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Amazon Granted Location Tracking Patent

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the think-of-the-incredible-deals dept.

Patents 68

bizwriter writes "A new patent for Amazon just put the company squarely in the location tracking controversy. It covers a system to not only track, through mobile devices, where individuals or aggregated users have been, but to determine where they're likely to go next to better target ads, coupons, or other messages that could appear on a mobile phone or on displays that individuals are likely to see in their travels. The system could also use someone's identity to further tailor the marketing according to demographic information."

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68 comments

This is good news! (5, Funny)

Zandamesh (1689334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369596)

Just don't buy from amazon and you won't be tracked!

Re:This is good news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369598)

Easier done than said*.

*no, that wasn't a typo.

Re:This is good news! (0)

Meneth (872868) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369884)

Word!

Re:This is good news! (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370326)

Because nobody else is tracking you.

Yet another stupid patent (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369600)

As this has been done before - see "scavenger hunts": http://www.cellphonesinlearning.com/2010/01/scvngr-cell-phone-scavenger-hunt.html

Re:Yet another stupid patent (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38371182)

It's one thing when people read the out-of-context summary of a patent and then start bitching about that without reading the actual claims. However, you are even worse, in that the SUMMARY explained that the patent involved predicting where a person will go next. Are you telling me that these scavenger hunts involved predicting where the participants were going to go next? I fail to see that mentioned in your link, nor can I imagine how it would come into play.

If I don't go anywhere (3, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369628)

Then they got nothin'

The way the budget is shaping up this Christmas, that's all they gonna get.

Of course, statistics gathered from Geocaching might prove prior art, no?

Re:If I don't go anywhere (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369798)

Then they got nothin'

For you, they just need to patent the method of recording where your order all your delivery food so they can then target you with coupons for local competitors.

Assuming you don't already have a huge stock of pizza and Chinese coupons stuck to the fridge. ;)

Re:If I don't go anywhere (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370700)

Then they got nothin'

For you, they just need to patent the method of recording where your order all your delivery food so they can then target you with coupons for local competitors.

Assuming you don't already have a huge stock of pizza and Chinese coupons stuck to the fridge. ;)

Buy my pizzas at Trader Joe's and I do my own Chinese/Thai cooking from scratch (and had a panic run on the market when I heard about the flooding in Thailand, where some of the spices I use come from!)

As for tracking, I have a Lackey travelbug, which will likely crash your browser, if you view where it has been on Google Maps.

We know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369660)

We know what you do, whe know who you are, we know who you know, we know where you live, we know where you work, we know where you eat, whe know what you buy, we know what you like, we know where you'll be, we know what you eat, we know what you wear.

But don;t worry about it all will be fine. It's for your own good.

The word to submit this article was obedient

Re:We know (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369926)

If you don't want your location being tracked, turn off location tracking in your browser or in your OS's location options. Simples.

Re:We know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38373476)

Already done.

It's not me I am worried about.
There are millions of cell phone users, facebook users, google user that are not tech savvy. And being taken advantage of.

As terrible as it sounds... (0, Flamebait)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369694)

...better Amazon than Apple.
Which is pretty much like saying a punch in the face is better than a knife in one, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

Re:As terrible as it sounds... (4, Insightful)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369768)

What makes you think Amazon will not be suing others for ridiculous and non-innovative technology such as buying items with 1 click? Oh wait, they already did AFAIK :)

Still, I feel Apple is more of a patent troll and more of a control freak, so I kinda still agree that they are worse, but that doesn't mean its good, and comparing to Apple would be pointless.

Re:As terrible as it sounds... (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369812)

I kinda hope they do in this case, and turn the whole user-tracking area into a patent minefield that companies are afraid to touch.

Re:As terrible as it sounds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370836)

Er no.
Both of them offer services/products you can choose to buy or avoid and both are upfront about where they and you, as the customer, stand.
If there's anyone you should be afraid of it's Google.
I've blocked all the double-click domains I can find but any other advice on how to banish them except when I want to use them, and then whilst providing as little information as possible, would be most welcome.

