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Friday Briefing: Will the New Apple Patent Have Android Running Scared?

Happy Friday! It’s time to look forward to the weekend, enjoy Louis Basenese’s breakdown of the market through charts and get a weekly roundup of tech  (and today, biotech) news.

Remember to cast your vote in the survey at the end, though. This lets us know the types of stories our readers dig most.

Let’s jump right in…

Tech Trend #1: Leap’s Laying the Groundwork for a Successful Launch

In May I discussed how Leap Motion’s technology could quickly become a threat to Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Kinect. That’s because Leap’s gesture recognition technology is capable of tracking movements from multiple objects at once, including each individual finger. The Kinect doesn’t boast that type of precision.

That’s why I’m convinced that Leap’s technology could more effectively bring gesture control to a wider range of interfaces, not just gaming. And based on the company’s latest move, it seems that Leap also realizes this potential…

The company just hired Andy Miller from venture capital firm, Highland Capital Partners. What’s key about Miller, though, is that he used to be the head of mobile advertising at Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). So he knows a thing or two about successfully building a company’s image, which should help Leap hit the ground running once its product goes to market.

Tech Trend #2: Merck’s Knocking People Out With its New Insomnia Drug

As big pharmaceutical companies fall off the patent cliff, it’s more important than ever to release game-changing new drugs. And Merck (NYSE: MRK) might have one ready soon…

In July 2011, the company began clinical trials for a new insomnia drug to compete with previous leaders in the space like Ambien and Lunesta. This new drug, suvorexant, is unique because it “blocks a tiny group of receptors that keep the body alert, rather than boosting the brain’s complex sleep system,” Bloomberg said today.

As a result, during its phase III studies, “about 90% of the patients didn’t feel sleepy the day after they took the drug,” Trefis said last month. Such side effects are a huge problem with current sleep therapies.

After GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) wasted $4.07 billion last year trying (and failing) to develop a new insomnia drug, Merck has certainly taken a gamble with the new trial.

However, as Bloomberg said this week, “Merck’s clinical trial has lasted a year, more than any other sleep drug, which the company says may mean it’s possible for patients to use the drug for longer than current therapies.”

If approved by the FDA, it could generate $900 million a year for the company, according to Barclays (NYSE: BCS) analyst, Tony Butler.

Tech Trend #3: New Apple Patent to Put Android Makers on the Defensive

Last week we learned that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will meet with mobile phone manufacturers in October to arrange a better system for settling patent disputes and working on licensing agreements.

That meeting can’t happen soon enough now that mobile patent litigation’s heaviest hitter, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), just received some killer new intellectual property.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple 25 patents today. But the one that stands out in particular relates to the iPhone’s graphical user interface for displaying electronic lists and documents.

That’s essentially another way of saying that Apple has patented a way to show information on a digital display. Not good for Android developers.

As Wired says, it “may sound snoozy, but the patent – which covers graphical user interfaces ranging from email to Camera Roll to menu lists to the multi-touch interface in general – looks like a dangerous weapon for Apple as it battles Android handset makers.”

I give it no more than a month before we see Apple put it to good use in the courtroom.

Cast Your Vote!

Let us know which topic interested you the most…

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That’s all for today. Have a great weekend!

Good investing,

Justin Fritz


Justin Fritz

, Executive Editor

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