While working at AT&T I colaborated with seveval coworkers to file many invention disclosures. Two of these inventions were selected by AT&T’s legal team as potential patents. Patents for both inventions were filed in 2002. They are still pending.
System and method for providing video program information or video program content to a user [pdf] – If a name said it all and AT&T was granted this patent they would control all TV’s in the US. But alas this is a vague name for a system that would allow a television viewer to tune in to a show after it has started and use the catch me up feature to quickly summarize the portion of the show the viewer missed. This summary could be a voice over, a series of quick clips or anything that catches the viewer up to the current point in the show.
Method and system using docking stations to distribute a set top box between multiple monitors [pdf] – Again a vague name. This patent is for a system allowing the sharing of content between two TV settop boxes. For example you record Seinfeld on your Tivo downstairs. It is late and you want ot watch it on your Tivo upstairs. Bummer. But with this dock you could remove the storage media from the downstairs Tivo and plug it into the upstairs Tivo. Voila!
This dock could also allow simpler upgrades of storage capacity and features. Depending on what elements of the settop box are in the dock the entire smarts of the box including the codec could be upgraded by just replacing the removable module.