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Amazon Patents Gift Card Parental Controls

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the with-strings-atached dept.

Books 73

theodp writes "On Tuesday, Amazon received a patent on 'Customizing Gift Instrument Experiences for Recipients', which allows a gift card giver to not only recommend items via the gift card but also to restrict the types of things the card can be used to buy — and to get a report back on what the recipient purchases. From the patent: 'The rules could also specify that the available media be constrained by a rating, such as a parental rating (e.g. G, PG, PG-13, R, etc.) or media that excludes explicit lyrics or language. In other examples, the gift instrument purchaser directs that the gift instrument can only be redeemed for books (e.g., not video games), books of a selected genre (e.g., romance, action, historical, etc.), books having a selected author, etc.'"

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73 comments

a patent? (2)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848484)

oh god, not again... to be fair, at least this one requires more than one click

Re:a patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37849026)

I just hope they hurry up and patent exchanging real or virtual goods for real or virtual currency.

Re:a patent? (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#37852680)

yes, you are right!

Of course nobody wants to mention that this isn't an "actual invention", just some stupid configuration that does not require either inovation or research.

Oh, look I patented letting the logged on user choose the longevity of their cookies! YAY!

Prior art on accounts? (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848512)

Wouldn't this be the same as setting parental controls on iTunes, XBox live or PSN? You can control what content your kids can buy, simply having it on a gift card is the next OBVIOUS step.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37849008)

Well if it were OBVIOUS then why was it not done before?

Seriously this is rather new, I'm not aware of anything quite like it. Imagine taking a class at a UNI, and the enrollment fees include a giftcard for the required text book. Making the giftcard specific to a given book would be great for this.

But funding your child's Kindle purchases would seem to be the focus of this.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37849570)

Imagine taking a class at a UNI, and the enrollment fees include a giftcard for the required text book.

Imagine taking a class at a UNI and having the cost of the book NOT be part of the cost of the class, so that someone who already has the book won't have to pay for something they already have, and someone who can buy it cheaper used can save a bundle of money doing that.

Imagine a UNI system that wasn't so money oriented that it didn't force people to buy books they didn't want by charging them upfront in the fees to take the class.

Ahh Wendy, I'm such a dreamer.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37849754)

What I really see this as useful for is a re-loadable card that acts as your kids allowance. As they get older you can reduce the restrictions to the content you think is appropriate and you could reload the card by simply logging into your Online Banking account and transferring some money to it.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37850158)

Imagine a UNI system that wasn't so money oriented that it didn't force people to buy books they didn't want by charging them upfront in the fees to take the class.

Im at Uni right now, and while the costs of text books really are heinous (as are the per-semester customizations that make resale value 0), you dont really HAVE to buy all of the books-- you can rent, or do without in many cases, or sit next to someone else who did get it.

Regardless, the cost of the book is part of the cost of taking the class. While it is a huge irritation to me what path they are going down, Im not really sure this qualifies as a major issue faced by students today.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37851114)

Im at Uni right now, and while the costs of text books really are heinous (as are the per-semester customizations that make resale value 0), you dont really HAVE to buy all of the books-- you can rent, or do without in many cases, or sit next to someone else who did get it.

That's right. RIGHT NOW you don't have to buy any of the textbooks. Nobody asks you to show the textbook before you get the grade. If they do, you can still borrow someone else's.

Did you miss the part of what I replied to that talked about making the cost of the book a part of the course FEES and you get a gift card that will let you buy nothing but a copy of the book?

Regardless, the cost of the book is part of the cost of taking the class.

No, right now, it isn't. As you just said, "you can rent, or do without in many cases, or sit next to someone else who did get it". The fees for the class do NOT include a book.

... Im not really sure this qualifies as a major issue faced by students today.

I didn't say it did. I simply made my opinion on forcing people to pay for a book as part of the fees for a class crystal clear. However, I think that the number of students who complain about the price of a book today will be greatly outnumbered by the students who complain about being forced to pay for the same book as part of the course fees every time they take a class that requires it.

Imagine taking Physics 101 and 102. Imagine having the physics text be part of the course fees -- for both courses. Imagine the ingenuity of the administration of the UNI when they make the book you buy through the course fees be the electronic copy, which you cannot resell and cannot use after the DRM times out at the end of the term.

