IP protection




Please provide a short description of the state-of-the-art and/or current trends in the field? How does the result fit into it?
The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a communications architecture that gives a host device (e.g. a PC) the ability to interconnect a variety of devices via a simple four-wire cable. USB protocols can configure devices at startup or when they are plugged in at run time (plug-and-play). The interface is widely used also in embedded devices, ranging from set-top boxes, printers, web and digital cameras to modems, speakers, drives, industrial control devices, card readers and cable/DSL modems. Because of its flexibility, simplicity, speed and low-cost, USB connectivity has moved from the PC world to the embedded market. There has been an explosion of plug-and-play, consumer friendly USB peripherals that has resulted in making USB a standard requirement for embedded device products.

Besides the hardware interface, the communications over the USB are made thanks to protocols. The different protocols are dedicated to specific functions that the bus is able to perform. The implementation of each protocol has to be present on both sides of the USB link and if more functions are required, there is the need of several protocol implementations at the same time. The protocols are implemented at operating system level and sometimes are affected by interoperability limitations or even implementation bugs which result in malfunctions perceived by the users. In addition, the large number of different operating systems and different versions of the same OS installed in the PCs on the field cause big difficulties to the maintainers of device’s software.

In many cases the manufacturer of a device (digital camera, smartphone, …) sells, in addition to the device, a software suite which allow a full control of the device through a proprietary interface. Sometimes that interface is designed to work only in conjunction with a certain OS and that is limiting factor.

The R&D result is a new idea that uses in an alternative way some standard, widespread and deeply debugged mechanisms. The benefit are: the reduced need of OS drivers, the use of a single and consolidated protocol, and the reduced effort in maintenance.






What is the problem/need/knowledge gap that the research result is responding to?  How was it addressed before?
The R&D result has the aim to implement communications over USB interfaces by means of a standard protocol that is normally used for the exchange of file (the USB mass storage class protocol). Thanks to the USB flash-drive diffusion the USB MSC protocol has become a very robust and universally available interface. This means that the integration of applications that rely only to USB MSC are simpler to develop and the maintenance over a number of operating systems require less effort. That is the case of the Simplified Multifunctional USB.

The need of interfacing hosts and devices by USB is often addressed by the use of composite peripherals or by proprietary solutions (based on standard HW interfaces in conjunction with non standard protocols). The drawback of composite devices is that the more common operating systems are not always supporting, in a stable and robust way, such devices.

Furthermore, the standard for communication over USB is defined by the USB CDC protocol that need to be implemented in a new specific driver when composite device are deployed.






What is the potential for further research?
The research direction may be considered closed.





What is the proposed method of IPR-protection? (patent, license, trademark etc.)
The IPR protection covered by a national patent and PCT application is in progress.







What are the steps that need to be taken in order to secure the IPR-protection? What is the cost of IPR-protection?
The described invention has applied for a national patent (UD2010A000038) and currently it’s being extended abroad through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The European Patent Office (EPO) has already written a search report with positive statements about all the necessary requirements to obtain the patent. The decision about the application to the national offices will be taken after the provisional application period (sept 2012).

The estimated cost for the PCT application in the main countries is in the range of tens of k€.




What is you overall assessment of the scientific maturity of the research result?
The R&D results has been integrated in real component, already in the form of a commercial product. From the “scientific” viewpoint,  it can be stated that the concept has been proved and also engineered.

The result is mature for both the possible strategies: sell a product containing the result or releasing the IP to a manufacturer which adopts  the algorithm in his products.







Please put X as appropriate. 1 2 3 4 5
Scientific maturity         X
Synergies   X      
State-of-the-art/innovation     X    
IPR-potential   X      




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