AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON Targeting promotions based on location of vendors with respect to user's current location. - This application from Finnoble Solutions, now Capital One seeks to patent the idea of...Identifying vendors from a user's transaction history, determining a vendor whose location is proximate to the user's current location, and delivering promotions associated with the determined vendor to the user! 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 5/9/2011 that discusses:

  • Targeting promotions based on location of vendors with respect to the user's location.

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

EXTRA CREDIT - Vendors are identified from the transaction history of a user.

TITLE: Presenting promotions offered by vendors in proximity to a consumer's current location.

Summary: [Translated from Legalese into English] Identifying vendors from the transaction history of a consumer, determining location of the consumer based on location of the consumer's mobile device, identifying a vendor in proximity to the consumer, and presenting promotions offered by the identified vendor on the consumer's mobile device.

  • Publication Number: US 20120290389 A1
  • Application Number: US 13/103,855
  • Assignee: Finnoble Solutions, Inc. / CapitalOne
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating 5/9/2011
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: Open through 5/14/2013
  • Link to Google Prior Art Search - "Find Prior Art"

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A method of providing a list of current offers from retailers to a user operating a mobile client device, the method comprising:

  1. Analyzing a transaction history of the user to identify a vendor who has transacted with the user;

  2. Determining a present geographic location of the user based on a location of the mobile client device;

  3. Determining a location of the vendor proximate the user based on the transaction history and the present geographic location of the user;

  4. Searching for a current promotion offered by the vendor; and

  5. Transmitting, the current promotion to the user, wherein the transmitted current promotion comprises information related to the transaction history.

In English this means:

A method for providing a list of current offers from retailers to consumers operating a mobile device, the method comprising:

  1. Identifying vendors who have transacted with the consumer from the consumer's transaction history;

  2. Determining location of the consumer based on the location of the mobile device;

  3. Determining a vendor in proximity to the user's location;

  4. Searching for current promotion offered by the vendor ; and

  5. Presenting the current promotion offered by the vendor on the consumer's mobile device, where the promotion is related to the user's transaction history.

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to 5/9/2011

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming Matching one or more locations of a vendor with the consumer's location to identify the nearest vendor location.

"Display of matched offers based on a user's location and transaction history""" 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.

5 Answers 5


Foursquare does this, and here's a mention of it from March of 2011.

This blog post may not be ideal evidence as it doesn't specifically mention the location-based facet of their promotions. Here's one from 2010 that mentions Foursquare as well as ShopAlerts, and has more technical details about how it works.

  • Just quoting what I think can be used as evidence of location-based facet from your first link: "Coffee Bean is also running a Newbie Special nationwide, where all first-time check-ins get a dollar off any drink starting on March 23rd." ... "For some businesses, they’ll set a Special to unlock at every check-in"
    – Nikita
    Dec 4, 2013 at 6:56

ProPay's Link (formerly known as Zumogo) does this. Their press release in Feb 2011 outlines some of this:


But their initial launch during Sundance 2011 (January 2011) had stores available at vendors sorted by distance from the current user.

They have had promotions (designated by an icon on nearby supported retailers) for some time. I'm not sure when it was added into their apps, or when first design was available.

In the current screenshots for their app they have a list of supported merchants, and one of them "It's a Lark Hobbies new" has a promotion available, designated by the icon below "It's"

android screenshot

The Apple App store version's first two screenshots outline the way deals work a little more clearly.

It doesn't look like they have a count of the number of times the user has visited the merchant or any of its location, but they might have a "favorite" locations concept.


This is just location based advertising (LBA), and people have been doing it and debating the ethics of it for years. There are gobs of papers discussing the idea, many from the 2007 time frame.

Patent application US20020046084 - Remotely configurable multimedia entertainment and information system with location based advertising filed in 1999 describes these features with several other ideas:

[0108] Location Based Advertising Business Method

[0109] Using the computer controlled multimedia entertainment and information system 10 described above or some other suitable network, a method for transmission of location based advertising is provided. Although the following description refers to multimedia entertainment and information system 10 and multimedia device 20, the location based advertising methods described in this application could apply to any communications system or any wireless communication device, including without limitation, pagers, cellular phones, two-way radios, PDAs, laptops, etc. The key aspect of this method is trading location based consumer preference or behavior profile information on various products or services for a number of advertisements transmitted to the system 10. Such a method is based upon advertisement selection criteria, user location information, and proximity of users and vendors.

and here's a bit about using transaction history to target ads:

[0149] (...) The system optimises advertising by including other purchase history, and helps build the demographics, or the spending habits of this person. The method of delivery of an ad may be a short textual message. Other data protocols can be used, such as voice ads.


In the following reference;

Crocker, P., & Walters, M. (2011). Enable location-aware event processing with WebSphere business events. IBM Business Process Management Journal, January 20, 2011 (Issue 3.1), Retrieved from http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/websphere/bpmjournal/1101_crocker/1101_crocker.html

Example 3 is very similar to the claim; Transaction history is used to identify previous purchases at a current retail location (supplied by the mobile device) and an offer is made via the mobile device.

The scenario is triggered by a person moving near a retail location--in this example, a coffee shop. The system identifies that the person has made previous purchase at this location and, therefore, has in the past been interested in what they have to sell, such as coffee. If records show that they haven’t made any purchases in the past month then they are issued an offer to encourage them to return to the store.

Figure 3. Location-based marketing scenario

Figure 3. Location-based marketing scenario


Patent for location-based advertising: http://www.google.com/patents/US20080133336

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