This may not be a major issue for some. I think it will be for many.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37853314)

No, right now, it isn't. As you just said, "you can rent, or do without in many cases, or sit next to someone else who did get it". The fees for the class do NOT include a book.

Not what I said. To clarify so that you cannot misinterpret, getting to class, pencils, notebooks, bookbags, textbooks, etc are all part of the cost of attending class. If you find that you need one of them and cannot afford one, that is unfortunate, but it is, again, a part of the cost of going to a college class. Its not some separate thing, and Im not sure why youre trying to treat it as such.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37859780)

Not what I said. To clarify so that you cannot misinterpret, getting to class, pencils, notebooks, bookbags, textbooks, etc are all part of the cost of attending class.

And to clarify for you, none of those are part of the enrollment or class fees. You don't have to give the university any money for any of those just to enroll in the class.

Its not some separate thing, and Im not sure why youre trying to treat it as such.

Because it is. You seem unable to differentiate between the costs of attending a class, which is what you are required to pay to the Uni so you can attend, and those voluntary costs that you spend other places to make your learning experience easier. You don't NEED a bookbag to attend a class, you choose to buy one if you want it to make your life easier. You don't NEED to buy pencils just so you can attend a class. (You can borrow them from your roommate, have your parents send you a dozen every week, or simply never use a pencil.)

Buying the book for a class is currently in the voluntary category, not covered by class enrollment fees. That puts the costs of books in a different category than class fees.

Now, the suggestion I REPLIED TO, which you keep ignoring, was the application of this restricted gift card system to enrollment fees. That means the Uni would charge you a MANDATORY fee for the book and hand you a gift card that could only be used to buy that book. If you already have the book, too bad. If you didn't want to buy the book, too bad. You pay the Uni for the privilege of attending class, and if you don't pay for the book, too, you don't get enrolled.

You don't seem to think that is a bad idea since apparently you think the cost of the book is a mandatory cost of attending class already. God, I hope you aren't an accounting major, if you can't identify different kinds of costs and how to apply them to real life situations.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37862922)

Imagine taking a class at a UNI and having the cost of the book NOT be part of the cost of the class, so that someone who already has the book won't have to pay for something they already have,

Is what I thought we were running off of. Im just failing to see how baking the cost of the book into the class helps Joe who already has the Bio 101 book, and now has to pay that hidden cost in the enrollment fee. You know "Technology fees"? I imagine there would be a tacked on $100 "book fee". Joe is now out $100.

Why not just leave it as it is, so that folks like me can choose to pay $25 for the rental for those courses I dont care about, or look over the shoulder of a buddy on those that are super easy for me and require no study?

I will grant that your suggestion has one potential (but uncertain) benefit-- It is possible the schools would be able to wield more clout in putting a stop to the shady tactics of the publishers (such as per-printing customizations that kill resalability). It is also possible that they would be able to standardize on books for periods of time, meaning that it would only effectively be a rental fee.

But I really doubt that the would be able to make it efficient enough (regarding admin costs) to match the price of sites like abebooks or chegg or collegebookrenter.

Incidentally, no, I am a part time student, IT major.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37864228)

This is the most hilarious argument ever, because you both obviously agree with each other, but because you both keep misunderstanding and misinterpreting each other and are both absolutely set on making the other idiot understand your enlightened position, you just keep going round and round and not realising you're each effectively arguing with the mirror...

Re:Prior art on accounts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37849626)

There are a few stores around here that already do this... Mothercare, Early Learning Centre etc..

Re:Prior art on accounts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37849976)

Well if it were OBVIOUS then why was it not done before?

It wasn't done before because it takes time and resources to implement, not because it's not obvious. This is the kind of thing that should be copyrightable, which it is automatically, but not patentable. I.e. someone else can't just copy the code for free and add it to their own gift card system, but they should be able to write their own code to implement the same idea.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37850178)

It wasn't done before because it takes time and resources to implement, not because it's not obvious. This is the kind of thing that should be copyrightable, which it is automatically, but not patentable.

Well to the extent that business methods [wikipedia.org] are patent-able, (and apparently they are almost everywhere and have been in US since inception), I think you are wrong about this. (Yes I did see your "should" in there).

Its not a matter of time and money. Any first year programmer can add this to the Gift Card Tracking Database, once its been dreamed up, designed, rendered to specifications, etc.

