As taught in the patents’ specification, the patents employ multiple antennas/coverage areas, not just at a dock door or conveyor belt, but throughout a facility or open area. The patents then use collected raw tag data to generate new detection information for each read zone(s), for higher-level applications, such as tagged object identifying, locating, tracking, and surveillance. In other words, ATS’ RFID system generates data about the operational state of a given tagged object based on,
• When it was detected,
• Where it was detected,
• Which antenna(s)/reader(s) detected it.
The system processes the data to determine whether a tagged object is entering, dwelling, or exiting a specific antenna coverage area. The invention enables hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of tagged objects to be continually located, identified, and tracked in near-real time.
Four ATS’ patents faced ex parta reexaminations in 2012. All four patents were issued positive reexamination certificates in 2012. Only a few new words were added to a claim in one patent.
In the case ATS v. Coca-Cola, a §101 issue was raised. Coca-Cola alleged that certain ATS’ claims were directed to an abstract idea. The case was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Court ruled in favor of Coca-Cola but indicated what needed to be done to fix the claims in question. As a result of the corrections, the PTO granted ATS two new patents: 10,152,620 and 10,496,859.
EPCglobal’s RFID standards document called the Low-Level Reader Protocol (LLRP) mandates several ATS’ inventive concepts for all RFID readers offered for sale today. Hence, ATS’s patents may well be determined as Standard-Essential Patents.
ATS’ technology and RTLS are not mutually exclusive. A RTLS is used to automatically identify and track the location of objects and people in near-real time, usually within a building or other contained area. ATS’ technology generates the detection information required for identifying, tracking, and locating objects and people in real time.