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From my opinion this patent cannot be - half of these things existed before it was filed. The phrases are way too broad, for instance claim 5 negates foursquare completely. Deriving product preferences is what google does for ages as well. Was it actually been granted?

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3 Answers 3

I think you might be overlooking the specificity in the first claim a bit.

  1. A system comprising: a computer processor operable to: receive a preference of a user, the preference relating to a product or service located in a first geographic location; receive an identification of a second geographic location; analyze, based on the preference of the user, a database to identify candidate products or services in the second geographic location; determine, from the candidate products or services, an equivalent product or service at least in part by comparison of the candidate products or services to the preference of the user; and transmit to the user an identification of the equivalent product or service located in the second geographic location.

Remember that patents can be improvements of existing inventions. This does seem related to some of what Google and FourSquare or similar services do, but that doesn't mean it's infringing on whatever patents they may or may not have on that functionality.

From the sounds of this application, which no, has not yet been granted, it's for a service which will make suggestions during travel (this is mostly just a hunch) based on a user's previous trends. That's not really something Google or FourSquare do. I see its applicant is Ebay, though, so I don't really know what they were/are up to with that.

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Good comment that the claim is specific. However this document is not a granted patent. –  George White Jul 14 at 6:10
Oh gosh, that's very embarrassing. My apologies. I must have popped over to the wrong tab to check on that part. I'll correct my answer immediately. Thanks @GeorgeWhite. –  Matthew Haugen Jul 14 at 6:13

This document is not a granted patent. It is an application for a patent. This is a particular type of application called a PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) application. In one sense a PCT applicant is application to ~150 countries simultaneously and in another way it is an application to nowhere. The applicant has a year from this month to decide which countries to steer this to by paying fees to enter the national stage in those countries.

Its OK for half of the things a patent mentions to have existed. Most inventions are combinations of old things. The way to understand the rights the application intends to cover is to read the claims. Claims are not very easy to read without some guidance and some practice.

This claim 1 essentially says :

step 1. Tell me a retail location you like in location in town X and step 2 give us another location, town Y. (maybe the person is traveling from X to Y to or planning on moving there). We will give you the name of a retail location in Y that is a lot like the place you explicitly told us you like in town X.

This might or might be new and non-obvious. It is not something I have heard that Google or Foursquare is doing.

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Thanks a lot! Perhaps I am asking because I am new to the patents proceedings and filing, but to my clarification, are all claims that are in the patent should be in a sequential manner? This means that the deviation from that flow which comprises new set of techniques is not considered violation of the existing patent? For instance - if the user pre-defines his preferences in a global manner and not just for the town X and system will not attempt to deduce it based on the social data, but in rather different system-specific way, will that be a violation of this?

P.S.: Form the look of that application I do not see directly that this is approved patent. How can you see this?

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Welcome to Ask Patents. I can provide some information about the structure of Ask Patents. We only put questions in the place for questions and only put answers to that question in the place for answers. Anything else would be in a comment. Someone who needs clarification of a question would add a comment under the question. The OP might edit the question. Then the answer provider might put in an answer. Your "Thanks a lot" post is structurally where there should only be something answering your question. It would be better to use a comment for this. Thanks for participating in Ask Patents. –  George White Jul 14 at 17:38
For one thing, patents do not infringe patents, shipping products infringe patents. If I invent an improvement to your patented invention I can get a patent because my thing is new and non-obvious. But I can't make my thing without your OK because my prudent would infringe you patent on the basic version. Some claims are independent. That means the don't refer to a previous claim. These claims stand alone and contain all of the constraints that must be satisfied to infringe. A claim referring back to a previous claim number covers what the previous claim covers + what the dependent claim says. –  George White Jul 14 at 17:45

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