Its coming up with the IDEA, building a method, making it easy for the purchaser to impose restrictions, and enforcing those restrictions at point of sale when the card is used.

Its complex, and non-trivial. Further its NOT been attempted before (allegedly), so its novel and not obvious.

I understand your argument is about what SHOULD be, but that is a matter of opinion, not law. From where I sit (IANAL) this seems to meet the conditions for patent-ability.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37851132)

Hehe. You're saying that ideas have value.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37852506)

Well if it were OBVIOUS then why was it not done before?

In a sane world, the standard for obviousness would involve the question, "Are either the teachings of the patent or a casual inspection of the device itself likely to be necessary to understand how to duplicate the device?"

If a patent is granted when the answer to this question is "no," then the patent system is not serving its original purpose as a means to disseminate useful information that would otherwise be locked up in trade secrets. The bargain is entirely on the patentholder's side -- he gets to stop the rest of the country from doing something obvious, just because he was the first to encounter a given problem and apply the most trivial immediate solution.

This policy would rule out stupid patents like this one, One-Click(tm), and virtually all other software and business method patents.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#37852700)

Well if it were OBVIOUS then why was it not done before?

Well, why indeed. GP is right it is an obvious thing to do, why it hasn't been done probably goes back to human stupidity. The problem isn't why nobody else has done it, the problem is that the patent office granted a patent to a software configuration that is obvious and non innovative.

Re:Prior art on accounts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37864298)

Well if it were OBVIOUS then why was it not done before?

Running across the road is OBVIOUSLY faster than stopping to check for traffic first. Some things aren't done not because they're not obvious, but because on further reflection they're stupid.

If I received one of these... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37848538)

I'd send it right back. Or buy something and immediately sell it on E-bay for cash.

Obvious (2)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848560)

Really, isn't this just an obvious extension? What is patentable about age related permissions or permissions in general. I don't see anything all that novel in this. Ridiculous.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37849114)

It's an implementation whereby the person who buys the card restricts what that card can be used for independantly of what the person who ends up redeming it has their personal account set to allow.

So for example Grandma can buy a gift card that is only redeemable for books (exclusing comics or graphic novels), while Uncle Awesome buys one that can only be redeemable for video games or porn. They both give their respective cards to little Billy who now can buy books with Grandma's gifts and video games with Uncle Awesome's gift but can't buy music with either of them.

Re:Obvious (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37851732)

But all that is, is assigning properties to the card object. And performing operations based on properties an object has is something that is quite common. So I still say this is nothing novel. Why is it patentable?

Typical Modern Patent (2)

edibobb (113989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848582)

A simple, trivial, and most likely non-unique idea that has nothing to do with an invention -- perfect for a patent.

Back in the 1980's... (2)

ScottyLad (44798) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848604)

This reminds me of Christmas and birthdays as a child, eagerly opening the cards from generous relatives in the hope of finding money, and often discovering only Book Tokens [nationalbooktokens.com] inside.

If you were really lucky and you caught the part time staff on a Saturday, sometimes they let you buy an LP or an audio cassette, even through they were only meant to exchange the tokens for actual books

Interesting... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848614)

I'm a bit surprised that Amazon made it past prior art. Although not applied to gifts(because those are, y'know, supposed to please the recipient) similar prepaid-purchase-widget-with-restrictions capabilities show up in some POS systems for paternalistic applications. This one [nutrikids.com], for instance, is designed to automate K-12 cafeteria systems, and allows parents to impose restrictions on the use of stored funds. And, of course, various welfare schemes have been using payment-instrument-with-limitations-on-use scrip of various flavors for pretty much as long as they have existed.

Amazon's idea seems novel only in that it is applied to people you ostensibly like, rather than children or paupers...

Re:Interesting... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848672)

Amazon's idea seems novel only in that it is applied to people you ostensibly like, rather than children or paupers...

As long as I can restrict the card to only allow purchases of AO oriented material from Amazon then I'm agreement with it.

Re:Interesting... (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848966)

I'm a bit surprised that Amazon made it past prior art.

I'm not. Our entire patent system needs to DIAF.

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37851128)

I'm not surprised at all. The USPTO is nothing but a freaking joke. Hey kids, drop out of school and you can still get a job either flipping burgers or examining patents.
 
On a serious note, Federals if you can't handle the power you gave yourself responsibly, then give it back.

