Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)
A lot of electronic devices come with interface devices and mechanisms that take input and interact with users. Computers are the most common type of electronic devices. This includes personal computers, tablets computers smartphones and various other “smart”devices like media players, video and audio equipment vehicles consoles, as well as home automation controllers. These devices could comprise keyboards and touchpads as well as keypads and buttons. In certain instances, devices for input and interaction can also provide output and feedback to users as well, such as through touch/haptics, visual or audio signals.
Many keyboards and other interface devices feature buttons or keys that can be press by the user to create signals to processors or controllers. They typically provide tactile feedback by offering a specific amount of resistance at the user’s fingertips. To provide the best user experience, each button and key is carefully managed in terms of and sound, as well as cost and feel. Although some keyboards are “virtual,” such assoftware keyboards displayed on a touchscreen device, it can be beneficial to provide key travel, or movement of the keys, to help the user more easily feel, see, and hear when and where a key is pressed and to provide an overall more satisfyinginteraction with the device.
The provision of this kind of button or key can be costly. Most interface devices contain an abundance of small moving parts per button or key, meaning the mechanism can be incredibly complex, expensive and could result in many failure points. Therefore, there are a lot of challenges and areas for improvements in interface devices. device makers are constantly seeking ways to enhance the user experience.
One aspect of the disclosed invention is related to key mechanisms. The key mechanism can comprise the keycap and a base layer that is placed below the keycap and a stabilizer that is connected to the keycap and to the base layer. Stabilizers could be rigid panels that are set in a pointed-star design with hinges connecting the rigid panels together. The rigid panels may be rotatable or movable between each other around the hinge portions in response to movement of the keycap relative to the baselayer.
In certain instances, the rigid panels can be triangular. The hinge components are able to be expanded elastically. This allows for an adjustable distance between the edges of rigid panels. A pointed-starpattern can comprise at least two sections. You can also make the stabilizer bistable.
In some configurations the key mechanism could further comprise a collapsible dome positioned between the stabilizer and the base layer. The vertical keycap’s movement relative to the base layer, and vertical dome movement in relation to the base layer could differ from 1 to 1. A bendable link could be used to connect the stabilizer to the keycap. The link can be bent and elongated in the direction perpendicular with the direction of motion for the keycap in relation to the base layer. A soft mount can be utilized to secure the stabilizer to the keycap. The soft mount extends a distance from the underside of the cap to the top of the stabilizer. The distance could vary depending on movement of keycap with respect to the baselayer. A sliding mount that is end-constrained can be used to attach the stabilizer to the keycap.
In some instances the key mechanism may further comprise a first structure that is positioned on the stabilizer, and an additional structure placed on the keycap, the first structure being attracted magnetically to the second structure , and pushing the stabilizer towards the keycap. The mounting of the outer part of the pointed star pattern to the keycap is feasible. The inner portion could be affixed to the base layer. The inner portion should be oriented inwards radially relative to the outside portion. Another option is to mount the outer portion of the pointed-star pattern on the base layer. The inner portion could be mounted directly to the keycap. The inside portion will be oriented to the right in relation to the outer.
A keyboard that includes a set keycaps and an under-plate feature, as well as an array of foldable structures under them, is another aspect of the disclosure. The set of foldablestructures could include at least two intersecting folding angles. A foldable structure can be moved from a collapsed and raised position by the keycap. The foldable structure to bend along at least two parallel folding edges while shifting between collapsed and elevated positions.
In a different scenario the foldable structure in the foldable structure set can be set to fold along at least two intersecting folding axes, while moving from the elevated position to the collapsed. The at least twointersecting folding axes can consist of a first axis and an additional axis that folds, with the structure that folds in the set of foldable structures making an upward-pointing ridge along the first axis and then forming an inclination downwards on the second axis. A layer of materials can permit the foldable structures to be connected.
A sheet of material could be folded into the structure. It must be of a thickness less than one of the two intersecting fold lines. In addition, the foldable structure is able to be resisted towards the elevated position by materials that are positioned on at least two folding axes that intersect. The at least two folding axes could connect the outer edges of the foldable structure, and the outer points are configured to translate into a central point of the structure upon movement of the foldable structure between the elevated position and the collapsed.