Good for them (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369732)

They have to make money off me visiting their site somehow. I only use them for gaging prices before buying something from somebody else.

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370170)

I really don't care how you use Amazon but your sig caught my attention. A more interesting fact is that the national rate is about 15% and the rate in Texas is about 17%. Whether you think that is good or bad or want to point out specific social reasons for said difference at least be more useful with your stats. A specific number doesn't mean anything without context.

Also I'm not sure where you found individual state income information on census.gov so I'm not sure your source is right but the info is out there on various federal and state government sites so I'll let that slide ;)

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38371024)

To follow my own advice these numbers were from 2009 and are hence a bit old...the current numbers as best I can tell is ~15% nationally and ~18% in Texas.

Re:Good for them (1, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370190)

I take it the dictionary was too expensive?

Re:Good for them (2, Informative)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38371104)

Another shit all stupid fucktard spewing forth shit from ignorance instead of commenting on the topic. When your ignorant of both it is best to shut the fuck up.

Gage Gage (g[=a]j), n. [F. gage, LL. gadium, wadium; of German
      origin; cf. Goth. wadi, OHG. wetti, weti, akin to E. wed. See
      Wed, and cf. Wage, n.]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 (gcide)
Gage Gage, v. t.
      To measure.
      [1913 Webster]
                  You shall not gage me
                  By what we do to-night. --Shak.
      [1913 Webster]

Gage Gage, n.
      A measure or standard. See Gauge, n.
      [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 (gcide)
Gauge Gauge (g[=a]j), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Gauged; p. pr. &
      vb. n. Gauging] [OF. gaugier, F. jauger, cf. OF. gauge
      gauge, measuring rod, F. jauge; of uncertain origin; perh.
      fr. an assumed L. qualificare to determine the qualities of a
      thing (see Qualify); but cf. also F. jalon a measuring
      stake in surveying, and E. gallon.] [Written also gage.]
      [1913 Webster]
      1. To measure or determine with a gauge.
            [1913 Webster]

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38371480)

* you're

Re:Good for them (2, Funny)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38371660)

*you're

Re:Good for them (0)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38374422)

Muphry's law strikes again! (I'm not sure if this actually counts, but I'm calling it close enough.)

Re:Good for them (0)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38375374)

Another shit all stupid fucktard spewing forth shit from ignorance instead of commenting on the topic. When your ignorant of both it is best to shut the fuck up.

Having a bad day? Oh and it's "you're" not "your"... gotta watch that when you're [see?] ranting about dictionary definitions, the ignorance of others, calling people names and telling them to shut the fuck up.

Looking forward to... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369806)

...blocking your carefully targeted ads.

Already doing it? (5, Interesting)

alphred (1920232) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369808)

The last update of the Amazon Android app had a new security requirement that it be able to read your GPS and gather fine location data. That was the end of that app on my device. I don't mind that they track what I look at on their web site or thru their app, but to track where I am to be able to sell that information to others just pisses me off.

On the other hand, perhaps I should load the app, but only turn it on when I'm in Barnes and Noble looking at Nooks.

Re:Already doing it? (4, Interesting)

Wahakalaka (1323747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370540)

What pisses me off is that these companies think they have some kind of entitlement to profit off of me and my data. If anyone should be able to monetize and sell my own information, it's me. If they offered to pay me for it, then and only then will I consent to anything.

Re:Already doing it? (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370862)

What pisses me off is that these companies think they have some kind of entitlement to profit off of me and my data. If anyone should be able to monetize and sell my own information, it's me. If they offered to pay me for it, then and only then will I consent to anything.

Well, if it's Amazon, they did "pay you" for your information. And you did consent to it.

You chose to shop there for some reason - be it the cheaper prices (the "payment" is the discount), or the convenience of just having it right there rather than drive all over the city. That can effectively be seen as you voluntarily giving up your data for the priviledge of purchasing product from their store.

