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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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2 Answers 2

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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