Yet another aspect of the disclosure pertains to a method of making key stabilizers. The method may include arranging a sheet of resilient material in a planar orientation, increasing the stiffness of portions of the sheet of resilient material, in which at least two axes have been positioned between the stiffened areas of the sheet of material. Then, the material is bent by bending the resilient material along the at least two axes that are between the stiffened areas of the sheet of material to create a three-dimensional shape and putting at least the stiffened portions between a keycap and a base layer, wherein any movement of the keycap in relation to the base layer causes folding or unfolding of the three-dimensional star shape.
This could further involve applying tension to the sheet of resilient material prior to making it more rigid in different areas of the sheet. In this case, the 3-dimensional shape of the star is bent into a folded configuration by the sheet ofresilient material along the at-least two axes, after release of tension.
The stiffening of specific sections of the sheet can be accomplished by adding a rigid material to the areas that are stiffened. The stiffening of particular sections of the sheet can be accomplished by increasing the thickness of the material in the stiffened areas in relation to the thickness of the sheet on at least two axes. In certain instances the shapes of multiple three-dimensional stars are formed on the sheet of material.Click here to view the patent on USPTO website.
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A patent is granted by the government in order to protect the invention. The patent grants the inventor the exclusive right to develop, utilize and sell the invention. Society benefits when new technology is brought to market. These benefits may be directly realized when people can achieve previously impossible feats and indirectly by the opportunities for economic growth that innovation offers (business growth, jobs).
A lot of pharmaceutical firms and university researchers are seeking patent protection for their work and research. Patents may cover an abstract or physical product or process or a method or composition of materials that are new to the field. In order to be granted protection under a patent the invention must be useful, new, and not apparent to others in the same area.
Patents are a way to honor inventors who have commercially successful inventions. They are an incentive to inventors to invent. Patents enable entrepreneurs and small companies to be confident that there’s a good chance they will get a profit for their time, effort and money spent on the development of technology. They can make a living by their work.
Patents play essential roles in firms and can be used to:
Make sure you protect your unique products and services.
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Differentiate yourself and your products from others.
Get technical and business information.
Avoid accidentally using third-party content or losing important data, creative outputs, or any other outputs that are creative.
Patents effectively transform the inventor’s knowledge into a commercially tradeable asset which opens new opportunities for employment creation and growth of business by licensing or joint ventures.
Investors involved in the development and commercialization of technology may find small companies with patent protection to be more attractive.
Patenting could lead to the development of innovative ideas and inventions. This information can encourage the development of new ideas and could qualify for protection under patents.
Patents can be used to prevent untrustworthy third parties from making money through the work of inventions.
Revenues from patent-protected technology that are commercially successful can be used to finance technological research and development (R&D), which will increase the chance of better technology in the coming years.
Intellectual property ownership can be used to convince investors and lenders that there are real opportunities to market your product. One powerful patent may provide many financing opportunities. Patents and other IP assets are able to be used as collateral or as security to finance debt. Investors can also see your patent assets to increase the value of your business. Forbes and other publications have reported that each patent can increase between $500,000 and one million dollars to company valuation.
A well-crafted business plan is crucial for start-ups. It should be founded on IP and explain the way your product or service is distinctive. Investors will also be impressed if you show that your IP rights are secure or are in progress of being secure, and that they support your business plan.
It is essential to keep your invention under wraps until you file for patent protection. Making an invention public before it is filed is often detrimental to its novelty and render it unpatentable. The filing of disclosures prior to filing, for example, for investors, test-marketing or other business partners, should be done only after signing a confidentiality agreement.
There are many kinds of patents. Understanding them is crucial for protecting your invention. Patents for utility cover methods and inventions made by machines. Design patents cover ornamental designs. Patents for utility are the best option to protect the proprietor from copycats and other competitors. Most often the utility patents are issued for improvements or modifications to existing inventions. They can also be used to enhance or alter existing inventions. For example, a process patent covers acts or methods of performing one specific thing, whereas chemical compositions will comprise an assortment of ingredients.
How long does a patent last? Utility patents last 20 years from the initial filing date, however, their expirations may be extended due to delays at the patent office, for example.
Are you looking to patent your ideas? Since patents are only granted to applicants who file first, you need to start filing quickly. Call an attorney for patents at PatentPC to protect your idea now!