You're free to shop elsewhere. Your local whitebox computer store can sell you parts for cash only transactions - no need to give newegg your information. Barnes and Noble run a set of brick and mortar stores that accept anonymous cash, as do many independent bookstores (who can also order in any book you're looking for).

Sure you'll probably pay more in the end, but you can consider that the price of your data.

Re:Already doing it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38375886)

And you did consent to it.

Right, because the vast majority of people make informed decisions. I can't help but think of this scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory [youtube.com] .

A lot of consumer legislation and regulations exist to protect the average shopper from unscrupulous vendors. Perhaps as a society we need to review how far vendors can go with geolocation and other personal data.

As a first step, I'd be willing to accept that companies with a turnover exceeding $100 million per annum have a "how we use your data" link on the home page, along with plain English examples and pretty pictures. These could easily be standardised; something like the Creative Commons abbreviations / logo's ... but much more replete.

Our Geeky Self-Irony (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38373802)

Information wants to be free... except my information!
File sharing with the consent of copyright holder isn't really stealing, but a benefit to them... but getting my information after I agree to the terms of service is stealing and provides no benefit that I like!

What walking contradictions we've become. The fact is we want machines that learn our preferences, language, desires and attitudes, and are excited by things like Siri and recommendation engines. But when push comes to shove on anyone actually using the necessary metrics to accomplish any of that, we flip out about it.

"They didn't pay me for this," is the RIAA/MPAA claim. "I didn't consent," means the person didn't read their terms of service. And we say "sell my information" as if we had that information in the first place, when in fact, we voluntarily helped generate the information via collaboration with the 3rd party.

I'm not saying it should be field day, but it's /. hypocrisy to decry the RIAA/MPAA for defending what they clearly own, but declare jihad against anyone reversing the equation on us. And the most ironic part is that our positions are less about principals than they are about self-interest... the same things motivation the companies.

Re:Our Geeky Self-Irony (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380062)

File sharing with the consent of copyright holder isn't really stealing, but a benefit to them... but getting my information after I agree to the terms of service is stealing and provides no benefit that I like!

What makes you think he thinks it's stealing? What makes you think he thinks that copyright infringement isn't stealing?

means the person didn't read their terms of service.

I doubt anyone has the time to read ridiculously long walls of text filled with legalese every single time they want to buy a product (which might not even allow them to read it until after they've bought it) or use a service.

I'm not saying it should be field day, but it's /. hypocrisy to decry the RIAA/MPAA for defending what they clearly own

Not everyone on Slashdot believes the same things. I don't think copyright infringement is stealing, and I don't think that getting someone's information is stealing, either.

Re:Already doing it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38371080)

If you have an android device, root it and install LBE Security. It will let you deny applications access to location information.

They want to gather store prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38373242)

The new app wants you to enter or scan the price of items you are looking for in brick and mortar stores.

The way this is sold to you is that it allows you to compare with the amazon prices to find the best deal.

The way Amazon makes use of it is crowdsourcing discovery of B&M competition pricing. Scanned labels contain exact UPC code and price, fine GPS info provides store location and thus name.

Expect stores to begin enforcing their "no photos" policy more aggressively.

Re:Already doing it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38374800)

Lucky for you. On Google branded phones, Amazon's app is locked onto the device and cannot be removed.

Apple better get their lawyers ready! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38369888)

Uh oh, sounds like Apple better get ready for a lawsuit!

If you missed it, one of the (only) new features of iOS 5 is that it allows you to stalk^W "find" your friends by tracking the GPS on your phone. Plus iAd has tracked your current location for advertising purposes ever since it was introduced.

Apple may be on the receiving side of another lawsuit pretty soon! Of course, it sounds like Amazon's patent covers something legitimately new by predicting where people are going. All Apple does is spy on you (and your friends) for advertising purposes. (See: built-in, unremoveable Carrier IQ in iOS.)

