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Amazon Patents Pitching As-Seen-On-TV Products

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the it-slices-it-dices-it-edits-slashdot dept.

Patents 83

theodp writes "Q. What do you get when you surround the image of Men in Black star Will Smith trying on sunglasses with a pitch for 'MIB Bill Smith Dark Shades'? A. U.S. Patent No. 8,180,688. 'Many people consume broadcast media such as television shows and movies for many hours a week,' Amazon explained to the USPTO in its patent application for a Computer-Readable Medium, System, and Method for Item Recommendations Based on Media Consumption. 'The consumed broadcast media may depict a variety of items during the course of the transmission, such as clothing, books, movies, accessories, electronics, and/or any other type of item.' So, does Amazon's spin on As Seen on TV advertising deserve a patent?"

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83 comments

AC patents First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40051687)

I am jesus

Re:AC patents First Post (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 2 years ago | (#40051863)

*ahem* I and countless others - mostly ACs like yourself - already hold prior art to your patent. Invalidated. :D

Re:AC patents First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40051881)

*ahem* I and countless others - mostly ACs like yourself - already hold prior art to your patent. Invalidated. :D

first to file...

Re:AC patents First Post (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 2 years ago | (#40052059)

Irrelevant. The prior art is substantial enough to invalidate it. :D

Re:AC patents First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40052831)

Yes but unless you have at least 50,000 bucks just to start to defend yourself. You loose.

Sorry dude. Prior art. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40051889)

The whole Jesus story is really a retelling of Dionysus [truthbeknown.com].

Languages (2)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 2 years ago | (#40051723)

As patents can be varied just by the language used in it, we should apply for a "as seen on the internet" patent, Amazon don't have that one do they?!

Re:Languages (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40051985)

As patents can be varied just by the language used in it, we should apply for a "as seen on the internet" patent, Amazon don't have that one do they?!

But, since you can view the internet on your TV, would that not then be as seen on TV, too?

Re:Languages (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#40052251)

No, it arrives at the TV using a totally different technique, therefore it is an entirely new, unique process that demands a separate patent.

Hell, to properly patent it, you need a third one to cover mobile phones and tablets, because they use cell phone networks, which also makes it entirely unique.

Re:Languages (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40052443)

No, it arrives at the TV using a totally different technique, therefore it is an entirely new, unique process that demands a separate patent.

Hell, to properly patent it, you need a third one to cover mobile phones and tablets, because they use cell phone networks, which also makes it entirely unique.

Maybe not for cell phones and tablets, because the patent refers to broadcast media such as television. Cable is not broadcast, nor is dsl, etc. WIFI and cell phones and almost any rf based wireless technology could be claimed to be broadcast, though.

Re:Languages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40052657)

That depends entirely on the caliber of lawyer you can afford.

Re:Languages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40054041)

As the patent uses the term "broadcast media" not TV specifically, this term could be construed to mean Internet video, photos or even ebooks. I think that many patents are filed as vague as possible so as to encompass more possible mutations of the original idea.

Yup. (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#40051769)

So, does Amazon's spin on As Seen on TV advertising deserve a patent?"

Yes. If you read the patent, you'll see why.

Re:Yup. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40051931)

So, does Amazon's spin on As Seen on TV advertising deserve a patent?"

Yes. If you read the patent, you'll see why.

What are you high? We don't have time to read the patent, we've got better things to do - like complain in other stories about how the editors suck and the summaries are always wrong. So instead, we're just gonna base our opinion on our gut reaction to the summary.

Re:Yup. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40051961)

Read it and the answer is no. Recommending items based on other items or services consumed is nothing novel. U.S. Patent No. 8,180,688 is just a variant, yet another iteration of that process. Patents require novelty and nonobviousness; that patent provides neither.

Re:Yup. (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#40052893)

"Recommending items based on other items or services consumed is nothing novel"

Exactly this. It's called the upsell, and there's prior art for THOUSANDS of years.

