The Fact That A Credit Card Is Patented Is A Selling Point?

from the what-has-the-world-come-to dept

In the (snail) mail this week I happened to get an ad for the Visa Black Card, which Visa is pitching as "exclusive," though I'm guessing that exclusivity is mostly based on finding enough suckers to pay a $500 annual fee for the card. Anyway, as I was tossing the application into the shredder, one thing caught my eye. The pamphlet cover lists out six marketing bullet points, with the fourth one being that the card is "patent pending." This struck me as odd on a couple of fronts:
  1. Why is the fact that it's patent pending a marketing point? I could maybe sorta barely understand it if it was an issued patent. But a pending one? That means next to nothing other than that you spent some money to file a patent application. To me, that means you may have wasted a lot of money -- which could explain the $500 fee.
  2. A patent on what? On the idea of a "black card" or some other swanky exclusive credit card? Or on the physical card itself?
So, I did a little Googling, and turned up the following: apparently the patent filing (at the time of this announcement, just a provisional patent filing) is is on the physical card itself because it includes "carbon and/or carbon based material." I guess if you're the sort of person interested in spending so much money on a credit card, perhaps you'll pay extra to have carbon in your credit card. Still doesn't make much sense here...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 1:33pm

    "$500 annual fee for the card"

    For that much money it'd better come with free bi-monthly blow jobs

     

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  2.  
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    Jaws4theRevenge, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Re:

    Make it tri-monthly and you've got a deal.

     

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  3.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 1:50pm

    It's recycling, Masnick...

    "I guess if you're the sort of person interested in spending so much money on a credit card, perhaps you'll pay extra to have carbon in your credit card. Still doesn't make much sense here..."

    It's all part of the Green Revolution. The card is actually made in part from the carbon footprint of Visa's worldwide corporation as an effort to recycle.

    So what you do, is you pay the $500 annual fee to pay for the process that infuses these cards with the carbon emission (to avoid lengthy detail, this process basically consists of stapling roughly 100 blank cards onto a brown-skinned person and then helicopter dropping them into a smokestack, which is where they get their dark colored card). This allows you, the largely retarded consumer to buy stuff with Visa's carbon infused credit card, which increases their bottom line, allowing them to make MORE carbon infused cards, for more recycling.

    So either you buy the Black Card, or you hate nature. Why do you hate puppies, Mr. Masnick?

     

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  4.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 1:50pm

    It's very common

    Mike, somewhere along the lines more than just credit card companies have thought "patent pending" is a great marketing term. I work for an engineering company and all day I get people proposing ideas to me about how they have the next big thing and it's patent pending and it's usually something blissfully obvious (and marginally changed). Example: the steel girders used to hold up buildings are nothing new. Yet all the time we get people wanting to have new ones approved. Yes, *new ones*, not that anyone else has tried some different varying percentage of metals together before. Anywhere where the percent is between 0 and 100 is something that has been done, whether you add something nonmetallic as well or not.

     

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  5.  
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    slacker525600 (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 1:51pm

    american express black card

     

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  6.  
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    Top %1 of Americans, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    The Black Card

    Gotta love how this "made with carbon" exclusive VISA card has "The Black Card" printed in huge letters across the front of the card. As if it would fail to impress the store clerk by simply being black (and carbon), it needs a huge self-descriptive title printed on it.

    Best part is that my Citibank Diamond Mastercard is already black, comes with betters features, benefits, and points, and is $495/year cheaper than "The Black Card".

     

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  7.  
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    Avatar28 (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Green card

    @DarkHelmet You stole my thunder as they like to say on talk radio. The idea that it's a green card infused with carbon, thus removing it from the atmosphere, was exactly what I thought of.

    Then again, diamonds are also carbon. Maybe the carbon is in the form of diamond dust mixed with the plastic. Might explain the $500/yr fee.

     

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  8.  
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    Me, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    Re: The Black Card

    You need a better Citibank Diamond Mastercard my friend. Mine is indeed black, has better features, benefits, and points, but has a $0 annual fee, $5 cheaper than yours. Look into getting that.

