Google Adding Patents for Wearable Devices

Augmented Reality – While many analysts are discussing a potential market exit for Google Glass, Google is adding patents in this field, according to the US patent office.

When searching the USPTO for patents assigned to Google with the keyword “wearable” in the description, we found 204 patents that cover a wide range of technology and application related topics. Not all of them are Google Glass patents, but they can also be applied to other wearable devices.

The latest design patent to be granted for Google Glass shows a somewhat streamlined Google Glass design, as shown below.

The image shows a smaller Glass body and a slimmer frame to hold the body. It still shows show the same optical combiner as the current model. I would doubt if this design update is enough to make consumers run to a store to put down $1,500 for a pair.

There is also the patent application database, that contains 138 patents that basically cover the same topics. The first one was filed in March of 2011, while the last one was filed a year ago. This equates to just under seven patents per month. Not too bad for a field the company wants to exit. Keep in mind though, many of the patents cover more than just Google Glass. Video streaming and image acquisition could also be used on other wearable devices besides Google Glass.

There is one curious aspect to the patent applications. While the youngest patent was filed in December 2013, the second youngest was filed in May 2013. Under this perspective the patent filing rate up until May of 2013 at Google for “wearable” related patents was over 11 patents per month.  A pretty good rate considering the narrow topic. It also means that for the better half of 2013 there were no wearable related patents filed by Google at all. This does seem to indicate a change in direction at Google during that time frame. – Norbert Hildebrand