Re:Yup. (1)

Caratted (806506) | about a year ago | (#40069405)

No it's not. When you're a company the size of Amazon, you have clout to introduce new methods of advertising. I can see why you would call it an upsell, but you're not really moving a purchase away from one product and up to another... just advertising the products as they are introduced in whatever content you are consuming.

I don't partake, but I am aware that Amazon serves up shows and movies over the net. The amount of paperwork they had to file and the number of agreements they've signed with Hollywood to make this happen (as with any content provider) is probably staggering. What's one more peice of paper in the agreement stating that, in addition to all the other advertising Hollywood funnels to Amazon, we're going to throw one more bit on top. When actor.1 goes across the screen and you see his sunglasses, think to yourself, "damn that's nice!" and blamo, an ad is on your page because you're not watching the movie in fullscreen (or maybe you are, as in my experience advertising only evolves to become more invasive), is that going to be effective and patent-worthy? I think yes - I would have patented this very idea years ago if I had the connections and resources and gumption (I'm a lazy bastard).

Re:Yup. (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#40080035)

Upselling can be anything from moving a customer towards a more expensive purchase, or simply suggesting add-on items (Need lube to go with that vibrator?)

From Wikipedia: "Upselling (sometimes "up-selling") is a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale."

It's still an upsell. It's not novel.

Re:Yup. (4, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40052013)

So, does Amazon's spin on As Seen on TV advertising deserve a patent?"

Yes. If you read the patent, you'll see why.

I read the patent and I don't see why. While the patent in question has nothing to do with "as seen on tv" as the summary suggests, it is all about electronically analyzing purchasing habits to make recommendations for other purchases. My local grocery store has been doing this for years. Ebay was doing it before Amazon even existed.

The patent is basically about harvesting consumer data to perform market research and there are gobs of prior art in existence. So, no, it does not deserve a patent.

Re:Yup. (3, Informative)

Tacvek (948259) | about 2 years ago | (#40052219)

The patent is explicitly about purchasing recommendations influenced by the broadcast media the user is currently consuming (i.e. recomendations based on the TV show/commercial/movie/infomercial you are watching *right at this minute*), and what other people purchased while consuming the same program, combined with data about items being shown in said program.

The description gives the example of a button on your cable box/sat receiver remote that you can push while watching TV, which will add a border next to the show allowing you to purchase what is being shown, and offering recommendations for other similar products.

Re:Yup. (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40052429)

You are correct, when I skimmed it, I missed the television. However, it does specify broadcast media "such as television", which is interesting as the courts have already determined that cable is not considered broadcast media. So, this would seem to be a patent directed at radio and tv broadcast received over the airways.

Re:Yup. (1)

Tacvek (948259) | about 2 years ago | (#40057173)

That would be true, except that in the claims themselves they do not use the term broadcast media, only in the disclosure. In the disclosure one may freely use the general meaning of terms even when they have a distinct legal meaning.

In the general meaning of the terms, cable is definitely broadcast media, since it is not unicast, anycast, or even multicast. Besides they specify in the vdisclosure that what they label a broadcast source "includes, for example, a satellite, an antenna, and/or a cable network such as, for instance, fiber optics, analog-to-digital conversion, and/or other types of cable networks."

Re:Yup. (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | about 2 years ago | (#40052605)

IMDB already has similar recommendation system: based on what movies you liked, what pages you visited on their domain etc. It just doesn't recommend a general product, but a movie. So I don't see the innovation in Amazon's case, also, generic datamining shouldn't be patentable.

Re:Yup. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#40054751)

Still sounds like very mundane data mining and the sort of associated user interfaces that any college intern could whip up. It sound more like a college homework assignment then something that the PTO should be granting a patent for.

Re:Yup. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40052891)

"Luckily" for Amazon - PTO completely disregards prior art and most of their other rules, when deciding on Patents.

I think that they are just going by TL;DR principle, for most patents. So if you want your patent granted, simply make it long enough and confusing enough.

Re:Yup. (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 years ago | (#40053005)

I read the patent and I don't see why. While the patent in question has nothing to do with "as seen on tv" as the summary suggests, it is all about electronically analyzing purchasing habits to make recommendations for other purchases. My local grocery store has been doing this for years.