Re:Interesting... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37851422)

While I'd agree that the patent system is pretty fucked, as one of the relatively few members of the 'powers explicitly made available to the feds in the constitution' club it is on fairly firm ground in general principle...

In a related story... (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848626)

Amazon patents sitting, breathing, passing gas and scratching the left testicle. Baseball organizations across the nation vow to appeal the patents.

Re:In a related story... (1)

Pence128 (1389345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37850360)

Until the patent can be overturned, baseball organizations are complying by sitting, breathing, passing gas and scratching the right testicle, which is completely different.

Good idea... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848698)

Pity its patented so there's no reason for anyone to try to improve on it.

Not too keen on the 'parental guidance' but the feedback is a great idea. Maybe next year they can give me something better.

Re:Good idea... (1)

autocannon (2494106) | more than 2 years ago | (#37849198)

But this is not parental guidance. This gives any gift giver huge control that they shouldn't have.

Give a kid a gift card that can only be used for a cd that's rated E and suddenly you start to have a higher rate of gift cards going unused. I mean, what 12 year old still wants to buy a Freshbeat Band cd?? Take it in a different direction, marriage gifts can involve lots of gift cards. Do givers go to the lengths to restrict, I mean gently direct, a person to certain types of items?

IMO this is a "save the children" reason to help increase gift card depreciation from non-use.

Re:Good idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37883142)

Givers currently gently direct purchases by buying gift certificates for particular stores, such as buying one for a bookstore so the kid has to buy books with it, if that wasn't the intention they could just give cash. This patent idea just take it one step further, and yes there is nothing wrong with the giver having this control, they can even have more control without this by actually buying a specific gift and giving it directly.

'IF THEN ELSE' Patented ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848726)

--- again.

CC.

Re:'IF THEN ELSE' Patented ... (1)

nightfell (2480334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848882)

Um... IF-THEN-ELSE is another way of saying "causality". Every patent relies on causality (because everything in the universe, except perhaps a few edge cases like quantum physics and certain aspects of singularities) relies on causality.

Re:'IF THEN ELSE' Patented ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37855722)

everything in the universe, except perhaps a few edge cases like quantum physics and certain aspects of singularities) relies on causality

Sure? I am not.

Hint: Causality in complex systems

CC.

What, like food stamps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37848758)

Lameness food goes here!

a new era (1)

roscocoltran (1014187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848764)

Patenting the fact that you can restrict what will be bought with a gift card ? And we lived until now without it ? Really, Graham Bell and Thomas Edison have found their master here.

Patents gone mad! (2)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848776)

I'm going to patent scratching my arse, breathing, drinking liquid and showering. Then you'll all have to pay up! Is my comment childish? Of course, just like the real patent system. How the fuck does this shit fly in the real world? How do It's plain to see in the last few decades we've gone from a vibrant growing society to a society in decline. We deserve it. Collectively we've become retarded. Supposedly intelligent learned people are supporting this stupidity as a way to protect innovation and reward innovators. They completely ignore the reality that this does not work AT ALL in the modern world.

XXX ? (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848788)

I'm sure this will be marketed as wholesome as apple pie "think of the children" holier than thou for christmas, but can it be repurposed for Valentines day to only allow the purchase of triple X videos or triple X toys? This could be kind of fun.

Re:XXX ? (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#37849206)

No, the American Christian Mothers' League would organize a boycott.

Re:XXX ? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#37849604)

Fuck the American Christian Mothers' League. Then make a video of it and sell it on Amazon for people to buy with their new XXX gift cards.

Children? Think of your parents. (1)

paarow (2467932) | more than 2 years ago | (#37856062)

So can I buy amazon gift cards to go with a kindle as gift and restrict it's use to anything other than books by Fox news hosts (current or former)?

First they sue the Federal Government (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848840)

for ignoring their patent when they started the various versions of food stamps a number of decades ago. Imagine the royalties due for all those years of ignoring Amazon's patent.

Legislate gift cards out of existence (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37848948)

Print your own home made cards and give cash. That way you're not giving the gift of an expiring piece of plastic or paper which may or may not be honoured depending on how the company that issued it is traded. Gift cards are for suckers...err I mean unsecured creditors.

