AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON targeting ads based on distance between potential customer and a store - This application invented by a patent attorney seeks to patent the idea of...geo-targeting promotions from stores to potential customers! 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 1/5/2012 that discusses:

  • using location between potential customer and a store to target ads to a potential customer

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

EXTRA CREDIT - A reference to anything that meets all of the criteria to the question above AND ALSO where user and store owner both set radii within which they are willing to receive or send promotional material

A good example of a spammy patent that (if allowed) will end up being used by patent trolls

TITLE: Location-based promotion delivery system

Summary: [Translated from Legalese into English] Delivering mobile promotions to potential customers based on location of user and location of store and respective radii determined by store owner and user for sending or receiving promotions

  • Publication Number: US20130179265 A1
  • Application Number: US 13/734,968
  • Assignee: Christopher Winslade (a patent attorney)
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating 1/5/2012
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: Open through 1/7/2014
  • Link to Google Prior Art Search - "Find Prior Art"

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A method for providing location-based promotions, the method comprising:

  1. determining a current location of a mobile potential customer;

  2. providing the current location of the mobile potential customer to a proprietor;

  3. determining, based at least in part on information received from the proprietor, whether to communicate a promotional offer to the mobile potential customer; and

  4. if it is determined to communicate a promotional offer to the customer, then communicating the promotional offer to the mobile potential customer.

In English this means:

A method for providing location-based promotions, comprising:

  1. Determine location of potential customer

  2. Providing current location of potential customer to a store owner (or automatically based on preferences he has setup in advance)

  3. Determining whether to send promotional offer to potential customer

  4. Sending promotional offer to potential customer

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to 1/5/2012

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming the store owner and the mobile user setting radii within which they are willing to send or receive promotional material

"Communicating promotional content 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.

  • 1
    Isn't Foursquare specials some implementation of this? User is offered something in return for checking in, and is informed about this possibility in local search results. Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 10:39

6 Answers 6


Extremely obvious idea. Has been a common practice for years, as the fact that this page existed prior to the application date shows:



Many companies have been talking about or doing this well prior to 2012. For instance, Placecast (http://placecast.net/press/releases.html) had this press release from 2010:


  • in which they work with a mobile operator (O2 in the UK in this case) so as to get user position information

  • in which they allow advertisers to create geofences. A A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area (wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geo-fence)

  • in which they determine if user in in the geo-fenced area that an advertiser has created.

  • If user is in the geofenced area, and has opted into the service, they will be delivered an advertising message via text message.


These patents, filed in 2001 and 2006, may cover the geo-location aspect:

US 6452498 B2 System and method for providing geographic-based advertising


US 8478887 B2 Providing advertisements to a computing device based on a predetermined criterion of a wireless access point


Disclosure: both were filed by Wayport, Inc, of which I was an employee at the time.

  • There are several other potentials. Do a google patents search for "Wayport location based" for example Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 23:19

In the public transit industry, there were companies doing this back when I went to the APTA conference in 2008. Trying to get some extra advertising revenue. Substitute a "bus" as the mobile device, and this is more-or-less the same thing...

Article from 2011 about GPS-based audio advertisements in buses: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/07/06/mbta_again_considers_audio_ads_on_its_buses/

Hey! Here's an article from 2008 about location-based advertising on buses: http://www.psfk.com/2008/10/nyc-buses-get-location-based-advertising.html

And here's another going back to 2006: http://adage.com/article/digital/london-bus-ads-change-locations/111429/


Check out my patent which I filed in April 2000 and which issued in 2005. Patent number 6,912,398


The YP Mobile App for Android already has this capability

  • The issue of prior art is not resloved by "somebody is doing it now". That's not the issue. It is what existed as of the filing or priority date.
    – George White
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 16:47

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