Your local grocery store tracks what television programs you watch that involve food and makes recommendations for produce based on what people watching the same programs have also watched and bought? That's a little creepy.

Re:Yup. (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40053569)

I read the patent and I don't see why. While the patent in question has nothing to do with "as seen on tv" as the summary suggests, it is all about electronically analyzing purchasing habits to make recommendations for other purchases. My local grocery store has been doing this for years.

Your local grocery store tracks what television programs you watch that involve food and makes recommendations for produce based on what people watching the same programs have also watched and bought? That's a little creepy.

No, but my local grocery store tracks what I purchase and makes recommendations on that. I'm pretty sure those recommendations are based on purchases that other people have made who also purchased what I bought. I know that many on-line retailers do the same. The only novel thing is the television part. Even that isn't truly novel. I'm pretty sure P&G or Ford or Chevy are very aware of what people watch on tv and target their commercials accordingly. They just don't do it with a little button on a box.

Re:Yup. (2)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 years ago | (#40053709)

Your local grocery store tracks what television programs you watch that involve food and makes recommendations for produce based on what people watching the same programs have also watched and bought? That's a little creepy.

No, but my local grocery store tracks what I purchase and makes recommendations on that. I'm pretty sure those recommendations are based on purchases that other people have made who also purchased what I bought. I know that many on-line retailers do the same. The only novel thing is the television part. Even that isn't truly novel. I'm pretty sure P&G or Ford or Chevy are very aware of what people watch on tv and target their commercials accordingly. They just don't do it with a little button on a box.

Except that neither of those have anything to do with the patent. This is about offering products visible in a scene to viewers, based on purchases of products by other viewers of the same scene. Viewers of commercials are a different thing altogether... Ford isn't advertising to you while you watch a Chevy commercial, and if they were, Chevy would be pissed.

And similarly, your local grocery tracking what you purchase and making recommendations on it, even based on what others purchase, is the same thing Amazon and other retailers have been doing for years: the "people who bought this product also bought _____" field that shows up in every Amazon product. But again, that's shown to you based on you going to look at an ad for a product. When your grocery does it, they're doing it on a receipt, or in a mailer, but it's still part of an ad.

This patent, however, is about products that are displayed in a scene along with dozens of other products. Will Smith is wearing sunglasses, a tie, a shirt, a watch, a suit, shoes, etc. He's driving a certain type of car. He's drinking a Coke. He's talking into a Samsung phone and taking notes with a Montblanc pen. There's a bunch of product placements there, but how do you simultaneously advertise them for purchase, and more importantly, which ones? And to whom? And wouldn't it be useful to have an automated system that allows you to offer for sale, to a viewer, just the products in any scene that other viewers have bought? That's what this patent is about.

Re:Yup. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#40054843)

> Except that neither of those have anything to do with the patent. This is about offering products visible in a scene to viewers

Nonsense. It's exactly the same thing. All they have done is juiced up the data a little bit so that it's more detailed.

I think the poster was saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40053033)

... rather that the patent system deserves Amazon.

Re:Yup. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40054697)

Ebay was doing it before Amazon even existed.

Uh, fact check: there's nothing that Ebay did before Amazon existed... Amazon's older than Ebay.

Re:Yup. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40055319)

Hell every mom and pop PC shop has been doing that offline forever, and if you want an online example tigerdirect has been doing the same thing for at least a decade. Its just a variation of the classic upselling of the customer and that technique is as old as dirt. Nothing novel about seeing someone bought A and then trying to sell them things that compliment A, its just common salesmanship.

patent law changed last year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056619)

Prior art doesn't matter now. It is a first to file system. Another person does have the ability to prove they invented the idea within 1 year prior to the patent's filing date. So someone must show they invented amazons invention within the last year, and actually spend the money proving it.

Americans like to be pushed around. Americans think Europeans are superior and should be copied. Fair patent system was replaced with European system.

