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The Patent Trolls Strike Again!

Briefly: The patent trolls strike again! Minero Digital LLC, a shell company with ties to the patent-holding giant Intellectual Ventures, is taking Wal-Mart, Best Buy and two dozen other companies to court over USB hubs. Minero demands the companies pay royalties on said hubs, based on a patent it acquired from IV in April, 2015.

The Early PDA That Major Technology Companies Passed On In The 1970s

It’s always interesting to discover the missed opportunities that could have changed the course of tech history and here’s a doozy: In the late 1970s, it seems that major companies like HP and Apple passed on an early PDA long before they created their own.

Boeing Wants To Harvest Electricity From The Roar Of Your Plane Taking Off 

Jet engines are extraordinarily loud at roughly 140 decibels — and airports have struggled with mitigating their roar since the early days of commercial flight. An engineer at Boeing wants to make the cacophony more useful, if not silence it for good.

Google Makes It Easy To Find Sex Inventions In The US Patent Database

Inventors have been coming up with devices to improve sex for decades. But before Google digitised all the records of the US Patent and Trademark Office to launch their Patent Search feature, if enterprising creators wanted to check whether their ideas were truly original, they had to search the sex patents by hand.

Google Wants To Use Your Car's GPS To Track Potholes

Potholes are more than just a driving annoyance, they can actually damage a vehicle. So in addition to providing traffic warnings, Google now wants to use a car’s GPS navigation system to detect potholes on a road and use that info to plot a more comfortable route to a destination.

Boeing Patented A Drone That Turns Into A Submarine -- Just Like In Movies

The idea to build a plane that turns into a submarine is not new. However, the mission to build an unmanned variation of such a vehicle is rather 21st-century. Boeing actually already has a design ready.

We Cannot Allow These Awful Sliding Aeroplane Seats To Become Real

It’s easy to think of ways we could improve aeroplane seat design. It takes some sick creativity to think of how we could make it worse, though. But the world is full of sick people — like these dudes from North Carolina who want to put aeroplane seats on wheels and control them with an iPad.

The Navy Built An Algorithm That Predicts Pirates' Behaviour Before An Attack

The US Navy is a veritable patent machine — it regularly beats all other government bodies when it comes to sheer volume, with 364 filed last year alone. One recent filing: Patent #US8838515, a “Method for predicting pirate attack risk.”

Google Scored A Patent For Memory-Storing Cameras, Sound Familiar?

A searchable database of all your memories — creepy? Or a blessing for your Dory-like attention span? Either way, Google has scored a patent for just such a device.

Apple Might Start Showing People Ads Based On Their Bank Balances

Just when you thought Apple wasn’t integrated into your life enough, the company just won a patent for a system that targets ads based on how much money people have. This is the same Apple that’s promised not to monetise your data. As Tim Cook said last year: “You’re not our product.” Until you are, apparently.

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