     

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  9.  
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    Sirk, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    Carbon infused?

    It has been a few years since I did any chemistry but isn't the normal card made from hydrocarbons anyway being plastic?

     

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  10.  
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    Dmitriy Plaks (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    patent misuse anyone?

    So if we take the claim of "carbon and/or carbon based material" to the extreme as many patent hoarders do all the time, does this mean that if this patent is granted that all carbon based credit cards are covered? This is a problem for one main reason: most (if not all) plastics contain some carbon.

    Lets take a typical credit card. Its made of laminated pvc (polyvinyl chloride). This plastic is made entirely of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine molecules (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride). To a lawyer it sounds a lot like the plastic is a carbon based material and would be covered by this patent.

    This could end in several ways: 1) ThinkTank Holdings sues MasterCard and Discover for patent infringement on their regular cards; 2) ThinkTank Holdings sues anyone who has ever made any kind of material that has any carbon in it (this would include just about any kind of consumer and industrial material out there, including diamonds, graphite, gasoline, methane, steel, etc, etc, etc); 3) ThinkTank Holdings just licenses the patent to Visa and calls it a day. You can draw your own conclusions, but I don't think option 3 is going to be very popular.

     

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  11.  
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    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 2:49pm

    I want...

    ...a plutonium card. That's when I'll feel like I have all the features I need in a credit card.

     

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  12.  
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    Nigel Tufnel, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 2:59pm

    Blackness

    It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black. http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-9855485-1.html

     

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  13.  
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    Lachlan Hunt (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 3:01pm

    Exclusive Priviledges

    I think it's funnier that their list of Exclusive Priviledges also includes "Annual Fee $495"!

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 3:11pm

    Unless there is some special process by which a 'carbon' credit card is produced it does not seem to me that an uncommon material by itself is patent worthy. How is it not obvious that one could use any number of materials to produce a credit card?

     

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  15.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 3:50pm

    Blastic

    black plastic know you gotta have it
    blaze in the back, my motorcade stops traffic
    black plastic debts gettin drastic
    don't care, don't dare me to blast kid

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJdo6lMyxLM
    (intro prolly NSFW)

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 3:50pm

    Mike, does it matter, except perhaps that neither you nor I will own one in our lives?

    If this is the worst patent in the world, who cares?

     

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  17.  
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    Grammar cop, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 4:53pm

    Monthly and others

    Ima Fish and Jaws4the Revenge.

    Personally, I'd prefer SEMI-monthly BJ's (2 per month)not BI or TRI (every two or three months, respectively)

     

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  18.  
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    Michael, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 5:46pm

    Re:

    While newsworthy blog posts are nice, this is still a blog. Sometimes things are said just to be said and not analyzed.

    I want a platinum glazed card, personally. If they're going to sell me the idea that platinum is the best, then why the hell is the card cheap ass plastic? I'm paying their asses good money, I want a REAL platinum card.

     

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  19.  
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    spider, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 6:42pm

    tri-monthly?

    Make it tri-monthly and you've got a deal.
    You want less blowjobs per year to pay the $500 fee?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 8:05pm

    vanity patents

    it's called a vanity patent. marketing research has found that saying "patent pending" or "patented" will give you a slight statistical edge over the competition.

    lots of "as seen on tv" crap gets vanity patents. typically:
    -- the patent doesn't claim anything that's actually useful or somehow valuable.
    -- the clients are willing to make _ANY_ deal with the examiner just so they can get the patent through with minimal filing costs.
    -- the clients never sue anyone for infringing these patents.

     

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  21.  
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    Fred McTaker (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 11:40pm

    Which kind of patent?

    There's actually 2 kinds of patents:

    1. Utility patents, which tend to be applied over-broad to anything of similar "utility" or functionality. I think there's special classes within this, like drug patents specially designed to keep poor people sick and/or dying. The basic point is the patent holder generally gets to troll against any remotely similar/superior products, to keep innovation out of the marketplace, and only in the East Texas courts.