There are no problems in Europe right now, right? Counties are not bankrupt? Idiot Europeans rioting and all the other nonsense in their cities? Let's do that here !

I don't own patents so it doesn't matter much to me.

Re:Yup. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40052887)

Neither novel nor non-obvious. No.

Re:Yup. (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#40054491)

Just as Carlin said "Not every ejaculation deserves a name", not every brainfart deserves patent protection. Yet that's what we're increasingly doing as a society.

And they're not even brainfarts sometimes, just old techniques/methods applied to new mediums to continue doing business as usual. That should never be patentable.

IMO, the first thing a patent process should ask is: "Does this idea help overcome some real-world obstacle in order to accomplish something humans haven't been technically able to do before?"

What timing... (1)

irving47 (73147) | about 2 years ago | (#40051803)

I was just sitting here filling out my application for a patent on the method and procedure for naming or labeling any electronic medium such as a television or radio broadcasting outlet, electronic or online medium after a geographical feature, name, or region.

Debatable (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#40051839)

There has long been a push by the media companies to find a way to tie in product placement advertising from shows to real product sales options. I believe there have even been a few attempts when internet-enabled TVs first came out to pop up "click here for more info" notices during the product placements, similar to what was shown on various science fiction movies in the '80s (e.g. Total Recall.)

I suppose if they have a specific technology for delivering a side-band information payload, they might have grounds for a patent.

But the general concept is far from original.

Re:Debatable (5, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#40051875)

Hmm. It seems I misunderstood what the patent is trying to do.

Rather than embed popups and stuff in the video stream, they're trying to associate what you've watched with products that were placed in those particular shows.

I have to admit I've never seen anyone try to do that before. Largely, I think, because most advertisers and retailers realize consumers would hit the roof to have their viewing habits tracked and correlated in such a fashion.

Talk about an invasion of privacy! This makes tracking cookies almost palatable in comparison.

Re:Debatable (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40052031)

What do you mean you have never seen anybody do that before. The actual patent isn't just about TV. Haven't you ever googled something and then the next thing you know you are seeing ads for products related to what you goodled? that is basically what Amazon is trying to patent.

Re:Debatable (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 years ago | (#40053091)

What do you mean you have never seen anybody do that before. The actual patent isn't just about TV. Haven't you ever googled something and then the next thing you know you are seeing ads for products related to what you goodled? that is basically what Amazon is trying to patent.

From the patent claims:

... the media program comprising at least one of a plurality of television shows, a plurality of television commercials, a plurality of television infomercials, a plurality of movies, and a plurality of videos on demand;

Yeah, you're right... It's totally trying to cover search engine results.

Re:Debatable (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#40054851)

You see "search engines" and "television commercials" and we see the necessary table structures and SQL queries.

Re:Debatable (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 years ago | (#40055171)

You see "search engines" and "television commercials" and we see the necessary table structures and SQL queries.

You see "necessary table structures and SQL queries" and I see the explicit language in the patent claims, which is the only part with any legal weight. They're not patenting SQL queries, and they couldn't. They're only patenting what's in the claims, and so, no, search engines aren't covered.

Re:Debatable (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 2 years ago | (#40057229)

One is something that the providers of the information know that the recipients of the information sought out, the other is as well.

"He searches for Brazillian fart fetish porn to watch" and "he watches Brazilian fart fetish porn" carry much the same payload, data-mining-wise.

Re:Debatable (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 years ago | (#40057461)

One is something that the providers of the information know that the recipients of the information sought out, the other is as well. "He searches for Brazillian fart fetish porn to watch" and "he watches Brazilian fart fetish porn" carry much the same payload, data-mining-wise.

Yes, but one is covered by the claims while the other is explicitly not covered.

Re:Debatable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057911)

but isn't that the obvious next step given the search adverts? not only that, is it different than watching home improvement shows on tv and seeing adverts for hammers? oh ya it must be because now i know the exact hammer that was in al borland's hand. again - how is this a non obvious INVENTION?