When you are writing a patent application it is recommended to conduct an online patent search. the search will give you some insight into other people’s concepts. This allows you to restrict the extent of your invention. Furthermore, you’ll learn about state of the technological advancements in your field of invention. This will allow you to comprehend the scope of your invention and prepare for the filing of your patent application.
How to Search for Patents
The first step to obtain the patent you want is to conduct a patent search. You can do a google patent search or do a USPTO search. Patent-pending is the name used to describe the product that has been included in the patent application. You can search for the public pair to locate the patent application. Once the patent office has approved your application, you will be able do an examination of the patent number to locate the issued patent. Your product will now become a patentable. It is also possible to use the USPTO search engine. See below for details. For assistance, consult a patent lawyer. In the US patents are granted by the US patent and trademark office or the United States patent and trademark office, which also examines trademark applications.
Are you interested in similar patents? These are the steps:
1. Create a list of terms that describe your invention based on its intended purpose, composition and use.
Start by writing down a concise and precise description of your idea. Do not use generic terms like “device”, “process”, and “system”. Instead, look for synonyms to the terms you initially chose. Also, make note of key technical terms and keywords.
Use the questions below to help you identify key words or concepts.
- What is the objective of this invention? Is it a utilitarian device or an ornamental design?
- Does the invention consist of a method of making something or performing a function? Are you referring to a product?
- What is the nature and purpose of the invention? What is the physical constitution?
- What is the purpose of this invention?
- What are the technical terms and terms that describe an invention’s nature? To find the correct terms, consult an online dictionary of technical terms.
2. Use these terms to find pertinent Cooperative Patent Classifications for your invention at the Classification Text Search Tool. If you’re not able to find the right classification for your invention, look through the classification’s class Schemas (class schedules) and try again. If you don’t see any results using the Classification Text Search, you may want to consider replacing the words to describe your invention with synonyms.
3. Examine 3. Check the CPC Classification Definition to confirm the validity of the CPC classification you have found. If the selected classification title is a blue box that has a “D” on its left, the link will lead you to a CPC classification’s description. CPC classification definitions can be used to identify the specific classification’s purpose, so you are sure to select the most appropriate. They may also provide some search tips or other recommendations that could be helpful for further study.
4. Find patent documents that have the CPC classification from the Patents Full-Text and Image Database. By focusing your search on abstracts and drawings that are representative it is possible to narrow your search to the most relevant patent publications.
5. This selection of patent publications is the best to check for similarities with your invention. Pay attention to the claims and specifications. Refer to the applicant and patent examiner to obtain additional patents.
6. It is possible to find published patent applications that match the CPC classification that you chose in Step 3. You can use the same search strategy as in Step 4. You can narrow your results to the most relevant patent applications by looking at the abstract and drawings that appear on each page. Then, you must carefully review the patent applications published, paying particular attention to the claims and the additional drawings.
7. You can look up additional US patent publications by keywords in the AppFT and PatFT databases, as well as the classification search of patents that are not issued in the United States as according to below. You can also make use of search engines on the internet to find non-patent patent disclosures in literature about inventions. Here are some examples:
- Add keywords to your search. Keyword searches may turn up documents that are not well-categorized or have missed classifications during Step 2. For example, US patent examiners often supplement their classification searches with keyword searches. Think about the use of technical engineering terminology rather than everyday words.
- Search for foreign patents using the CPC classification. Then, re-run the search using international patent office search engines such as Espacenet, the European Patent Office’s worldwide patent publication database of over 130 million patent publications. Other national databases include:
- European Patent Office (EPO) provides esp@cenet to access a network of Europe’s patent databases with access to machine translation of European patents.
- Japan Patent Office (JPO) – with access to machine translations of Japanese patents.
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) offers PATENTSCOPE with a full-text search of published international patent applications and machine translations for some documents, as well as a list of international patent databases.
- Korean Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS)
- State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) with machine translation of Chinese patents.
- Other International Intellectual Property Offices with online patent databases include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
- Search non-patent literature. Inventions can be made public in many non-patent publications. It is recommended that you search journals, books, websites, technical catalogs, conference proceedings, and other print and electronic publications.
To review your search, you can hire a registered patent attorney to assist. A preliminary search will help one better prepare to talk about their invention and other related inventions with a professional patent attorney. In addition, the attorney will not spend too much time or money on patenting basics.