Re:Apple better get their lawyers ready! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370172)

Where to start? The 'Find your Friends' is entirely opt in, with a warning that they would be able to see your location and vice versa. Your friends also have to agree to be tracked. iAd uses crowd sourced location data, nothing personally identifiable, pretty much like Google, and every other company that generates ad revenue.

"To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device... For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services."

As to your Carrier IQ statement, it no longer exists in any usable format in iOS, and even when it did function in earlier versions of iOS, you had to OPT-IN to have it collect any data, and the data was again, not personally identifiable.

If you're going to troll, you should at least pick something with a little teeth in it.

One more hand (1)

vencs (1937504) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369894)

Ladies and Gentleman, we have a new player at the patent poker table!
Lets' begin the deals..

So it's like Minority Report.. (2)

DC2088 (2343764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369916)

... but for when you're going to buy your next coffee. Or maybe it's more like Machine Of Death...

Good news (3, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369920)

If Amazon have a patent on it then no one else will be able to do it (ahem) and so our privacy will be better preserved

I wish ...

This is not going to stop (4, Insightful)

Zaldarr (2469168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369944)

I'm an undergrad student getting a degree in Business, and I'm probably pointing out the obvious when I say that this will not stop because there is far too much money to be made out of it. The thing is about the micromarkets (i.e. selling directly to a consumer) is that it takes out all the guesswork involved in trying to appeal to a mass or niche market. No (expensive) market research needs to be done - other than having an algorithm sort through a bunch of information about yourself (provided most likely by Google or Facebook, whatever's your poison) and matching it with related products, and BAM. You're being advertised to right there, at (or near) the store, advertising to you about something that is probably relevant to you. The power of this is not to be underestimated, old media methods were like carpetbombing, just get the message out to everyone, and hope it hits; new media is now a surgical strike at your wallet via the phone in your pocket. Unless there is political control, public outrage or (heaven forbid) good corporate ethics, this is here to stay.

Re:This is not going to stop (2)

Cragen (697038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370006)

Amazing that '1984' would turn out to be due to marketing pressure, not the "evil Big Brother government" as was always assumed.

Re:This is not going to stop (2)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370560)

Can't it be both?

Re:This is not going to stop (2)

Forbman (794277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38371776)

...but will it come to be like how it was presented in "Minority Report", if you were looking carefully enough? Imagine advertisers also getting some lulz from law enforcement by aiding and abetting their tracking efforts as well...

Imagine, though, the episode on "COPS: 2012" where some criminal mastermind gets a text from "Macy's" that there is a flash sale on Brut 33 products (put there by the cops who are interested in him for...oh...driving through a school zone at 3am at 40 mph...), but only if he can get there in the next half hour, and... he falls for it.

Re:This is not going to stop (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370050)

new media is now a surgical strike at your wallet via the phone in your pocket.

Except if you don't have a smart phone, you can't be tracked or have ads shoved in your face. If you don't have Kindle/Nook/iPad/whatever, you also can't be tracked. Thus, you are one of many unknown, untargetable people, not consumers, who refuse to be told what they "need" to have.

On a related note, those QRC codes you see plastered everywhere? The ones which were supposed to revolutionize the way businesses communicate to people? Recent studies show that only a small fraction of people use them, with most people, even the supposedly tech savvy ones, saying either it is too difficult to get the codes to work with their camera, they require a dedicated piece of software to use or don't care to stop and click to see what is being offered.

So yeah, I understand where you're coming from, but there is a large segment of the population who, for one reason or another, are either refusing to be tracked or don't care what advertisement is being shoved at them and just ignore it.

Re:This is not going to stop (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370508)

Last time I tried to use the QR coded display at the store, it presented me with exactly the same information as the display, from the store's own website. That just Spells "I don't get it" IMHO. You're not helping anyone with that crap.