Re:Debatable (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#40052227)

Nobody gives a shit about their privacy anymore. Most people do not even know what it is.

Re:Debatable (1)

Wandering Voice (2267950) | about 2 years ago | (#40052467)

Bullshit. There are plenty of people who know what privacy is and still respect it. You may not hear about them often, because, well, they're employing their privacy.

Anonymous Coward??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40053759)

More like anonymous heroes, standing for the liberty and freedom of our entire society. /s

Re:Debatable (2)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 years ago | (#40052911)

Rather than embed popups and stuff in the video stream, they're trying to associate what you've watched with products that were placed in those particular shows.

Actually, I think Amazon is on to something. This is a potential solution to piracy of movies and TV shows.

Right now, content providers sell their content to viewers, and also sell interspersed advertisements within the content (commercials). The viewers don't like the ads, so they come up with popup blockers and commercial skippers to remove them. Likewise, the viewers don't like paying for the content, so they pirate it. The content providers have been fighting back with DRM and draconian copyright protection laws. And we get the huge mess we are in right now.

A possible solution is to give away the content for free, without 30 second commercials or popups. Instead, advertisers pay for product placement within the show itself. Because the ads are now placed within the show, it's difficult (not worth it) to remove the ads. A system needs to be developed where content producers will then be paid by the advertisers based on the number of people who view the show (whether estimated or counted somehow). Content provider gives away show for free, viewers watch, advertisers pay content providers. Everyone is happy.

I have to admit I've never seen anyone try to do that before. Largely, I think, because most advertisers and retailers realize consumers would hit the roof to have their viewing habits tracked and correlated in such a fashion.

I think you're approaching the problem too much from a privacy-centric point of view. The interest in the advertiser here is not just in correlating the product placement ads to what shows people have watched. It's also in making sure those ads are relevant to the viewing demographic. A product placement ad for feminine hygiene products in a robot fight movie is not going to be extremely effective. There needs to be some method developed which will allow advertisers and content producers to measure the efficacy of those product placement ads. That's where this patent comes into play.

Basically, we're going to be bombarded by ads anyway. Do you want to retain all your privacy and get completely random ads? Or do you want to give up some of your privacy and get much more relevant ads? I haven't owned a TV for 3 years. What I've realized when I do get to watch is that I am totally behind the times when it comes to new products that have come out over the last 3 years. That is, the ads are not merely beneficial for the advertiser; they also provide some marginal benefit to me. Enough so that I'd be willing to give up a little bit of my privacy to be kept informed of relevant new products which interest me. e.g. I gave my email address to VMWare so that I could be kept informed of their new products. I exchanged a little bit of my privacy for more timely product updates.

Re:Debatable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40053231)

"Hi, I'm Jeff Bezos of Amazon
And I think these new cummerbunds
would look just incredibly cute
along with that frilly outfit you have
at the back of the bottom drawer
behind your overalls. Let me show you
how you'd look wearing these ....."

Re:Debatable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40053673)

This could be almost as funny as the recommendations Amazon already make on their website. The assumptions they make about who is being what, for whom and why are sometimes laughable. I used Amazon to buy Christmas gifts for my family, so none of the items were for me, and got recommended a ski mask, a chainsaw and a book of gruesome horror stories. It's true, my father is a keen gardener and I'd bought him a hedge trimmer, my brother was had a ski holiday so I'd got him some ski gloves and my nephew likes horror stories. So the recommendations sort of made sense but I'm amazed the police weren't at the door.

Seriously though, TV viewing habits depend on who's watching and I have myself, my wife and two teenage sons watching TV. Who will they base their recommendations on?

If it's not obvious (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40051847)

Why was I discussing this as the probable direction of advertising in the future seven years ago?

Re:If it's not obvious (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#40051945)

Why was I discussing this as the probable direction of advertising in the future seven years ago?

Well, where's your patent, pal? You blew that one! You could have been a BAZILLIONAIRE but instead you're just sitting there in your bathrobe on a Saturday morning typing comments no one is interested in into Slashdot...

Er, yes... Now I'm off to innovate!

