A Geo-Fence Patent for Home Security? Come on...

Published: Thu, 10 Sep 2015

Using geo-fencing for home security is a great idea. At Korner, it is squarely on our roadmap. But apparently a patent has just been filed that will presumably preclude us from adding, and our users from using, this very convenient feature. Now technically speaking, our intention is to use GPS-based geo-fencing, whereas this patent is focused on WiFi-based fencing. But does this mean we should do a patent search for GPS-based geo-fencing before we introduce this feature? To be honest, that never even crossed my mind until today. And why not? Because I never believed that it was a sufficiently novel concept to warrant consideration for a patent.

Apparently I was wrong. Or was I? Korner has filed a patent. One patent. And it is based on the use of a novel combination of components that allows a functional one-piece door and window sensor, as opposed to the the two-piece sensors that have been used for decades in the industry. It is innovative, and useful. It is much easier to install and use, and in many respects it works better. Our home security system does a lot of other things, some of which are unique and innovative, but none of which we believed would meet the standard of being patentable.

But one has to wonder whether there is such a standard anymore, or if the patent office will essentially patent anything that is sent their way. There has been some inertia recently towards addressing this, such as a recent Supreme Court decision to limit any business process patents. But on another front, an otherwise popular bill with bipartisan support to limit patent trolls was kaiboshed at the 11th hour by the trial lawyer lobby. So Korner will forge ahead, and continue to evolve our product to give our customers the best experience we can possibly give them. But it kind of feels like we should have one hand behind our back with fingers crossed. It sure would be nice to have use of both hands...

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