back to article Inventor sues Google Wallet over NFC loyalty patent

Loyalty scheme pioneer Peter Sprogis is taking Google to court, claiming that the search engine's NFC Wallet infringes his 2007 patent on adding loyalty to pay-by-bonk apps. Sprogis is based in Florida, but the case will be heard in patent-holder-friendly Delaware and was spotted by Startups and IP Strategy. The patent in …


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  1. Mage Silver badge

    Ah Ha!

    Where is the "invention", novelty and lack of obviousness in this?

    It's just a software implementation of an accounting method?

    It's too general too.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Loyalty Points

    They patented Loyalty Points?

    How was this approved?

    It doesn't matter if you have a loyalty card that is swiped or bonked, this patent should have been thrown out.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anything Barcode can do/does should not be patentable

    If you go to a Tesco store and scan your clubcard you get loyalty points stored on a remote server.

    If you use an older style loyalty card with a mag stripe, you get loyalty points stored on a remote server.

    NFC is not some magical invention that runs a complex algorith when it is 'bonked'. NFC (in a loyalty card scenario) just presents a unique ID (customer number) that is synonymous with a mag0stripe or barcode.

    The innovation with NFC is the actual reading writing technology and hardware not the fact that you can use it for exactly its intended and very obvious purpose.

    'Not a patent troll' you are having a laugh. It is also worrying that an IT journalist can exclaim that this person wouldn't be a troll just because he has set up a company based around this patent.

    Look at the checklist:

    Obvious broad patent with no real innovation...Tick

    Suing a major industry player to try to get a quick settlement or scare others into licensing...Tick

    Using the Delawre court house to sue...Tick

    3 out of 3 - patent troll...Tick

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alias google='cp -r --copy-contents --no-preserve=all'

  6. Keep Refrigerated

    How the fcsk... this non-obvious?!

    "The server recognizes the person by means of a unique identification code for that person, such as the person's cellular telephone number. The server then grants an award, such as a merchandise coupon or redeemable points, to the person."

    Orange Cinema, anyone? Bluetooth stalk-advertising?

    Everything this patent describes has already been done and anticipated by the very fact NFC has been invented.

    Basically this could be summed up as give someone a loyalty reward when they eat at your restaurant whilst carrying an NFC enabled phone in their pocket. How. very. novel. The original inventors of NFC never could have imagined it would be put to that use!

    Read the patent - "s/bluetooth/EDSE/g".

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course

    It infringes a patent. It wouldn't be a Google offering if it didn't

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    No Frickin Chance

    I bought a Google Nexus S with NFC support when it came out because I wanted to try the NFC concept but when I tried to install it I was told that it wasn't available for the phone and now, searching the app store doesn't even show the wallet app.

    So what's the point of patenting something that doesn't work? Oh, wait - if you have a patent on stuff not working then I guess you can sue everyone who has something that doesn't work. I'm putting my phone in my jacket and hurrying off to the patent office right now.

    Nope, sod it - it's Friday, I think I'll go to the pub instead.

  9. Tim Almond

    Obvious Patent

    I was thinking about playing with NFC and one idea I had two days ago was an app which would allow my local cafe to replace their rubber-stamp-and-ink loyalty card with a digital solution which would... connect to a server and record the results (mostly because I keep losing the loyalty card).

    It's not a patentable problem. It's a functional decomposition and software engineering one.

  10. Ivan Headache


    Earlier on someone mentioned the various ways your Tesco club card can work. One thing they forgot to incude was that it also rewards you with vouchers - either through the post or at the checkout when you get your receipt.

    Similarly Homebaase did it with their spend and save card (until they opted for Nectar - and that, I'm fairly sure was prior to 2007)

    I can't see that this patent is valid at all.

    I also remember reading (quite some time ago - it might have been here or in some retail mag I was reading) that Safeway (remember them? - now Morrison) had developed (or were about to deploy) a system of promoting products previously bought by a customer as they wheeled their trolley past the said item in the store.

    Safeway were one of the first to use hand-help self scanning devices so that you scanned each item as you put it in the trolley, the display gave you a running total and at the end you plugged it into a device which printed your bill and took your money. It knew who you were because you used a personal card to obtain the device as you went into the store. The idea was that the device knew where things were in the store (they could use that in Tesco - I can never find things) so as you passed an item you had previously bought (particularly if it knew that you had bought lots of them over the year (like pot-noodles) it would warn you of a special offer on that item that wasn't actually shown on the shelf pricing label - i.e. a personal special offer.

    I might be making it up but I don't think I am.

    1. mIRCat

      Re: Unique?

      I might be making it up but I don't think I am."

      Either way it sounds as if you're off to the patent store office!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Haven't Tesco been tracking you round the store for years using RFID tagged products ?

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