Apple’s New Patents and What It Means For Travel

Apple was granted 37 patents recently according to a report from Patently Apple.  Out of the series of granted patents, Patently focuses specifically on the IWallet patents.  Upon examination, we discovered that most of the patents granted today focused more on communication between one mobile device and others.  This includes patents on peer to peer communication and making a single mobile device a hub to send information to the different spokes.  What interested us the most was US patent No. 8,463,286 entitled “Systems and methods for accessing travel services on a portable device” and how it will affect new marketing strategies.

The most important claims in this patent were:

  • A method where the device recognizes when you are leaving and arriving on your trip by pulling data from your calendar.
  • A method for sending notifications when the user arrives either through email, text, voice mail or push notification.
  • A method for determining when the user is travelling by analyzing both the calendar data and when the user turns on and off their phone.
  • A method for a third party or travel service provider to push offers as the user arrives  or departs.

Based on the claims, this patent was likely filed to cover air travel.  Essentially, this will allow for your phone to automatically send a message or notification to your family (or whoever you decide) when you arrive.  While this will save a phone call to your parents when you travel, it also has a marketing play.

Apple specifically points out methods for your travel service provider to send offers or upgrades during your traveling process.  Examples of this could be an upgrade during departure or cab coupons when you land.  This is a natural fit to Passbook which can leverage your travel information. 

Google and Uber have already started building a partnership taking advantage of events marketing.  Released at Google’s I/O conference was information on how they are leveraging your flight information from emails and connecting it with Uber to push discounts pre and post flight.

Just look at the different plays Apple envisions for  in the diagram on the right taken straight from the patent application. Travel providers, restaurants and third parties who target a person getting off and on a plane should start preparing to take advantage of pushing their product on this platform.

If you are interested in more detail related to your situation it is best to speak with an attorney.

Yuri Eliezer heads the intellectual property practice group at Founders Legal. As an entrepreneur who saw the importance of early-stage patent protection, Yuri founded SmartUp®. Clients he has served include Microsoft, Cisco, Cox, AT&T, General Electric, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Coca-Cola.

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