    2. Design patents, which nobody uses or cares about, because to violate them you must create a replica so precise that you almost have to hire the same third-world manufacturer as the patent holder, to produce your violating copies.

    I'm guessing that the patent is indeed for marketing purposes only (as stupid as that is), and that it's type 2, so that nobody else can look all the same, just putting their logo where the VISA logo and/or hologram are. In this case, trademark protection is actually better legally, and cheaper for them to both register and defend. Maybe trademarks aren't as "marketable" as pending patents to stupid rich people in a hurry?

    I've never understood vanity credit accounts. I'd rather have a vanity savings account, with no card and a double-digit interest return rate. Sign me up for my In-the-Black Secret Savings!

     

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  22.  
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    PT (profile), Jul 23rd, 2009 @ 1:14am

    Prior Art

    I had a black credit card 20 years ago. Apart from the embossing and the hologram, it was completely featureless on the front. The issuing bank's name and logo appeared in glowing purple when you put it under UV light.

     

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  23.  
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    Dmitriy Plaks (profile), Jul 23rd, 2009 @ 8:06am

    Re: I want...

    It wards off potential enemies and acts as a neat night light.

     

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  24.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 23rd, 2009 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: It's recycling, Masnick...

    I expect nor accept any platitudes from people with two first names, Todd.

     

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  25.  
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    GHynson, Jul 23rd, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    You Very Own Free Black Card,..

    All you need is a Black Permanent marker you can find at work.

     

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  26.  
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    Smart-Ass Chemist, Jul 23rd, 2009 @ 7:02pm

    Plastic...

    ...is fundamentally made with carbon in it and thus based on carbon.

    "So, I did a little Googling, and turned up the following: apparently the patent filing (at the time of this announcement, just a provisional patent filing) is is on the physical card itself because it includes "carbon and/or carbon based material.""

    Approving that patent would yield the patent owner the power to legally bog down the nation as a whole. (think about it: card keys in hotels, credit/debit cards, name badges, business cards, gift cards,...)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    another mike (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 4:43pm

    Re:

    if five dolla make you holla, that would work out to be bi-weekly. No, wait, twice a week.

    Either way it's more than I get now. Where do I sign up?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    another mike (profile), Jul 24th, 2009 @ 4:49pm

    Re: Exclusive Priviledges

    Getting bent over the barrel, hog-tying your arms to your ankles, and taking it up the bunghole, is hardly exclusive to Visa.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    chasingcreditcards, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 11:33pm

    I guess having no credit card is way better that having a balance of debt hanging in your head.

     

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  30.  
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    Mike Armour (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    Black card this, black card that

    Here's a sober analysis of the black cards

     

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  31.  
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    Mike Armour (profile), Nov 5th, 2011 @ 4:47pm

    complain, complain, complain

    I'm pretty sure that everyone here would do precisely what the Visa Black bigwigs are doing if they could lol. In light of this realization, most of these complaints seem rather petty; especially for something no one is forcing you to get.

     

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  32.  
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    michael jones, Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 3:58pm

    Status effects...

    Cool assessment. Let's be real, though; there are plenty of things in this consumer economy that you could argue are largely "worthless". Fact is; they matter as status-values. There's no denying that a man who pulls one out to pay for something gets a few more looks from the ladies. That's how it's always been...

     

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  33.  
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    siri, Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 4:01pm

    stop it visa

    I hate the very idea of the black card by Visa. It's taking advantage of small-minded people that know they cant afford it, but are enticed by ceaseless beat-over-our-heads advertising.

     

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  34.  
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    sarah foster, Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 4:11pm

    black card hate

    I don't understand all the hate reserved for the black card. if you dont want one then dont get one duh. If you're so much smarter than everyone...

     

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  35.  
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    dfdf, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 7:20am

    zxdd

     

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  36.  
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    Endowment, May 31st, 2012 @ 9:22pm

    No mas...

    In the words of the great boxer Roberto Duran when he was getting his hat handed to him by the greater Sugar Ray Leonard, "no mas" Visa Black. Stop trying to rip off the public! You will answer for your greed; in this life or the next.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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