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clients & industry contributions
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Due to the confidentiality of most of our client relationships and work, below is a partial, public list of "the company we keep". This list includes enterprise and recent startup clients, as well as past and other spinoffs, spinouts, licensees, and ventures with PARC contributions.
To see a list of clients and at-a-glance overview of PARC today, please download our fact sheet.
embedding digital data
Microglyph Technology GmbH, a provider of customized auto-ID solutions headquartered in Germany, licensed basic PARC DataGlyphs® patents to form the foundation of their proprietary Microglyph® code. PARC DataGlyphs® are an unobtrusive method of embedding computer-readable data on a variety of surfaces. Unlike most barcodes, PARC DataGlyphs® are flexible in shape and size making them suitable for curved surfaces.
book scanning technology
Kirtas Technologies, Inc. holds an exclusive license for page-turning technology developed by PARC and the Xerox Wilson Center for Research & Technology. Kirtas, a pioneer in high-quality digitization, is known for its patented automatic book scanners, software, and services which reduce the cost and overhead of mass digitization.
electronic reusable paper (e-paper)
Gyricon Media, Inc. was spun out in 2000 to commercialize PARC's electronic reusable paper, a document display technology that is thin, flexible, and portable like paper -- but that can be connected to a network and be reused thousands of times. Gyricon LLC closed in 2005; Xerox continues to license the e-paper display technology.
ContentGuard / acquired by Microsoft, Time Warner, Thomson/ acquired by Pendrell
digital rights management (DRM)
ContentGuard was spun-out in 2000 to develop and license software for digital rights management (DRM). Its eXtensible rights Markup Language (XrML) DRM software, developed at PARC, authorizes access to content or a network service in a language that multiple systems can read. In 2005, Microsoft, Time Warner and Thomson acquired ContentGuard. In 2011, Pendrell Technologies announced they would work with Time Warner to accelerate ContentGuard -- "a leading inventor, developer and licensor of DRM and related content distribution patents and technologies" -- to provide flexible DRM solutions for the growing digital content distribution market.
GroupFire / Outride / acquired by Google
personalized search technology
GroupFire, Inc. was spun off in 2000 to commercialize ~70 PARC IP claims covering information retrieval, personalization, contextualization, data mining, natural language semantic analysis, and artificial intelligence. GroupFire enabled personalized and simplified Internet searches by managing bookmarks and allowing access to them from any computer connected to the Internet. GroupFire later became Outride, Inc., whose intellectual property and technology was acquired by Google in 2001.
Uppercase / acquired by Microsoft
portable document reader
Uppercase, Inc. was spun out in 1998 to commercialize one of PARC's ubiquitous computing research results: a thin, lightweight, pen-based, page-oriented, network-accessible portable document-reading device (PDR) for mobile professionals. The technology was acquired by Microsoft in 2000.
displays & sensing for digital medical imaging
Based on PARC's foundational research in amorphous silicon (a-Si), dpiX was spun out in 1996. The company became the world's leading source for high-resolution a-Si sensor arrays, and was acquired by Trixell (a Siemens Medical/ Phillips Medical/ Thomson-CSF joint venture), Planar Systems, and Varian Medical in 1999. dpiX a-Si technology provides the foundation for medical, industrial, military, and security X-ray imaging and is used by medical equipment companies worldwide.
Inxight Software / acquired by Business Objects / acquired by SAP
information visualization & knowledge extraction
Inxight Software, Inc. was spun out by PARC in 1996 to provide information visualization and knowledge extraction software. The software commercialized PARC's unique approach to information visualization by using a hyperbolic browser and other "focus+context" visualization techniques to give the user 3D views of text databases. Business Objects acquired Inxight in 2007, and was in turn acquired by SAP in 2008.
Placeware / acquired by Microsoft
web-based meeting & presentation solution
PARC's research on how a sense of place can create more meaningful interaction on the Internet resulted in the spin-out Placeware in 1996. The company provided users with a live, web-based presentation solution for field and customer communication, becoming the largest Internet meeting solutions provider. Placeware was acquired by Microsoft in 2003 to become Microsoft Office LiveMeeting.
Henry Sang studied how customers implemented technologies developed at PARC. He founded consulting business Customers & Technologies, Inc. (CTI) in 1994 to develop methodologies for integrating new technologies into document processes.
electronic whiteboard technology & collaborative meeting tools
PARC research on computational support for real-time, multi-media collaboration in face-to-face and remote meetings resulted in the creation of the LiveBoard. This was a blackboard-sized, touch-sensitive screen (capable of displaying ~million-pixel images), which utilized a keyboard and electronic pen for collaborative annotation and drawing. LiveWorks was spun out in 1992 to market LiveBoards.
Semaphore Communications was spun out in 1990 to bring advanced encryption systems for networks technology to the marketplace. A distinguishing feature of this technology was performing encryption in the hardware, which made it faster than most software-based products.
Documentum / acquired by EMC
document management processes
Documentum was spun out in 1990 to commercialize document management solutions. Documentum software enabled a change made in one place in a document to be automatically replaced in all appropriate places in a document. Documentum was acquired by EMC in 2003.
print controller system
Advanced Workstations Products, Inc. was spun out in 1989 to productize a high-performance, low-cost, non-proprietary print controller system for Xerox high-end printers to operate on a network. Xerox bought back the company in 1991.
ParcPlace Systems / ObjectShare / acquired by Cincom Systems
The Smalltalk-80 object-oriented programming language was commercialized through ParcPlace Systems in 1988. Smalltalk was the first object-oriented programming language with an integrated user interface, overlapping windows, integration documents, and cut-and-paste editor. ParcPlace became ObjectShare in 1997, and its VisualWorks business unit was acquired by Cincom Systems in 1999.