If I was a store manager, and someone clicked the QR code on the display, I'd offer them something, a discount, a addon, some promotional value if they presented that information at the time of purchase, within the next 30 minutes. Something along the line of "if you buy this product, you'll get $5 off" (or whatever).

In other words, give us a reason for using them.

Re:This is not going to stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370064)

omg the internetz is tracking grandma - story at 11!

Re:This is not going to stop (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370216)

Unfortunately, there won't be public outrage for quite some time. The majority of consumers don't even know they're being tracked let alone understand the fine print. We geeks like to talk about how unjust it is for social media, retailers, and cell phone carriers to track our activity in order to increase their bottom line. However, someone like my mother simply does not have time nor the know-how to even begin investigating how deep the rabbit hole goes. My mom shops a ton on Amazon and probably won't stop any time soon simply because it's so convenient. I'm sure if she even knew that they were mining her data, she wouldn't care because their storefronts provide her with what she needs.

Re:This is not going to stop (2)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370290)

Calm down sir, there's no need to panic.

People will continue to ignore adverts. When I walking to the pub to buy a pint of beer, I'm not going to decide to buy a cider instead because my phone told me to. Flashing it up on the door as I walk in will turn me off rather than tune me in.

And the way things are going, fewer people will be spending money in the future too. It's all wasted effort.

Re:This is not going to stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370388)

Well, that's the other thing: people don't really care, and when you think about it, why should they?

I mean, if I go into an independent small business locally owned etc. etc. bookstore, and the owner/cashier says "Hey, I see you've got Lord Of The Rings in your bag there, and last time you were here I remember you had just picked up Dune. You should check out George R. R. Martin; he's really good!" nobody starts freaking out. People like that sort of thing. Nobody yells "How fucking dare you look at my possessions to advertize an author to me! I didn't even buy this other book at your store! I demand you immediately remove everything about me from your brain's long-term memory!" No, that would be paranoid schizophrenia; they'd cart you off in a straightjacket.

But then Amazon starts doing basically the software equivalent and all of a sudden it's "zomfg, soulless megacorp is tracking my reading habits to deliver targeted advertising!"

Of course it will stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38371076)

Of course it will stop.

People have a limited amount of money. They cannot spend all their money and even more, just because some moron wants to sell them some junk they don't really need.

Re:This is not going to stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38371246)

Honestly I think the end game with targeting advertising will be good for end users.

Right now people are trained to ignore ads because they're rarely relevant. So advertisers focus on ways to get noticed. However if ads were relevant than people would not have the incentive to ignore them and advertisers would focus on making the ad interesting and informative (focusing on conversion to sales rather than impressions).

Re:This is not going to stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38371352)

...or T.M.I. that people don't know what to decide, and therefore, they decide nothing. Working with marketing in part of my job I know that, through email, social/media, people are being over saturated with messages to buy, buy, buy.

Driving Along (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38370104)

It's early Sunday morning, very few cars in sight, you're driving along with your girlfriend and realize you forgot your cellphone at home. "Don't worry she says, I brought mine, we don't have to go back. So we keep driving and as we pass each electronic billboard on the highway I see various ads. Now I'm really nervous. She's looks coyly away.

Sex hormone therapy on sale now! Be a man in a man's world!
10-pack of stap-ons on sale now! Turn right at the next exit.
Win a trip to the transvestite convention in Las Vegas simply by dialing 1-888-HOT-MAMA!

Patenting a business process (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370138)

I think it is truly a novel idea - you went to two department stores, and now it's around 11:30 AM. You're probably going to eat lunch out. Time to advertise food places. Location over time is not the same as location-based. And as long as business process patents are allowed, this seems to qualify.

Re:Patenting a business process (1)

alphred (1920232) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370344)

Our data shows that Joe just stopped at his dealer's house. Before that he bought some boots at the Army Surplus store, a six pack of Red Bull and a 5 gallon gas can at the mini-mart. He also stopped at the gun shop, but we don't know what he bought. He appears to be headed to Central High School. Hmmm, what can we sell him there?

