I was asked to evaluate three patents that TMMI filed in 2016, specifically, patents US20160078601A1, WO2016186925A1, and WO2016040939A1.
They are worthless, and could justify the patent office rejecting them. Either TMMI’s management does not understand that the patents describe useless technology, or they filed them just so that they could claim that they have patents. Each patent also heavily tries to cover alternative formulations, which is laughable given that such alternatives include considerable prior art.
I will now go over them individually.
Patent US20160078601A1: Image upsampling using local adaptive weighting
Basically a knockoff of any image upsampler that performs edge detection and weights interpolated pixels accordingly to make enlarged edges sharp. This is probably the algorithm that TRUPIX uses, and it is no better than NEDI which has been around for many years. But with methods like RAISR, the industry has already moved beyond this patent anyway.
Bonus goof: the patent talks about how mobile devices and TV sets may not be powerful enough to do upscaling. Someone needs to let TMMI know what year this is.
Patent WO2016186925A1: Systems and methods for digital video sampling and upscaling
This one has to be read to be believed. All it describes is a general method to decode a video, upscale the frames, and then encode the upscaled frames into a new, larger video. People have been doing this for a long time, so it is a perfect case of prior art. Due to its generality, I cannot fathom how this even qualifies as a patent. It is more like those garbage patents that attempt to grant a monopoly for a mere business process.
Patent WO2016040939A1: Systems and methods for subject-oriented compression
This one describes how a computer can identify and track regions of interest in a video in order to compress them with higher fidelity than other (background) regions. No real specific algorithms mentioned, and it relies on user input. The point is to compress video by compressing the background regions more, but no mention is made of any specific compression method.
Someone needs to remind TMMI that video codecs use keyframes to avoid needlessly encoding static backgrounds, and modern codecs use interframe motion detection to avoid encoding parts of images that are simply moving. Why compress background regions at lower quality when you can have them at high quality anyway? Given how much user input this patent’s method requires, the meager compression savings are not worth it.
Overall, it sounds like TMMI wanted to get some patents to impress people, so they just looked around and filed whatever was “close enough to sound patent-ish.” They would be better off refunding investors’ money and calling it a day. They do not understand that a technology company needs to have, well, technology.