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AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON offering coupons based on an item of interest at a user's location - This application from Ebay seeks to patent the idea of...determining the geographic location of a mobile device, identifying an item at the geographic location, and generating an incentive offered by a merchant based on the determined geographic location and the identified item! 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 3/17/2011 that discusses:

  • Presenting incentives offered by nearby merchants based on an item identified at the geographic location of the user

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

EXTRA CREDIT - Incentives may be discounts, sales, rebates, coupons, item recommendations etc. A user may specify an item of interest using various input means of a mobile device such as text identification, audio identification, machine-readable symbol identification, image identification, or video identification.

TITLE: Determining incentives related to items identified at user location

Summary: [Translated from Legalese into English] Determining geographic location of a mobile device, identifying an item specified via the mobile device at the determined geographic location, generating an incentive offered by a merchant within a fixed geographic area based on the determined geographic location and the identified item, and expanding the fixed geographic area when the generated incentive is not related to the identified item.

  • Publication Number: US 20120239483 A1
  • Application Number: US 13/339,235
  • Assignee: Ebay
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating 3/17/2011
  • Link to Google Prior Art Search - "Find Prior Art"

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A system comprising:

  1. a first module configured to determine a geographic location of a mobile device;

  2. a second module configured to identify an item specified at the geographic location of the mobile device via an optical input of the mobile device; and

  3. a processor-implemented incentive module configured to generate a limited-time incentive offer from at least one merchant within a predefined geographic area determined using the geographic location of the mobile device, the limited-time incentive offer based on the item specified at the geographic location of the mobile device, and to expand the predefined geographic area when the item specified at the geographic location of the mobile device does not correspond to any item identified in the at least one limited-time incentive offer of the at least one merchant within the predefined geographic area.

In English this means:

A system comprising various modules to:

  1. Determine geographic location of a mobile device;

  2. Identify an item specified at the determined geographic location via an optical input to the mobile device (the example given is the phone reading the bar code of the item using its camera);

    • Generate limited-time incentive offers from merchants within a fixed geographic area determined using the geographic location of the mobile device; and

    • Expand the fixed geographic area if the generated limited-time incentive offers are not related to the specified item,

    • The limited-time incentive offers are based on the item specified at the geographic location of the mobile device.

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to 3/17/2011

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming A user preference setting to define a search radius and preferred merchants


"Offering incentives related to an item based on geographic location of the item"


What is good prior art? Please see our FAQ.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below. We welcome you to post your own request for prior art on other questionable US Patent Applications.


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3 Answers

Here's an excerpt of an abstract for a presentation given at the O'Reilly Where 2.0 Conference on April 1st 2010.

Once shoppers have compared price and availability and selected their item, it is placed on hold to be picked up at a convenient retail location. The service can then deliver “on the way” ads based on a customer’s current location, and time-based coupons to motivate purchases. These apps are doing something no other mobile shopping app has done until now: they complete the triangle between media, advertisers and consumers in a way not possible before. And by tracking customer actions through the buying cycle from search to purchase, they enhance marketers’ knowledge of customer behavior in a powerfully concrete way.

Using Local Search and Geolocation Technology to Link Brands and Consumers

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Foursquare existed before this patent, and that's their entire business model.

Do web archive links count as prior art? Here's a page describing their geotargeted advertising: http://web.archive.org/web/20100102013959/http://foursquare.com/businesses/

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A similar but not identical idea was presented in the movie Minority Report. Where facial recognition on billboards would change ads to a specific individual.

NEC and IBM used RFID and facial recognition to create bill boards that change to offer ads tailored to who walked by. The Telegraph reported this on Aug 1, 2010

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