StepperVision / acquired by Optical Associates
StepperVision was spun off in 1987 to market a monitoring device that specified optimal settings for semiconductor equipment called "wafer steppers". The technology was developed by PARC to speed up silicon wafer alignment during the lithographic process in the wafer line used for experimental integrated circuit designs. Optical Associates, Inc. acquired StepperVision in 1988.
SynOptics / Bay Networks / acquired by Nortel
Ethernet fiber optics
PARC developed an Ethernet system that could operate on an optical cabling system. This resulted in the 1985 spin out of SynOptics Communications, Inc., which pioneered the use of Ethernet networking technology over phone wire in buildings. The company became Bay Networks in 1994, and was acquired by Nortel in 1998.
Microlytics / acquired by SelecTronics
PARC's research and deep understanding of the structure and mathematical properties of language and artificial intelligence led to Microlytics, Inc., spun out in 1985 to commercialize linguistic compression technology. The technology was used for visual recall, intelligent retrieval, and data compression for spell-checking. Microlytics was acquired by SelecTronics, Inc. in 1990.
- Powerset (now part of Microsoft): Pioneering and deploying a breakthrough consumer product [case study]
page description language
John Warnock created the Interpress Page Description Language at PARC as a proprietary computer language to control Xerox laser printers. Warnock and PARC Imaging Sciences Laboratory manager Charles Geschke founded Adobe Systems, Inc. in 1983 to develop PostScript, the next-generation Page Description language that became the standard in desktop publishing.
Spectra Diode Labs / merged with JDS Uniphase
Based on PARC's distributed feedback/ "solid state" laser using gallium arsenide (GaAs), Spectra Diode Labs, Inc. (SDLI) -- a joint venture between Xerox and Spectra-Physics -- was formed in 1983 to develop high-power, state-of-the-art, solid-state semiconductor laser diodes. SDLI and JDS Uniphase merged in 2001.
Komag / acquired by Western Digital
Tu Chen founded Komag, Inc. in 1983; the company became the leading supplier of thin-film disks, the primary high-capacity storage medium for digital data for consumers of computers, enterprise storage systems, and electronic appliances such as digital video recorders, game boxes, and consumer electronic storage systems. Komag was acquired by Western Digital in 2007.
Metaphor / acquired by IBM
David Liddle worked on the Ethernet local area network for personal computers and the graphical user interface at PARC. He founded Metaphor Computer Systems, Inc. in 1982 to develop systems that enabled nontechnical professionals to access and manipulate data in large computer data bases on high-powered workstations. Metaphor was acquired by IBM in 1991.
ScanSoft / Nuance
PARC technology for document image processing was part of Xerox Imaging Systems (founded in 1980, later ScanSoft in 1999) award-winning digital imaging software. ScanSoft was acquired by scanner software product developer Visioneer (1992), which then became ScanSoft and acquired/merged with SRI spinoff Nuance in 1995. Nuance Communications today is a leading provider of speech and imaging applications -- including embedded speech recognition, optical character recognition software, and desktop imaging software.
- Powerset (now part of Microsoft): Pioneering and deploying a breakthrough consumer product [case study]
Optimem / acquired by Cipher Data Products / acquired by Archive Corporation
non-erasable magneto-optical storage
Optimem was spun out in 1980 to commercialize the non-erasable, magneto-optical storage device technologies developed at PARC to enable high-speed information access for the Xerox Alto personal workstation. Optimem was acquired by Cipher Data Products, Inc. in 1986, acquired by Archive Corporation in 1990.
computer paint (graphics) system
Dick Shoup invented SuperPaint at PARC in 1973; this program pioneered graphics and the pixel-based frame buffering system. Shoup co-founded graphics company Aurora Systems in 1979 to develop and market further generations of painting and animation systems and to supply computer graphic services for video broadcast and production markets. Shoup won an Emmy award in 1983 for his work done at PARC in the 1970s and an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement in 1998.
GRiD Systems / acquired by Tandy (Radio Shack)
John Ellenby led the Xerox Alto II personal workstation development team at PARC. He founded GRiD Systems Corporation in 1979. GRiD developed the Compass -- a clamshell-case, portable, high-end computer for executives and other specialized application laptops -- before being acquired by Tandy Corporation (Radio Shack) in 1988.
VLSI Technologies / acquired by Philips Electronics / NXP Semiconductors
VLSI ASIC technology
The very-large-scale integration (VLSI) methodologies were developed at PARC by Doug Fairbairn and Lynn Conway with California Institute of Technology's Carver Mead. Fairbairn co-founded VLSI Technologies, Inc. in 1979 to become the pioneer of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) technology. In 1999, VLSI was acquired by Philips Electronics and is part of Philips spin-off NXP Semiconductors.
3Com / acquired by HP
Bob Metcalfe and Dave Boggs invented the Ethernet at PARC in 1973; it became the standard for connecting computers over short distances. Metcalfe founded 3Com Corporation, a manufacturer of computer networking equipment, in 1979.
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"At Procter & Gamble, we have a number of strategies and programs in place for working with outside innovation partners. Our aim is to find and build partnership with companies – institutions that compliment and expand our own capabilities – so together we can achieve more. With PARC, we found broad-based, deep technical knowledge, a variety of key skills in a single place, and a successful track record of working with industry partners. They understand our business and are very responsive to client needs – very important as we try to accelerate our growth." — Ed Sawicki, Associate Director, P&G Global Business Development
"By partnering with an outside institution like PARC, it forced us to consider ideas that might have been dismissed had they been born internally." — Hitoshi Matsumoto, President, Fujitsu Laboratories America