This is an Amazon patent for shipping a package to a general region, and while the package is in transit, assigning it for delivery to a specific address.

Kinda like you one-click, then get up to answer the doorbell, as a van with the product happened to be cruising the neighborhood.

Claim 1

  1. A method, comprising:

    performing, by one or more computing devices: determining a status of one or more shipped packages currently in transit to respective destination geographical areas, wherein said respective destination geographical areas include multiple delivery addresses to which said package is deliverable, wherein at least one of the one or more shipped packages comprises one or more items that have been shipped before an order has occurred for the one or more items in the at least one shipped package, and wherein the one or more shipped packages were shipped to a respective destination geographical area without completely specifying a delivery address at time of shipment, such that at the time of shipment, each shipped package is deliverable to said respective destination geographical area but is not deliverable to any delivery address; for a given one of said one or more shipped packages,

    analyzing one or more business variables related to said one or more items included in said given shipped package;dependent upon analyzing both said one or more business variables and said determined status,

    determining a disposition of said given shipped package.


Would the use case defined in the patent application be analogous to automated taxi dispatching. Where the patent refers to a 'shipped package' this is not to dissimilar to a taxi driver who is driving round without a passenger, in the sense they have already shipped their service/product/package to a region and don't have a delivery address (as there is no passenger).

I found these patents which are related to taxi dispatching:

  • 'Taxi dispatching to a region' (US8469153 B2) filed in 2010.
  • 'Taxi dispatching system and dispatching method' (US20060034201 A1) filed 2005

The Amazon patent does appear too broad. The special sauce would be determining which packages to preemptively send to a region not the actual process of delivery as defined in the application. Not sure if the taxi analogy holds up but it sounds like the same problem/solution just a different context.

https://www.google.com/patents/US8469153?dq=taxi+dispatching+location&hl=en&sa=X&ei=8DTjUqCuI8GdkwX1koDYBw&ved=0CGAQ6AEwBQ https://www.google.com/patents/US20060034201?pg=PA9&dq=taxi+dispatching+location&hl=en&sa=X&ei=LzfjUtLZIMihkAXqioHACA&ved=0CGcQ6AEwBg

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I'm sure there are many military applications of this. In warfare you send in loaded aircraft without knowing where the ordinance will be targeted, but knowing that there's a high chance of "demand" for that ordinance in the area. Then you set targets when they are identified.

A bit dark maybe, but it's the exact same thing in the abstract sense of anticipating demand in an area and saving time by moving materials before knowing exactly where they'll be needed.

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  • This would not likely come into an obviousness rejection since the fields of endeavor are so different. In Amazon's case sometimes they give to someone for free. In your example it is always for free. – George White Apr 8 '14 at 1:53

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