Re:If it's not obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40051995)

I don't need no stinking bathrobe! Mom never comes down here.

Re:If it's not obvious (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40052441)

Why was I discussing this as the probable direction of advertising in the future seven years ago?

Well, where's your patent, pal? You blew that one! You could have been a BAZILLIONAIRE but instead you're just sitting there in your bathrobe on a Saturday morning typing comments no one is interested in into Slashdot...

Er, yes... Now I'm off to innovate!

Because seven years ago when I and my coworkers were discussing it we thought it was obvious. You don't patent what you think is obvious. You patent what you think you can persuade the patent office is an invention. I was not as aware then of the absurdity of the things getting patents then as I am now.

Re:If it's not obvious (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 years ago | (#40053031)

Because seven years ago when I and my coworkers were discussing it we thought it was obvious. You don't patent what you think is obvious. You patent what you think you can persuade the patent office is an invention.

You and your coworkers thought it was obvious... after you came up with it. It's all obvious in hindsight. The question is, was it obvious to someone who hadn't yet heard your idea... and considering it was apparently 5 more years before Amazon filed the patent application, the answer would be no.

Re:If it's not obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40055563)

It's all obvious in hindsight.

It's also obvious up front.

and considering it was apparently 5 more years before Amazon filed the patent application,

You people are unbelievable. That's evidence of nothing, no matter how much you wish it was.

There are a many reasons why a patent might not have been applied for and the fact that you disengenuously yet again pretend there is not shows you are dishonest.

So patents are to support stupid greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40053063)

So, basically what this means is that a thing should not be patented until somebody thinks of something and has the arrogance and stupidity to think that it wasn't obvious... and the greed and wealth to go out and get it.

Okay. That's what our society needs, which is why we pay for it. More stupidity, greed, and arrogance.

And apparently, despite TARP and the bailout, and the Mother of All Depressions (following the Mother of All Wars #4.5) we aren't paying enough for it.

*sigh*

I'm getting really sick of American capitalism.

Worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40051871)

This a patent for AdWare combined with data-mining. But I'm sorry Amazon, Google and YouTube are already prior art.

patents are supposed to move us forward (1)

kawabago (551139) | about 2 years ago | (#40051957)

This just analyses data and presents more data. Oooooh, who could have thought of that?

Re:patents are supposed to move us forward (1)

WillHirsch (2511496) | about 2 years ago | (#40052275)

What else do computers do?

Re:patents are supposed to move us forward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40053789)

You're right. We should have a rule that you can't patent processes performed by computers.

Re:patents are supposed to move us forward (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#40052615)

Still, if it means that nobody else can do the same thing from now on then in the end the patent has served the public good.

Does that mean (3, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40051981)

Does that mean that Amazon is paying royalties to every the manufacturer of every item in one of their "As seen on TV?" For instance, just because the sunglasses may be the product in questions, what about the shoes the model is wearing? Surely, Amazon is not trying to patent other people's copyrights or to use them in their own get rich scheme without paying the royalties, are they?

Re:Does that mean (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40052487)

That's not how it works. TFA has a bogus headline. The patent describes a system for recording what you're watching on TV, specifically the channel, time and program and comparing it to records of what people with similar viewing habits actually bought via a web service such as Amazon, then feeding you ads for those kinds of products. You've already seen the copyrighted content. Now you get to see targeted ads that the advertisers are paying to have you see.

Re:Does that mean (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 years ago | (#40053055)

Surely, Amazon is not trying to patent other people's copyrights

Even though you've heard the words "patent" and "copyright" in the context of intellectual property, they're not the same thing.

Re:Does that mean (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40053539)

Surely, Amazon is not trying to patent other people's copyrights

Even though you've heard the words "patent" and "copyright" in the context of intellectual property, they're not the same thing.