Here in Australia when a couple of the big retail book chains got into trouble they just decided to not honour gift cards or honour only if you bought matching value, and they severely curtailed the time for which the cards were valid. I didn't get bitten but that was because I always knew such BS was possible. Any time I get a gift card I try to spend it immediately.

Gift cards are a scam and should be made illegal.

Re:Legislate gift cards out of existence (1)

The O Rly Factor (1977536) | more than 2 years ago | (#37849092)

Here in the US some states have some of the only sane consumer protection legislation in existence solely in order to protect against nefarious gift card issuers. Most states require issued gift cards to be honored as if it were cash for all transactions regardless, and I think New Jersey or Pennsylvania or one of those states made it illegal to charge a service fee within the first two years since issuance.

Re:Legislate gift cards out of existence (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37849424)

Here in the California, US, gift cards cost zero to to maintain and never expire. They cost zero to buy unless you buy from a third party.

With that said, gift cards are silly because it ties you to a specific store and you end up spending more than the amount on the card. Plus, it's another card to carry around, keep track of, and lose.

Re:Legislate gift cards out of existence (2)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37849632)

With that said, gift cards are silly because it ties you to a specific store and you end up spending more than the amount on the card. Plus, it's another card to carry around, keep track of, and lose.

Which explains why they're advertised so heavily by the people who issue them.

Re:Legislate gift cards out of existence (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37852166)

With that said, gift cards are silly because it ties you to a specific store and you end up spending more than the amount on the card. Plus, it's another card to carry around, keep track of, and lose.

Which explains why they're advertised so heavily by the people who issue them.

The only practical advantage of giving a gift card seems to be that it is more socially acceptable. But frankly if someone I give cash and a printed card/note is offended that's their problem - I simply won't give them any more gifts.

Re:Legislate gift cards out of existence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37849508)

Scam them back. Charge the gift card to your credit card for points, and use the gift card for stuff you'll buy that day.

Re:Legislate gift cards out of existence (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37850196)

I'm trying to remember, but the limitation your mentioning - didn't they apply to Borders while they were under receivership?

I think it was a way of allowing gift card holders to realise at least partial value rather than deny all of them.

Re:Legislate gift cards out of existence (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37852160)

I'm trying to remember, but the limitation your mentioning - didn't they apply to Borders while they were under receivership?

I think it was a way of allowing gift card holders to realise at least partial value rather than deny all of them.

Both Angus & Robertson and Dymocks did this. I would be unsurprised if Borders followed. Meanwhile if people had given hand written notes plus cash they receiver of the gift would never have lost out.

Definately would get abused... (1)

Michael the Great (1322235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37849278)

Step 1: Buy one that reports back with what was bought for polititian you hate. Step 2: Hope he buys porn (but not a rental or your screwed). Step 3: ??????????????? Step 4: Profit!!! Better than voting!

In breaking news... (1)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37849426)

Today was award a patent by the US Patent Office for applying for patents. will now begin to require royalties from people who would like to patent things.

I think I've heard something like this before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37849492)

Its parental controls, BUT ON A GIFTCARD

Technical Arts (2)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37849582)

How does this advance the technical arts? Patents are supposed to advance the technical arts but I don't see how technology is improved by this patent.

Obvious and happening "forever"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37849600)

This has been happening for as long as parents have taken their kids to stores to approve purchases with money that grandma gave the gives.

Mildly concerning privacy problems (1)

Zen (8377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37850860)

I've recently discovered that okay deals can be found on the gift card secondary market. Where you sell the gift cards Aunt Rosie bought you that you won't ever use, and turn around and buy one (at an 8% or so discount to face value) for a place that you do shop.

So if I got one of these gift cards, sold it on plastic jungle or one of the other places, and an unsuspecting person bought it, would the person who gave it to me end up getting a report stating what that third party bought? Isn't that an invasion of that third parties entitlement to privacy?

Although this scenario is a bit of a stretch, I bet swapping gift cards and using them to pay off debts to friends is pretty common for college kids.

There's no way this should be legal. Your own children have no real right to privacy in the home that you provide them with, but everyone else does have a right to privacy. Privacy aside, that third party person should in no way be restricted to how they spend the money unless there's some big flashing light on the gift card that says it can only be used to buy books.

