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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Method, System, Apparatus, and Program for Donation Driven Gift Fulfillment", for Approval

July 3, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventor Forman, Jonathan (Mt. Vernon, NY), filed on November 26, 2013, was made available online on June 19, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention generally relates to software driven, application ('app')-based methods of gift giving, and more particularly to app-based methods for charitable donation-driven gift fulfillment via computing or mobile devices such as desktop, mobile, smartphones, and the like.

"As known in the art, 'smartphones' are a class of mobile phones or devices built on a mobile operating system (OS), with more advanced computing capability and connectivity than a feature phone. A mobile app is a software application designed to run on smartphones. Mobile apps are available through application distribution platforms, which are typically operated by the owner of the mobile operating' system. Usually, mobile apps are downloaded from the platform to a target device such as a smartphone, which can support many applications and programming languages. Mobile apps are also sometimes downloaded to less mobile computers, e.g., laptops or desktops, or to other computing or portable devices such as the iPod Touch.

"There are known mobile social gift-giving apps that allow users to send gifts, i.e., to purchase and send gifts to friends and family directly from one's smartphone or mobile device, etc. However, there exists a need to provide a novel method for selecting a gift the giver is confident the recipient wants, generating charitable donations through a software-driven or app-based gift-giving system, providing incentive for retailers or vendors to participate in such a program, and for providing incentive to prospective gift purchasers using such a system to purchase through particular retailers or vendors."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "The present invention in one aspect provides a software driven, 'app'-based method of generating substantial charitable donations while aiming to ensure that users can get an ideal gift, at a substantial discount, for the chosen recipient of the gift (e.g., a friend or relative), as well as for themselves. Of course, the present invention is not limited to app-based platforms, and can be implemented as a software program executed by any suitable computer or computing device and stored in, e.g., a computer-readable medium.

"In one aspect of the present invention, 'deals' or discounts may be negotiated with retailers/vendors/merchants and are then matched up with 'registry' items on a recipient's list, e.g., a baby or wedding registry (or, absent a 'registry,' with suggestions based on algorithmic processing of a recipient's 'likes' or interests). A time-based deal window opens based on a significant event (e.g., a birthday, graduation, wedding, new baby arrival, etc.). A user can select an appropriate deal and, once a transaction is complete, can make a discounted purchase for himself or herself as well.

"By virtue of this system, an initial percentage of the generated business revenue (e.g., 50% or any other percentage) can very quickly flow to charitable organizations. All management fees and overhead costs can be paid for by the remaining percentage of revenue. It is noted that 'business revenue' refers to revenue to the company and not to the vendor/retailer/merchant, and 'the company' refers to the entity that is implementing the methods described herein, as opposed to the vendors/retailers/merchants/etc.

"The methods of the present invention are disclosed in more detail below. It is noted that the present invention anticipates using common operating systems (OS), both common and mobile. Common mobile operating systems (OS) in use include but are not limited to BlackBerry' s BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10, Google's Android, Apple's iOS, Nokia'sSymbian, Samsung's Bada, Microsoft's Windows Phone, Hewlett-Packard's webOS, etc. Such operating systems (OS) can be installed on a number of different mobile product models, and typically each device can receive multiple OS software updates over its lifetime. The present invention can also operate with smart TVs, gaming consoles, future automotive platforms, and of course with laptops, desktops, iPods, tablets, and any other suitable computing device, whether mobile or otherwise.

"The present invention according to one aspect provides a system of donation driven gift fulfillment. The system includes a database creation unit, adapted to create a database of available gift options each comprising a product or a service eligible to be purchased from a merchant by a user at a discount. The system also includes a notification unit, adapted to communicate at least one gift option to a user and informing the user that a percentage of the purchase price will go to charity. The system further includes a transaction unit, adapted to initiate a financial transaction, if the user chooses a gift option, for the purchase of the product or service identified by the gift option. The transaction unit initiates a financial transaction to transfer X% of the purchase price to the merchant, Y% to a charitable entity, and Z% to general revenue.

"The present invention according to another aspect provides a method of donation driven gift fulfillment. The method comprises the steps, performed by a processor, of: (1) making an offer to a merchant to enable a user to purchase a product or service from the merchant at a discount with X% of the purchase price going to the merchant, Y% of the purchase price going to a charitable entity, and Z% of the purchase price going to general revenue; (2) creating a gift offer from an agreed-to deal with the merchant; (3) storing information relating to the gift offer in a database of available gift options; (4) communicating the gift offer to at least one user along with a notification that purchasing the gift will result in a charitable contribution; (5) initiating a financial transaction, if the user chooses a gift option, for the purchase of the product or service identified by the gift option; and (6) initiating a financial transaction to transfer X% of the purchase price to the merchant, Y% to a charitable entity, and Z% to general revenue.

"The present invention according to another aspect provides a non-transitory computer-readable medium storing a program, which, when executed by at least one processor, causes the at least one processor to perform the steps of: (1) creating or accessing an online community of gift participants; (2) creating a database of available gift options comprising products and services based on deals agreed to with merchants which enable gift participants to purchase the products and services at a discount; (3) providing the gift participants with the option to create a wish list of desired gift options to be stored in a database and to view the wish lists of other gift participants; (4) creating or accessing a database containing personal information about the gift participants; (5) creating or accessing a database containing names of gift participants matched with eligible gift options tailored to individual gift participants based on at least one of wish list items, personal information, likes, and interests; (6) opening a time-based deal window to notify a gift participant of the eligible gift options along with a notification that a portion of the purchase price of the gift option would go to charity; (7) initiating a financial transaction, if the gift participant chooses a gift option, for the purchase of the product or service identified by the gift option; (8) initiating a financial transaction to transfer X% of the purchase price to the merchant, Y% to a charitable entity, and Z% to general revenue; and (9) closing the time-based deal window if the gift participant does not choose a gift option within a predetermined time period, further notifying the gift participants of eligible gifts, and returning to the first initiating step if the gift participant chooses another gift option.

"Further features and advantages of the present invention as well as the structure and operation of various embodiments of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The features and advantages of the present invention will be more readily understood from a detailed description of the exemplary embodiments taken in conjunction with the following figures.

"FIG. 1 is a diagram showing the overall environment that the present invention operates in according to one embodiment.

"FIG. 2 is a diagram depicting a system for donation driven gift fulfillment according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of a method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 4 is a flow diagram of an example environment for electronically acquiring and downloading a gift mobile application ('gift app') according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of a method in accordance with an example embodiment of the present invention.

"The invention will next be described in connection with certain exemplary embodiments; however, it should be clear to those skilled in the art that various modifications, additions, and subtractions can be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the claims."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Forman, Jonathan. Method, System, Apparatus, and Program for Donation Driven Gift Fulfillment. Filed November 26, 2013 and posted June 19, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1091&p=22&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140612.PD.&OS=PD/20140612&RS=PD/20140612

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Software.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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