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How does patent application US20100325182 affect dropcards.com and similar websites that allow users to send in their media and artwork then furnish the users with unique cards? Users hand out the cards and the recipients enter the code for a (usually) audio file. It seems that this patent would preclude this type of business. Am I missing something here? I want to do something similar, but I want to be sure that I would not be infringing on this patent.

The root claims of the patent are:

1. A method comprising:

  • using a computer for downloading an item of multimedia which includes a code associated therewith, said code being separate from said item of multimedia, and said code being usable by a user separate from a playing of the multimedia; and
  • using the computer for entering said code on a website to obtain content on the website.

15. A method comprising:

  • using a computer for hosting a website that controls obtaining items of multimedia and allows selling said items of multimedia;
  • using the computer for obtaining plural codes which are usable on the website, each code being usable on the website to automatically obtain content on the website detecting a request for download of a first multimedia item;
  • first controlling a download by a first user of the first multimedia item along with a first code from said plural codes, said first code associated with said first multimedia item;
  • preventing said first code from being downloaded again after said first controlling;
  • second controlling a download by a second user of the first multimedia item along with a second code from said plural codes, said second code associated with said first multimedia item; and
  • preventing said second code from being downloaded again after said first controlling.

27. A method comprising:

  • using a computer for downloading an item of multimedia which includes a bonus item associated therewith, said bonus item being separate from said item of multimedia, and said bonus item being usable by a user separate from a playing of the multimedia; and
  • obtaining said bonus item separately from obtaining said item of multimedia.
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Yes, I think I understand the claims. My question is: how do the current download-card companies operate around this particular patent that seems to cover such cards as those made/sold by Dropcards? –  Ben Oct 21 '12 at 5:57
    
there is no patent infringement unless & until the patent issues. What is cited here is merely a patent application. –  Dennis Crouch Oct 23 '12 at 2:03
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1 Answer 1

The question here skips over a big point. The patent document referred to (US20100325182) is a related to a pending patent application that has was rejected by the PTO and has now been abandoned by the patent applicant. So, there is no need to worry about this one.

Generally, about 1/3 or more of patent applications filed are never issued as patents. If no patent issues, that means that the information is open for public use (so long as someone else doesn't already have a patent).

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Thanks for the reply. How did you determine that the patent was rejected? Sorry to be naive here, but I couldn't get that info anywhere. Thanks again. –  Ben Oct 23 '12 at 20:41
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