iPhone 5’s and iOS 6’s Passbook App | Overview of Passbook Patent | Apple’s iWallet | Mobile Payment Patent Trends
When Apple announced iOS 6 and iPhone 5 in 2012, among all the features revealed, the Passbook app is one of the most relevant features for potential marketing. In simpler terms, it’s a digital wallet meant to compete directly with Google Wallet, which is Google’s smart, virtual wallet for in-store and online shopping.
For example, it may be possible for merchants to code Passbook offers and deliver them via email, Web or within their brand apps. Subsequently, such Passbook items (coupons, discounts, etc.) can be associated with up to 10 locations via latitude and longitude coordinates, which can provide Passbook with the ability to offer reminders on a user’s home screen, similar to push notifications, that an item in his or her Passbook is available for redemption (e.g., coupon) when the user’s location is in the vicinity of those designated coordinates.
For marketers, specifically consumer firms and deals companies, the Passbook app may boost the adoption and importance of real-time, geo-contextual mobile marketing. Additionally, with the increase in length of the iPhone 5 screen, which is 176 pixels taller than the iPhone’s previous versions, marketers have now got an extra real estate for mobile display ads and landing pages, as it will reduce mis-clicks and increase interaction with an ad.
Apple’s Passbook patent (US 20120323664) discloses systems, methods, and non-transitory computer-readable storage media for managing and redeeming electronic coupons on a mobile device. As per the disclosure, the invention may also cause a mobile device to generate an alert when it is at or in the vicinity of a location such as a retail store where an electronic coupon held by the mobile device may be redeemed. An alert may also be caused when the mobile device is used in a sales transaction at the location. The electronic coupons may be redeemed in a number of ways including scanning an image displayed on the mobile device, communicating with a wireless network, or through an integrated near field payment system offered by the location.
As may be seen therein, Apple’s patent FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a paper coupon being entered into the user’s coupon wallet, FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary coupon wallet graphical interface, while FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary coupon reminder on a mobile device, and FIG. 7 illustrates an exemplary coupon stored in the user’s coupon wallet.
Earlier also, on 08/07/2012, Apple was granted a patent (United States Patent 8239276) for an iWallet related technology, which termed the application as “Shopping”. As per the contents of the patent, various shopping related transactions may be performed on an iPhone or any similar device. Some embodiments may be employed to identify a product and obtain pricing information relevant to retailers of the product within a specified geographical location. In another embodiment, an iPhone may be used to acquire pricing information for a shopping list of products.
This patent related to Apple’s “Shopping” app discloses that it may be advantageous to provide a system and method that allows consumers to quickly and easily obtain highly relevant shopping data, while also allowing retailers and manufacturers to send targeted advertising or other relevant product data to interested consumers. More specifically, it may be advantageous to provide a system and method of using an iPhone to distribute and receive shopping-related information.
As per the disclosure, various embodiments may also include a variety of features that make the shopping experience quick and efficient while allowing the consumer to hunt for a better bargain. Furthermore, several embodiments also allow the product manufacturers and/or retailers to distribute relevant product information to targeted consumers who are known to be, or who may be, interested in buying a particular product.
Mobile Apps and Patent Strategy
In light of the above examples of Apple’s patents and other similar patents filed by Apple and its competitors, it can be rightly said that patents are always a good strategic element for a mobile and web-based business, and the patent applications should always be planned and structured to best control the patents in the technology portfolio. Accordingly, devising a patent application strategy is always beneficial for startups and small businesses.
Generally, invention monetization strategies include licensing or sale of the technology, wherein the inventor conceptualizes the idea and may develop a prototype, and further protects the idea by way of one or more patents covering the various elements of the invention. Thereafter, the inventor can license or sell the patents to a company, which commercializes the invention.