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AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON initiating a vendor check-in procedure on a customer's mobile device - This application seeks to patent the idea of...Receiving a customer's location, comparing the customer location with a list of vendor locations, and identifying vendors based on the comparison! 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 4/1/2011 that discusses:

  • Identifying vendors based on customer location and initiating check-in for an identified vendor on customer's mobile device

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

EXTRA CREDIT - Check-in includes displaying a vendor's promotional video, displaying a vendor's threshold reward status, updating game status of the customer, etc. on the customer's mobile device.

TITLE: Initiating vendor check-in or displaying a map of nearby vendors on a customer's mobile device based on location of the customer

Summary: [Translated from Legalese into English] Receiving location of a customer from a mobile device of the customer, comparing the location of the customer with a list of vendor locations, initiating vendor check-in on the mobile device if the customer corresponds to a vendor associated with the list of vendor locations, and displaying a map showing location of vendors within a fixed distance of the customer location if the customer location does not correspond to any of the vendor locations in the list.

  • Publication Number: US 20120253902 A1
  • Application Number: US 13/435,115
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating 4/1/2011
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: Open through 4/2/2013
  • Link to Google Prior Art Search - "Find Prior Art"

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A location-based marketing method, comprising:

  1. Receiving, by a computing device, a participating customer location from a mobile communication device of said participating customer;

  2. Comparing, by said computing device, said participating customer location to a list of participating vendor locations;

  3. If said participating customer location corresponds to one of said participating vendor locations, initiating by said computing device a vendor check-in procedure on said mobile communication; and

  4. If said participating customer location does not correspond to one of said participating vendor locations, initiating by said computing device, a map displaying participating vendor locations within a predetermined distance of said participating customer location.

In English this means:

A method for location-based marketing comprising:

  1. Receiving customer location from a mobile device of the participating customer;

  2. Comparing location of the participating customer to a list of participating vendor locations;

  3. Initiating a vendor check-in procedure on the mobile device if the location of the participating customer corresponds to any of the participating vendor locations; and

  4. Displaying a map showing locations of participating vendors within a fixed distance from the location of the participating customer if the location of the participating customer does not correspond to any of the participating vendor locations.

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to 4/1/2011

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming Designating one or more identified vendors under various categories of a marketing game played by the customer on the mobile device.


"Initiate vendor check-in on a customer's mobile device" from the Applicant


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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1 Answer

Was having a look at Scoutmob.com as possible prior art. They've been around since 2010

How scoutmob works:

  • You get a deal for a shop/business/vendor from ScoutMob.com (this step is optional, you can use device to get deals closest to your location - video demo ).
  • The deal is only able to be redeemed when the user is in proximity of the vendor (based on geolocation). (satisfies point 1. Receiving customer location from a mobile device of the participating customer)
  • Deals are sorted by proximity to vendors (satisfies point 2. Comparing location of the participating customer to a list of participating vendor locations;)
  • I assume "redeem deal" is essentially a type of check-in.(satisfies point 3. Initiating a vendor check-in procedure on the mobile device if the location of the participating customer corresponds to any of the participating vendor locations;)
  • I'm not sure they satisfy the map criteria - but they have a feature which sorts deals by proximity to you. Edit: I believe that showing a map is an obvious innovation over a list based on proximity

There's articles on them from 2010: http://mobrumblings.tumblr.com/page/10 http://techcrunch.com/2010/01/13/real-time-mobile-savings-scoutmob-brings-local-deals-to-your-iphone/

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