Another failure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37851106)

More importantly, what's to stop someone from using the thing to buy something for someone else, who actually wants or needs what that card is restricted to? Nothing, that's what. That person can then use his/her real cash (unrestricted) to buy the person with the gift card whatever he/she REALLY wants. Autofail. Human children are resourceful animals, and will find ways to circumvent virtually anything put in their way with proper and sufficient motivation. This will only serve (?) to keep the honest ones honest. As for the less than honest ones, forget it!

They can have this one... (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37851384)

It's really not novel (restricted stored value cards have been around for a long time, just not deceptively called "gift cards"), but IMO they can have this one. Restricting gift cards which remain under the control of the giver to one company is a good thing.

Good idea: yes; novel: no (1)

gone_bush (578354) | more than 2 years ago | (#37851446)

This is getting ridiculous! The most trivial things are being granted a patent. What next? A patent cures pangs of hunger? We'd know as eating but I'm sure a few legal weasel words would hide that.

Get a credit card instead (1)

Gift Card Girlfriend (2494444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37852058)

I'm a fan of gift cards, but not sure this is a "GIFT" - seems more like a credit card with restrictions. 1 - There are already credit cards that restrict buying power. For example, a company can set up employee gas card to only allow gas purchases. For parental control, I can see wanting to ensure my college kid uses a grocery gift card to only purchase groceries. But using a restricted gift card demonstrates a serious lack of trust in the process. Still, maybe it is needed for some. I'll give on that one. 2 - But I don't like that the giver receives a report on purchases made. This is supposed to be a GIFT. Once the merchandise is transferred, it's up to the recipient to do whatever it is he or she wants. Macy's doesn't send a report to my mother-in-law when I return the sweater she bought me. I don't have to send pictures to my aunt showing that I wore the jewelry she sent. I don't at all like the idea that the gift card recipient will be tracked. I love gift cards, but I don't want the person giving me one to know when I redeemed it, what I bought for it, or if I sent it in to a gift card exchange company to get the cash. It's a GIFT.

Gack. (1)

Spugglefink (1041680) | more than 2 years ago | (#37852260)

I don't really have any particular opinion on the whole issue surrounding the viability or legitimacy of the patent itself, but I do find the underlying concept pretty revolting. Now Aunt Maple can give Little Jeffie a gift card that only lets him buy Christian music? I know way too many controlling older people who don't understand technology very well who would jump a mile high at a chance like that.

One of them is a preacher whose 22-year-old daughter is a single mother after a lifetime of being restricted to the Christian This and the Christian That. Serves him right.

I really hate it when people try to control other people in this fashion. When I had kids, I briefly explored the idea of setting up some kind of net nanny thing to "protect the children." I mean good grief man, when I was a kid, we had Playboy, and, gasp, Hustler, but today's kids have an impressive freak show at their disposal, with everything from autopsy videos to donkey porn to pictures of decapitations! The children need to be protected from that kind of horror!

Don't they?

No, as it turns out, my kids have zero desire to watch women eat feces or see a man with a pumpkin up his ass, and even though that stuff is out there, I have absolutely nothing to fear in terms of my children turning out to be perverted freaks who think stuff like that is normal. I'm pretty much glad I never got around to setting up the net nanny crap, and that I don't bother to spy on my children's electronic lives, even though it would be pretty easy for me to do.

People who use this gift card control technology suck. Piss on them, I say, whether the patent is valid or not. If you want to control the kind of gift someone buys, then buy a fucking gift and choose it yourself. So they can sell it for pennies on the dollar on eBay and use the money to buy whatever the hell they want, of course.

Exchanging Cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37852650)

So how does this work when the card is subsquently given to another party? My wife and I trade cards during the holiday season in order to each to purchase a little more at a store. I'm not sure Amazon thought this one through all the way...

Here's your gift back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37857580)

I'd refuse or return such a "gift". If you want me to buy a G-rated romance novel published after 2006 with a green cover, JUST BUY THE FUCKING THING AND GIVE IT TO ME.

With a gift receipt.

Sounds like a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37858496)

This idea sounds like it would have a lot of users. On top of that, gift cards have been around forever and no one has done this. If it's obvious or trivial, why has no one else done it? That's the real measure of whether someone is obvious.

The fact that this patent is generating vitriol means that it is a really good idea. If it weren't, we wouldn't care about it.

Amazon developed something valuable that no one else did before even though there was ample opportunity. Amazon should be rewarded.

This has been done a million times before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37859336)

and this patent, like all software patents, is patently bull****

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