Re:Patenting a business process (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370382)

Didn't they do that in "Minority Report?"

Maybe a good thing (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38370446)

if they start a patent war over tracking us, then maybe there will be fewer people doing it.

Where I'm likely to go (1, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38371440)

Track me and I'll be in the crowd outside Amazon HQ with the pitchforks and torches.

At least Bezos will see it coming.

So many ads. And new ways to deliver them. (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38371520)

I'm developing a deep hatred of ads. I'm turning into an old intolerant grandpa.

I call prior art! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38371864)

I was drunk in London once, and this guy really made an effort making sure I'd visit his pub next, and you know what, he was right!

Google doesn't have to guess (2)

sgunhouse (1050564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38372208)

They already know where you're going since you asked for directions to it! Therefore they can show ads for where you're going to be without infringing Amazon's patent.

who would want ads? (1)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38372398)

who would want to be tracked for the purpose of giving you ads? i dont want ads popping up on my phone. i want my phone to be a PHONE.

How does it further the technical arts? (3, Insightful)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38372702)

Patents are supposed to teach us something we didn't know but this patent is just shuffling data around. Once phones are location aware, it isn't an invention to look up what businesses are at that location and then what related businesses are in the direction of travel. This is an obvious application of the location aware phone invention.

Re:How does it further the technical arts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377292)

Fully agree. This patent covers a subject so late 90ies it should embarrass the patent examiner for not recognizing the triviality. In the late 90ies all sorts of ideas popped up that talked of some sort of personal devices (PDA) guiding its owner/user to local places, or advertising for local businesses. Besides, the patent is written to sound technical and sophisticated by phrases like "Mobile device users may be tracked either via mobile-signal triangulation or via Global Positioning Satellite information" or "the program instructions are further executable to: predict a plurality of likely destinations". None of this is new. Position determination and hence tracking via mobile-signal triangulation is a simple application of signal triangulation, both mathematically and technically well known e.g. from aviation. Predicting a path from previous position and known velocity is application of signal processing techniques, e.g. some sort of the Kalman filter, which is also well known and a tried technique in many industrial and civil applications, e.g. GPS receivers.

So all in all this patent will not stand if tried in court.

Not everything is about you (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38373154)

Unless - as in this case - you are a brick and mortar store targeted for Amazonian destruction. In this (refreshing?) case, the user scanning in price comparisons is merely a vector, akin to rats carrying bubonic plague.

Merry Christmas!

the elephant in the room (1)

node636 (2526762) | more than 2 years ago | (#38373398)

I'm going to point out the pink elephant in the corner - software patents. I'm ignoring the distinction between various patents used to protect software, as this argument holds to all patents that are applied to software. Patents were meant to protect an invention. What is invented? A machine (machine, in the broadest sense) that produces a new composition of matter and/or the new composition itself. Both of which have value of greater or longitudinal quality when compared with similar compositions and are subject to patent protection on the grounds they are non-obvious and inventive. I think software patents like the above are not inventive. In the virtual world data is the commodity and software operates on data. In the same way inventions often operate on physical mediums like matter or organizations of people. To invent something in the virtual world (in code) is not the same as in physical medium. On that note, Beauregard claims should have never been allowed. Patents like the above do not describe anything new or non-obvious; they translate, aggregate, or display data. At no point do they produce new valuable data, and thus do not qualify for patent protection. While they do produce something of value in the physical world. If we accept the argument that to invent in the physical or virtual world means fundamentally different things, then how can a patent of the virtual be justified by the physical. In addition, they are non-obvious because they do not produce new data, they dress up the data gathered. If someone were to change what a machine looked like, but not how the machine worked or what it accomplished, it wouldn't be patentable. Unfortunately, analogous software patents are granted frequently .The patent system can't figure out how to define software patents and in their wake poor patents and predatory practices have abounded.

I can't wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378306)

If you want me to change my mind, just suggest where I might like to go next.

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