by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 23rd 2010 12:41am
I remember over a decade ago, talking with lots of folks in Silicon Valley about the idea of doing mobile coupons -- with the typical example being "imagine as you walked by a Starbucks, if it could pop up a coupon on your phone." Hell, all the way back in 2004, we were talking about this idea as being talked about for "ages." The problem was not with the basic idea. People were just waiting for the infrastructure to catch up: for GPS to become common in phones, for smartphones to hit the market, for mobile broadband to be available, etc. So it seems pretty ridiculous that, in 2005, some folks from Where Inc., applied for a patent on the concept, which has now been granted, and seems ridiculously broad (Patent number 7,848,765). The challenge was never about how to do this. That was obvious to all sorts of people. The issue was just waiting for the infrastructure to catch up. It's ridiculous that such an idea that was widely discussed way before this patent was applied for is now locked up via a patent.
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