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This Patent Application received a non-final rejection by the US Patent Office! An initial rejection is part of the typical course of a patent application.

Some of the grounds for rejection (can be seen in Public PAIR) are based on public disclosure by the applicant themselves in 2008 and 2009.


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AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON monitoring user behavior and offering products for sale - This application seeks to patent the idea of...offering products to users on a computer based on user behavior! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents. Follow @askpatents on twitter to help.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before 8/30/2010 that discusses:

  • monitoring user behavior, determining brand preference of a user and offering products for sale to user based on brand preference

If so, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question. We welcome multiple answers from the same individual.


As far as I can tell, starting in 1999 our company did exactly what this Patent Application's Independent Claims are trying to get exclusive rights to. We neither considered it novel nor original at the time. I believe at least several other companies did the same before us, and that dozens of other companies were also doing this within a year or two after. I have watched numerous folks come up with (and implement) what appears to me to be the exact same idea in the decade since. If issued, it appears that this patent could be used to block an extremely common practice. I am not currently doing what this patent is claiming, but may very well want to do so again in the future. How should one go about preventing an applicant from receiving an exclusive right over an idea which appears to be identical to one you had implemented over a decade before, and may very well wish to implement again?

Publication Number: US 20130173402 A1
Application Number: US 13/298,523
Prior Art Date: Seeking Prior Art predating 8/30/2010

Google Patents link: http://www.google.com/patents/us20130173402

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A method for facilitating electronic commerce via a computer network, the method comprising:

  1. monitoring a user's interactions with an on-line content provider;

  2. identifying a first brand of interest to the user, wherein the identified first brand of interest is based at least in part upon the user's interactions with the on-line content provider;

  3. determining whether merchandise associated with the identified first brand is available for sale/purchase; and

  4. presenting to the user, via an electronic display and in response to identifying available merchandise associated with the identified first brand, at least one opportunity for the user to purchase at least a portion of the identified available items of merchandise associated with the identified first brand.

In English this means:

A method for facilitating electronic commerce:

  1. monitoring a user's interactions with an on-line content provider;

  2. identifying brand of interest to the user based upon the user's interactions with the on-line content provider;

  3. determining whether merchandise associated with the identified brand is available for sale/purchase; and

  4. offering the user an opportunity to purchase the identified items of merchandise associated with the identified brand.

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The OP provided patent application numbers and in any case is essentially stating he has the prior art but needs to know what to do with it. It is a perfectly complete, on topic question about how the patent system works. –  George White Sep 30 '13 at 16:54
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1 Answer

Please take a look at How can an individual participate in the examination process for US Patent Applications?

Also you can search this site for "third party submission". That process involves submission of published documents. Just stating "we did it years ago" isn't good enough. The documents you send need to be published before the date of the filing. That means an internal company memo or specification is may not qualify.

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