October Is Cybersecurity Month

Patent Applications for Thursday, October 14, 2021

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On Thursday, USPTO published 6,408 pre-grant patent applications. One hundred eighty (180) of those applications cited receiving taxpayer funding.

The FedInvent Patent Application Report for Thursday's patent application is available here.

If you'd like to browse the patent applications by Department, start here.

Take Me To The FedInvent Report


It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month — Read This Patent

Thursday brought an interesting new patent application focused on cybersecurity and privacy for the vast array of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. USPTO published Carnegie Mellon University's application 20210319122, "Personalized Privacy Assistant." This application addresses the vexing problem of managing and synchronizing all of the settings and preferences for all of your internet-connected stuff.

Personalized Privacy Assistant

Keeping track of all the possible permutations of privacy settings on each of these devices is infuriating. It makes password management look like child's play. The inventors from Carnegie Mellon may have come up with a way to manage this problem.

The Carnegie Mellon patent application defines a personalized privacy assistant (PPA) that helps users configure permission settings associated with the technologies they access from their mobile devices. Personalized Privacy Assistant maintains models of user privacy preferences. It maintains preferences models that reflect people's comfort in granting different permissions to different technologies under different conditions. 

The inventors have proposed a way to wrangle the permissions for all those Internet of Things devices and applications running on your phone, tablet, smartwatch, and the rest of the on-device and off-device things you connect to. The invention would enable users to configure privacy settings across a panacea of IoT devices — on-device GPS, camera, microphone, and the IMEI number and ad identifiers the track your every move; a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, a wearable computing device, an exoskeleton, a smart TV, a smart fridge, a smart car, a robot, your calendar, health applications, contact lists, financial and banking data, and those Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google things.

The device accesses a cloud-based tool that stores the privacy settings and preferences for the privacy assistant users. The personal assistant develops sets of preferences for like-minded users granting and denying permissions based on these subsets of users. Preference profiles can also capture preferences users in a subset of the population have when it comes to being notified about the particular data collection of an application or how different combinations of features are used in different contexts. For example, some users may want to be notified about the presence of cameras coupled with facial expression recognition technology, users who do not care to be notified about the presence of cameras unless they are at a bar. Other users may want to be notified when their mobile app shares their speed with the police.  

The inventors have defined a way to personalize the configuration of the privacy settings for each of these device applications. The invention provides privacy preference configuration capabilities that could make using all these IoT devices a more personalized, integrated, and harmonious experience.

The cybersecurity aspects of all Internet of Things (IoT) devices is a priority for Congress, the federal government, and organizations focused on a secure digital transformation that maximizes the benefits of IoT technology. The inventors at Carnegie Mellon are the beneficiaries of funding from:

Department of Defense (DOD)

  1. Department of the Air Force (DAF)

  2. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

  3. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

  1. National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  2. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  1. Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)

  2. Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS)

  3. Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)

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What's Happening at the Y?

Nothing. None of the patent applications published on Thursday had Y CPC classifications indicating that the inventions contained in the applications might be useful in mitigating the impact of climate change. We took a look. There were seven patents for new battery technology; a patent application from Auburn University, funded by the Department of Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), for technology to remove contaminants from water. There is one solar invention, a method of fabricating a photovoltaic cell. USPTO usually classifies any pharmaceutical even tangentially linked to a vector-borne disease as beneficial in addressing climate change. This Thursday, there is a patent application for a new Flavivirus treatment, a group of diseases spread by mosquitos and ticks. The Y CPC classification system at USPTO seems random at best.

Bayh-Dole Scofflaws

It was a slow Thursday for scofflaws. Only one patent application didn't have the statutorily required data in the government interest statement. Northrup Grumman Systems Corporation received 20210320633, "Differential Current Source." The FedInvent funding source prognosticators are stumped. This is probably an intelligence community or DOD-funded invention. (An easy pick.)

Patent Applications By the Numbers

On Thursday, USPTO published 6,408 pre-grant patent applications. One hundred eighty (180) of those applications cited receiving taxpayer funding.

  • 175 patents have Government Interest Statements

  • 37 have an applicant or an assignee that was a government agency

  • There are 205 funding citations to a federal agency on these patents

  • The patents were the work of 659 inventors

  • The 644 American inventors came from 37 states and the District of Columbia

  • The 15 foreign inventors come from 6 countries

  • There are 120 patents where at least one assignee is a college or university, the HERD

Patent Application Count by Department

The Health Complex

NIH Institutes Funding Citation Count This Week

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Have a great weekend.

The FedInvent Team


About FedInvent

FedInvent tells the stories of inventors, investigators, and innovators. Wayfinder Digital's FedInvent Project follows the federal innovation ecosphere, taxpayer money, and the inventions it pays for.