tech in the spotlight

GoPro Stock Dives, But Its Biggest Worry Isn't Apple

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 14, 2015 11:08 AM

GoPro action shot

GoPro has been the name of the game in the wearable-camera world since it launched in 2002. Surfers, skateboarders, and other sports enthusiasts of all kinds have been showing off their worlds through GoPro’s lenses. But now one unexpected move from Apple has GoPro investors concerned.

Apple was granted a patent for a remote-control camera system on Tuesday, causing some to think that the Cupertino-based behemoth is planning to take a bite out of GoPro’s lunch.Continue reading...

brand strategy

In Smart Home Battle, Quirky, Electrolux Vie for GE's Appliance Business

Posted by Dale Buss on August 14, 2014 06:03 PM

General Electric continues to show it's serious about recasting its business around reliable B2B products like jet engines and wind turbines with news that it's talking with Swedish giant Electrolux about selling its home-appliance business. Another potential bidder, Bloomberg reports, could be a group including the Blackstone Group and Quirky, a five-year-old startup that has an ongoing product partnership with GE.

The 122-year-old GE appliance division is on the block for a second time as CEO Jeffrey Immelt focuses on industrial operations, and the division could net $2 billion in a sale. "GE is evaluating a wide range of strategic operations for our appliance business including discussions with Electrolux and other interested parties," a GE spokesman told Bloomberg. 

But while the interest of Electrolux, No. 2 in US sales of appliances and maker of brands like Frigidaire and AEG, could mean a boost in business for the brand, which has had stagnant sales in the US and Europe, the potential bid by Quirky with private-equity firms including Blackstone is much more interesting in terms of the future of the smart home.Continue reading...


Musk Spreads the Tesla Effect—and Builds his Brand—with Open Playbook

Posted by Dale Buss on June 13, 2014 04:37 PM

There's no real doubt that Elon Musk is a visionary; he keeps opening new portals in business and elevating his game above competitors—but he is also raising the risks for himself and his enterprises if his continued bold choices take him down the wrong path.

Musk’s latest gambit is to “give away” Tesla Motors’ patents, or at least let other companies use the EV maker’s inventions under an open-source approach at the company that, Musk hopes, will lead to more widespread electrification of the auto business as rivals bring economies of scale and their own ideas to increase the effectiveness of Tesla technology.

“Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology,” Musk wrote in a blog post.

And the way he sees it, nothing less than the future of the planet may be at stake in this move. “I don’t think people quite appreciate the gravity of what is going on” in global warming “or just how much inertia the climate has,” Musk said during a conference call. “We really need to do something. It would be shortsighted if we try to hold these things close to our vest.”Continue reading...

see you in court

Adidas Butts Heads with Under Armour Over Fitness-Tracking Patents

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 5, 2014 07:39 PM

Under Armour has been pushing the sports apparel and equipment envelope in more ways than one lately. Now Adidas has filed suit against Under Armour over a dozen “alleged infringement of patents governing fitness training and tracker devices,” Reuters reports.  

At issue are the similarities between Adidas’ miCoach fitness training device and MapMyFitness, a company Under Armour just bought in November for $150 million. Both products claim to help athletes take full advantage of their workouts. Adidas is claiming in the suit that Under Armour and MapMyFitness both were aware of patents held by Adidas and still “willfully infringed” upon them.

"Innovation is at the heart of who we are as a company," Adidas said in a statement, according to the Oregonian. "Today, Adidas is moving forward to protect digital technologies core to our miCoach product, which includes patented performance-tracking technology that provides athletes with first-rate training programs."Continue reading...

sip on this

Beverage Brands' Creative Offerings Will Leave You With More Than That Refreshing 'Ahh'

Posted by Dale Buss on September 10, 2013 06:29 PM

Maybe it's the result of the unrelenting slide in conventional soft-drink sales. Or maybe the serendipitous byproduct of PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi's strategy for integrating snacking and refreshment experiences that used to be separate. But the company is coming up with more interesting sensory mashups these days.

For example, PepsiCo is seeking to patent a method of encapsulating scents within beverage packaging to entice US consumers with "favorable aromas" before they drink the beverage, according to The "aroma delivery system" would use one or more compounds encapsulated in gelatine capsules that are broken when a drink container is opened, the publication said.

"Consumers evaluate many products by the aroma emitted from the product or the container in which the product is made available," wrote the inventors in the patent, which was filed last year and published earlier this year. "Edible products, such as juices and coffee, are expected to have a fresh aroma that replicates or evokes memory of the epxected flavor of the product."Continue reading...

brand innovation

Colgate Looks to Reinvent Toothbrushes With Caffeine, Flavors, Diet Aids

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 27, 2013 03:17 PM

Colgate-Palmolive has a significant stake in the world's oral hygiene market, with such toothpaste brands like Colgate, Elmex and Dentaguard, not to mention that the company accounts for one-third of the world's toothbrush sales. 

That number should go up if a U.S. patent that it applied for back in October gets approved. The innovation, “a new toothbrush that releases chemicals straight into your mouth as you brush,” could net the company an additional $330 million—and that's only for one "flavor."

The special paste would allow consumers to have such things as caffeine come to them through their toothpaste in the morning rather than waiting a few more minutes to get through a cup of joe. The flavoring would come through the toothpaste via a patch attached to the back of a specially designed toothbrush.Continue reading...

brand wars

Patently Delicious: Kraft Says Keebler Elves Are Copying Its Packaging Method

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 17, 2013 03:01 PM

The Keebler Elves may make some fine crackers and cookies inside their massive treehouse, but Kraft Foods is hoping to force the Kellogg-owned Keebler and Sandies to find a new way to keep their products from going stale.

Kraft filed suit in Chicago federal court Wednesday with the claim that Kellogg “improperly uses one of its patents,” Reuters reported.

The dispute stems from the resealable packaging that Kellogg uses (and customers like). Kraft claims it's too similar to its “Snack ‘n Seal” packaging.

Another food packaging design dispute is moving through the Chicago federal court system. An inventor took H.J. Heinz Co. to court last summer claiming that the company's “Dip & Squeeze” packaging too closely resembled his patented design.

Kellogg and Kraft may be competing on another front this week as well.Continue reading...

brand vs. brand

Apple Halts U.S. Sale of Samsung Tablet That Mocked Apple

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 27, 2012 03:56 PM

A U.S. District Judge has halted U.S. sales against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, approving Apple's request for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. against the device's sale based on Apple's claim it infringles on an iPad-related patent. As Mashable notes, "this ruling only affects Samsung's older 10-inch tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1. It does not affect the updated Tab 10.1 II, which was unveiled in May 2012."

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 launch campaign a year ago took a swipe at the iPad for shunning Flash (see below). According to IDC figures, the iPad had a 54.7% market share in Q4 2011 vs. Samsung's 5.8% share for its tablet range.Continue reading...

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