In October and December 2011, I wrote about the extensive number of AR-related patent applications already on file. ”If you’re serious about succeeding with your AR business plan–and especially if you hope to attract investors,” I said, “it would be well worth your time to research the existing patent landscape in your field, and get your patent application on file as soon as reasonably possible.”
That was especially true in light of the then-recently adopted America Invents Act, which awards priority to those who file their patent applications first, not necessarily to those who invent first. My conclusion: “You owe it to yourself to at least consult a patent attorney. Soon.”
At that time, I noted that a search of the Google Patents database for the phrase “augmented reality” returned about 11,100 hits. Today, in January 2014, as part of the process of writing my forthcoming book on AR law, I ran that same search again. The number of hits? 160,000.
The pace of innovation in this field is astounding. (I know this not only from these numbers; several of the new patents were obtained by colleagues in my firm.) What’s also interesting is the diverse range of industries represented by these patents. On just the first page of my Google results alone, I see inventions applying AR to personal mobile devices, head-mounted displays, communication, assistance for the blind, data center operations, and health care.
The age of AR is coming. And despite all this activity, it’s still not too late to get into the game and protect your invention. But if you have one, you really owe it to yourself to seek legal protection. Immediately.