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Prior Art Request for US patent WO 2016164368 A1 / US20160295376 - Bluetooth low energy location system and method.

Help keep the use of iBeacon and Low Energy Bluetooth as location-based technology from being restricted due to an unoriginal and obvious patent.

An application by Awarepoint Corporation seeks to patent the use of Low Energy Bluetooth as a location system based upon received signals at 2.4GHz.

The application seeks protection for the use of Low Energy Bluetooth (a.k.a. BLE) in a radio location system using signal averaging and trilateration techniques. This seems like a standard and indeed intended use of BLE and would threaten its use and deployment if this obvious patent were granted.

Question - Does anyone have any applicable prior art in reference to this, especially in regards to claim #1, published prior to April 2016?

Title: Bluetooth low energy location system and method

Assignee: Awarepoint Corporation

Publication Number: WO 2016164368 A1

(also published as US20160295376)

Prior Art Date: seeking information prior to April 5th 2016

Claim 1 comprises the bulk of the application with most of the subsequent parts being use-cases (such as navigation based upon the location result). The claim as stated is:

  1. A location engine for location determination, comprising: an input stabilization component that receives one or more signals from one or more BLE beacons by a BLE enabled object and normalizes the one or more signals; a location method component that receives one or more signals from one or more BLE beacons by a BLE enabled object and determines a location result of the BLE enabled object in a plurality of different location uses; and an arbitration and switching component that automatically decides the location result to output.

Stated plainly, this boils down to receiving signals from one or multiple BLE devices, averaging or otherwise filtering the received signals and then computing the location using well established mathematical techniques such as trilateration (which are later referenced in subsequent claims).

Claim 2 builds on that with:

  1. The engine of claim 1 further comprising a context-aware location component that minimizes a location error of the output location result.

Plainly stated, the output position takes into account other things (the 'context') to reduce the error in the computed location. This seems at best overly broad and has been covered through the use of techniques such as Kalman filters in GPS receivers for decades.

Claim 3 states:

  1. The engine of claim 1, wherein the plurality of different location uses are one of a way finding, a real-time location system, a zone location and a fast room entry determination.

These are simply the most generic uses of a location system: navigation, locating and determining whether the location is within a given boundary. These seem like obvious uses of location data even to one not skilled in the art.

The remaining 27 claims are all dependant upon these first three and are also mainly just restating use-cases.

A quick check found patent US 20150119077 A1 which covers much of the same specifically references time of flight as well as a number of published experiments (such as https://www.mutuallyhuman.com/blog/2014/07/21/geolocation-with-bluetooth-beacons) and academic papers (such as http://ipapapa.github.io/Files/globecom2015.pdf) but I would be interested in prior art specifically related to the aforementioned three claims as well as information of the best way to bring an objection to the PTO.

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    You keep referring to applications as US patents. It would be helpful if you called an application an application. – Eric Shain Jun 9 '17 at 22:26
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I'm not a lawyer (nor am I an expert in the technology area for this patent), but here are some applications that may be of interest:

The first application in the list is also an Awarepoint app, and received a final rejection in April, and it does not look like the applicant has made any response since then. You can find the prosecution history by search for the application on Public PAIR, in the Image File Wrapper tab, and then you can read the rejection itself. All but the first application in the above list are patents or apps which were art cited by the examiner in final rejection.

As for filing new art with the USPTO, third parties can submit what's called a Third Party Submission (form is on the forms page), or you can try this page.

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