Can You Patent Pretending To Let Customers Know Their Online Ordered Pizza Is In The Oven?

from the patenting-bullshit dept

Jeff Nolan points us to an amusing article trying to dig into some questions over whether or not Domino's "patent pending" pizza tracker is real. Launched a little over two years ago, apparently, if you order a pizza from Domino's online, it takes you to a website where it alerts you in real-time to the status of your pizza: is it in the oven, has it been put in a box, is it on its way, etc. Domino's was quite proud of the fact it had filed a patent for the technology, but there have been some concerns about whether the technology is real, or if it's just a pretty flash animation connected to nothing in reality.

The "evidence" against it being real is that one anonymous commenter on a blog post about the tracker said that it told him his pizza was in the oven and then boxed before he discovered a series of voicemails from the store claiming they could not fulfill his online order because they were "out of deep dish." The second example comes from a guy who just ordered some bottles of soda (no pizza) and was somewhat amused/horrified to watch as his order was "placed in the oven" and then boxed -- only to be delivered two hours later (a bit late) after someone called him asking him if he had ordered something from Domino's, and if so, what it was. That guy notes, of the patent application:
Is that really patent pending technology? I didn't know you could patent bull*&%t
Well, there have been patents on anti-gravity devices, even though they're not supposed to grant patents that, you know, violate the laws of physics -- so perhaps that answers the question there. There's also the patent on sending signals faster than the speed of light.

As for Domino's?
Tim McIntyre, the vice president of communications at Domino's, insisted that his company had not patented bullshit.

"The Pizza Tracker is real, and it is accurate to within 30 seconds," McIntyre told The Daily Caller just seconds after we indicated to customer service that we were investigating the veracity of the Pizza Tracker's sometimes extraordinary claims. Every update customers see on the Tracker except for the final 'delivered' update, McIntyre said knowingly, is triggered by a button press in the store itself.
He later explains that the only part that is "faked" is the delivery time. They just assume the pizza was delivered 10 minutes after it leaves the store (which I would imagine might lead to angry customers who live further away, or if there's a bad traffic jam or something). As for the complaints, apparently there's a bit of a "glitch" with this amazing patent pending technology, such that if someone at the store "clears" an order, the system interprets that as "baked and ready," since, despite all the brilliance going into this patent-pending technology, no one thought to add a feature that tells the customer something's wrong with the order.

But, of course, you shouldn't build that yourself. You might infringe on Domino's possible patent.

As for the patent application itself, I've been looking around for it and haven't turned up anything. Anyone know which patent application it is?

Filed Under: patents, pizza
Companies: domino's


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  1. identicon
    OldBBSersneverdie, 7 Apr 2010 @ 9:25pm

    Old BBSser raising hand again. In the good old days, there was a goofy app on some BBS systems that let users send a virtual pizza to someone else online. Can anyone say 1993? Your pizza was cooking, your pizza was ready, and now your pizza was delivered. It was a totally stupid app and the admins could usually spot a newbie or a twelve-year-old boy pretending he was twenty-one by how many virtual pizzas they tried to send to women who were online.

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