Of course they are not, but if I am broadcasting a TV show, the content of that show, audio, video, specific images, etc.is my IP. If I chose to show Rachel and Ross drinking coffee that is an artistic decision. I could have had them drink milk. Regardless, the entire contents of that show is my IP and can't be used without my permission. Just ask MLB or the NFL. If Amazon is then trying to use my IP to evaluate the viewer's purchasing habits, they still need my permission, do they not? The patent is about how they would go about doing it, but that doesn't mean they are allowed to do it.

Re:Does that mean (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 years ago | (#40053651)

Of course they are not, but if I am broadcasting a TV show, the content of that show, audio, video, specific images, etc.is my IP. If I chose to show Rachel and Ross drinking coffee that is an artistic decision. I could have had them drink milk. Regardless, the entire contents of that show is my IP and can't be used without my permission. Just ask MLB or the NFL. If Amazon is then trying to use my IP to evaluate the viewer's purchasing habits, they still need my permission, do they not?

Nope. Your copyright over the show gives you the right to copy it (hence the name), as well as distribute it, create derivative works, publicly perform it, import it, etc. It doesn't give you an exclusive right you can use to prevent people from, say, discussing the show at the water cooler the next day. Or a right you can use to prevent people from, say, analyzing how many times Ross takes a sip and comparing that to the number of times Rachel takes a sip, and writing a scholarly treatise on gender and sip rate. Or a right you can use to prevent Amazon from noticing that you chose Charbucks Coffee, and contracting with Charbucks to offer coupons when that scene is broadcast.

Copyright is a right to make copies of a creative work fixed in a tangible article... not a right to exclusive control over the use of information.

Re:Does that mean (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about 2 years ago | (#40054779)

Uhm, no... The user pays to watch a program, or they are watching a you tube video. They do that today. Amazon doesn't need to pay anyone anything because I choose to watch something.
Amazon has a product similar to one seen in the movie. Amazon offers it to you for sale. They do that today. Amazon doesn't need to pay anyone to offer that item for you (it maybe that the model in the Ad was paid at sometime, but that is going to happen anyways)

Obvious prior art (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#40052621)

Billy Mays here for BS Patents, Inc! Want to have a bunch of guaranteed revenue forever without doing anything useful? Then call now for a kit on how to create a nonsense patent! We'll include all the information you need to ignore silly rules like "prior art" by adding "with a computer" to the end of an existing patent, and how to pick something that everybody already uses so you'll have lots of people to sue! This kit can be yours for only $39.95 if you call now! But wait - order 2 and they'll go for $59.90, a $20 savings!

Re:Obvious prior art (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 years ago | (#40053075)

Billy Mays here for BS Patents, Inc! Want to have a bunch of guaranteed revenue forever without doing anything useful? Then call now for a kit on how to create a nonsense patent! We'll include all the information you need to ignore silly rules like "prior art" by adding "with a computer" to the end of an existing patent, and how to pick something that everybody already uses so you'll have lots of people to sue! This kit can be yours for only $39.95 if you call now! But wait - order 2 and they'll go for $59.90, a $20 savings!

Typically for Slashdot, the patent has nothing to do with what the summary says. It's a good lesson in "don't believe everything you hear, go to the primary source." Had you learned that lesson previously, you'd find that there are no patents that add "with a computer" to the end of an existing patent.

does that make Amazon the Grout Bully (tm)? (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 2 years ago | (#40053109)

slice your retail business so thin the in-laws will Never Come Back (tm)!

Claims claims claims claims claims (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 2 years ago | (#40053571)

You're supposed to read the claims. It's the most important part of the patent, and the least-read by the Slashdotter.

In this case, paraphrasing, the patent is all about providing purchasing recommendations to someone who is watching a video based on items that are purchased by other people while they are watching that same video. It could be used for home shopping networks on TV, of course.

Hasn't the fashion industry done this forever? (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about 2 years ago | (#40054039)

This is just taking a picture of someone, and then listing out all the products the model is wearing and how much to buy them.

The only new "twist" on the old concept is that they arbitrarily involved films in the process rather than models

I think I'm gonna patent... (1)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#40059391)

The electromagnetic force. Since it governs all light and the behavior of barionic matter, I win, crown me!!!

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