I came across an article stating that the co-founder of Molo rewards has sued Google for allegedly infringing US Patent No. 7,298,271(Link to the patent). On looking into the patent, it is clear that, the patent holder uses a RFID tag for reward points. Is it possible to get a patent for a scheme that uses existing technologies to satisfy one purpose ? If yes, under what category(like design) should I apply such a patent ?

Claim 1 of that patent:

A method of providing awards comprising:

(a) placing one or more electronic data storage elements containing directions to an award processing center at one or more locations;

(b) providing participants in an awards program with electronic data storage element readers;

(c) reading said directions to said award processing center from said electronic data storage element with said electronic data storage element reader;

(d) utilizing said directions to access said award processing center;

(e) identifying said participant; and

(f) providing an award to said participant.

1 Answer 1


Most inventions use a collection of known elements put together in a unique way to achieve some functional result. Patents can be awarded for new uses of old things.

When one applies for a patent there is no need to state a "category".

  • I have an idea that is widely used in gaming industry, which I thought of incorporating into music industry. Can I patent application this ? Mar 20, 2014 at 8:40
  • It depends on the details. There is a concept that a reference is not prior art if it in a "non-analogus" field and doesn't address the same problem. But there is no answer with out a lot of details and a search.
    – George White
    Mar 20, 2014 at 16:55

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