cashing in those royalty checks than from selling Windows Phone handsets. The acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services unit changes things, since there will be no more licensing deals with Nokia. On the other hand Microsoft gets to keep all of the profits it makes from selling the handsets.

Microsoft might enjoy the idea of sitting back and collecting royalty checks while others do the heavy lifting (like manufacturing and marketing). After all, the template served them well with smartphones. That doesn't mean that Microsoft won't produce a smartwatch of its own. In fact, recently someone said that he spoke to a person in New York City who allegedly was testing a Microsoft watch. Even if such a watch is developed, Redmond's real focus might be on the smartwatches made by those who require Microsoft's patents to build them,.

source: USPTO (1), (2) via WMPoweruser



1. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Their legacy. Reborn as a patent troll.

10. chocowii

Posts: 478; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

I cant blame Microsoft. They innovate and others follow.

11. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Are you for real?


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

You nailed it Microsoft hasn't innovated since the creation of windows. Everything else they bought and stifled further innovation. Excel was Lotus 123, Word is Lotus Note, I could go on, but why. I am a Microsoft user but I am also a realist. Steve Balmer was the biggest joke in their history and the legend continues.

31. StanleyG88

Posts: 240; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

Not quite, MS Word was developed by Charles Simonyi and Richard Brodie, hired by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1981. the first version was released in 1983. Lotus Notes was developed by Iris Associates Inc between 1984 and 1989 when release 1 was released. Lotus 1-2-3 was initially released as an Apple only application in Jan 1983. It had been developed off of a previous product a year earlier called Visicalc. After the into, Lotus dominated the SS DOS market for 2-3 years but then came out with suites Symphony & Jazz that went no where. They were slow to support the Windows platform which was coming into it's own at this time. MS brought out their SS application as Multiplan in 1982 and as Excel in 1985. By 1988 it was outselling Lotus 1-2-3 because of Lotus's slow response to the Windows market. Lotus ended up spending to much of their resources on making their products for IBM's OS/2 platform and lost any chance they had to compete on the Windows platform. We all know. or should, what happen in the competition between Windows and OS/2.

33. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The publication date on the patent is June 26, 2014. Clearly this makes Microsoft a patent troll. Good luck Microsoft trying to sue Samsung or LG or Motorola. Pebble has been doing this for years. Samsung for a year with the Gear. If you can't beat them, then try and make money using your lawyers.

13. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Either you own a massive amount of MS stock or chocowii is steve balmers screen name.

24. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

LOL. Whatever, Papss...

12. Zylam

Posts: 1817; Member since: Oct 20, 2010


14. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

You call MS a patent troll. do Google and others give away their patents for free. Go ogle bought Motorola for its patents and then sold the company to Lenovo, guess they won't use those patents then or they would be patent trolls right?. People misuse the term patent troll. This is a classic case.

15. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

No, uh uh. Google got (and kept) Motorola's patents as a defensive measure to deter further lawsuits by Apple (and probably Microsoft as well). You don't get to claim that Microsoft buying up smartwatch patents, with no real plans to launch a smartwatch of its own, just as its competitors are close to or already launching wearables, is anything other than patent trolling. They didn't come up with the tech, they didn't put any work into it, and yet they're going to profit off of the investment that other companies are making. That's the very definition of patent trolling, you twit.


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

You forget that it is not about giving patents away it's about buying them to make money with out contributing anything towards it's growth. Microsoft did not create these innovations and patent them they are just trolling for money!

18. mistertimi

Posts: 77; Member since: May 28, 2014

Liveitup dropping knowledge bombs all over the place! Love it.

19. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

And we have a fan of...well... Livingitupunderrock. LOL.

25. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Microsoft isn't a patent troll. They're rapists. Look at Nokia as evidence.

28. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

You dont seem to understand why google bought motorola. not to patent troll but to protect themselves from patent trolls like MS & Apple

26. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

M$/Apple both hate to loose or doesn't want to compete.

30. ikenvape

Posts: 308; Member since: May 28, 2014

They're just playing a game of monopoly Apple edition

34. oboboy14

Posts: 51; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

Do you even know what a patent troll is? Microsoft is not a patent troll.

2. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

When the title said "scoops up" I figured that Microsoft must have bought some smartwatch patents... But the fact that these were granted by the USPTO?! Really shows how badly the whole institution needs reform. I would at least hope these are relegated as FRAND.

3. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Microsoft smartwatch... They probably have to design new blue screen of death to fit the smaller screen.

4. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014


7. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Actually Apple owns that now when they introduced the IOS 7.

6. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Yeah, sorry MS fanboys, I don't give a crap what grievances Google has supposedly committed against Microsoft that you like to whine about. Nothing they've done is nearly as bad as this. Nice to know that things haven't changed at the Evil Empire.

8. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

So basically Microsoft received patents for ideas that Google has already implemented... I wonder how it's possible.

9. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

The patents were already filed and approved by other companies. Microsoft just bought the preexisting patents. Words cannot express how pissed off I am at their blatant setup for patent trolling.

21. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

If you can't lead, make sure those who do are paying you to subsidize your entry into the race. Without the Android royalties, Windows Phone would have been stillborn. They would have had no choice but to cancel it years ago. However, they ARE making that $2 billion and change, so you have one mobile OS sponsored by another mobile OS. Does that mean there should be Android branding on new Microsoft mobile devices?

20. So-Sayz-Eye

Posts: 31; Member since: Nov 08, 2011

Did anyone pay attention and see MS filed the patent in 2012 and it only got approved recently. Its true smartwatches are not a new thing, one can argue those old remote control or calculator watches from the 80's and 90's are smartwatches. Anyone who's ever read a Dick Tracy comic or seen the movie always wanted that watch, so the idea is nothing new. The implementation of the smartwatch is. To be be honest I blame Pebble for this, they should have filed patents since way back when they started their Kickstarter. So for all those claiming Google implemented first it was actually Pebble.

32. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

No they do not see that. All they see is MS being awarded patents and '*ut huggers' not reading. Thinking Google invented the earth...

22. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

the Microsoft "spot" watch was one of the first smart watch's on the market. check it out on Utube. it looks pretty good too. It's shame Microsoft did not put the technology of the original Big surface table top computer on a small tablet In 2007 when it brought out the surface table top touch screen computer. Microsoft went for big business version usage of the device instead of a smaller device for the consumer market. what a mistake that was. it had features that were pretty good.

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